Meet The Trainer: Jonny Lea

By Krista Harris | 18 February 2022
4 Minute Read

Find out more about our PT, Jonny, and listen to him talk through his motivations and how these changed after his battle with mental health…

Tell us a little bit about you…

My journey started from a young age being involved with sports and my main sport being rugby. I always wanted to be the fittest, the biggest, the fastest, the best at my sport. That drive saw me through my achievements. Captaining my school and university 1st XV teams, reached the top tier national leagues and represented my county and region playing in an international festival at Wellington college.

As a result I have had a passion for training my whole life and have always made it a priority because I knew the benefit of supplementing my performance in my sport in the gym.

After leaving school, and over the course of a few years at university, I (unknowingly at the time) was battling with mental health issues. I say unknowingly, as my way of dealing with my issues was to pretend they did not exist, drink myself to oblivion and not take responsibility for my physical and mental health.

A combination of injury and bad decisions, had a detrimental effect on my training. This haphazard cycle would repeat itself across my time at university. My mental health spiralled out of control and culminated in a mental breakdown. I deferred my final exams, unable to finish my degree that year in a world of pain and with no real understanding of how I could get to the other side or if I even could.

At this point training, sport and ultimately my life was put on hold, but thankfully for a strong support network around me I was able to rebuild, finish my degree and reconnect with my passion for training.

Why did you become a personal trainer?

A big turning point for me was me and my partner, Victoria, had our first child (George) and I had tried a desk job, but sitting down 9-5 wasn’t for me.

I then took the plunge to follow my passion for the gym, training and become a PT. I worked at a well-established gym in Warrington. I was mentored by the owner for two years in which I was able to practically apply the theory I had learnt during my university studies to real-life clients. I was helping hundreds of men and women, just like yourselves, achieve the body and performance levels they never thought they could.

This was a truly transformational experience for me and from that point on I have never looked back.

What do you love about being a personal trainer?

I love what I do. It is my passion; being able to help individuals lead a better quality of life is like gold dust. Helping them to overcome training mistakes, many of which I have made myself along the way, and getting them the hard-earned results they deserve.

What is your favourite exercise?

Boring I know… any of the big three, but I think I’d have to put bench press as my favourite. 

Big three and derivatives of them are my favourite because they are staple in any solid training program, but bench is my favourite just because it’s my strongest lift.

What is your least favourite exercise?

Bulgarian split squats, when they are heavy enough they are so fatiguing on top of that once you’ve done one side you have to do the other… killer.

What drives you?

Performance, reaching a goal there is no better feeling than setting your sights on something you thought unachievable, putting in the work and then surpassing your own expectations.

A quote to live by…

“Just as one may experience physical struggle in the gym to grow stronger muscles or greater endurance. One must suffer emotional pain to develop greater emotional resilience, a stronger sense of self, increased compassion and a generally happier life.” – MARK MANSON AUTHOR OF ‘THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F@%!’

The struggle is real, but it is your choice how you let it define you.

What is your favourite treat?

Don’t really support the idea of a treat, if I want food I just have it and do not use food as a reward. I’d always encourage clients to do the same. 

 My favourite foods would be pizza, burgers, brownies, sweets and anything in between.

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