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Meet the Master Trainers - Mark Fenn: the tree surgeon turned personal trainer

Mark Fenn first became involved in health and fitness by starting out as a part-time lifeguard, working in various local authority and leisure centres. He also worked in sports halls, athletics tracks, gyms, and even as a facility cleaner after leaving school, and worked part time for many years because “that’s how the industry was, especially in Shropshire where I’m from. There were no commercial gyms like we have today”, Mark comments. 

Over time, the facilities where Mark was working developed, and he started seeing a shift in leisure centres where there was a move away from limited equipment to larger fitness suites. This naturally increased the number of users of the facilities, and led to larger client bases. Mark decided to stick it out, and eventually got his qualification as personal trainer and level 4 sports massage therapist. He now works from his own private studio:

“I opened a private studio in 2012 which included a Wattbike studio consisting of 14 bikes, and the purpose initially was to deliver group Wattbike classes. After a while I split the Wattbikes into two studios: one for group classes, and the other for clients to access the studio and train on a Wattbike either following their own session or one of mine which I prescribed. The studio also has a small gym which provides personal training, TRX classes, and circuit training in a nice environment for clients to train in daily. Since opening up the studio I have worked alongside Wattbike welcoming possible buyers or those looking to set up their own Wattbike studio into my facility to help them learn and see one of the ways in which a Wattbike studio can be operated. This role has also seen me travel around the UK visiting bike shops, cafes and studios who have either set up or about to set up their own Wattbike studio.”

Away from the fitness industry, Mark is a qualified arboriculturalist, or tree surgeon. This career has however taken a back seat since 2012 when Mark opened up his studio. However, Mark sees this as a positive:

“In many ways it’s helped me develop my career within the fitness industry due to learning and understanding the demands our careers place on the body, homelife, our own fitness and managing diets – all which can be troublesome. Starting out as a tree surgeon, I was in constant contact with customers and the general public so I learnt to deal with individuals in various environments and situations. All this relates to working with clients on a daily basis.”

In his spare time, Mark is a big fan of fell running: “living in Shropshire, I am very lucky to have access to so many great locations to enjoy. There’s plenty of trails and fells for both training and racing”. Mark is of course passionate about strength and conditioning as well and is intrigued as to how it naturally improves and enhances fell running. He adds: “the Wattbike was a big game changer as it provides me with the chance to progress my training without increasing my weekly runs”.

On top of being a passionate fell runner and strength and conditioning coach at his own studio, Mark has been a recognised Master Trainer since October 2016. Once Mark became a Master Trainer for Wattbike, he has been assisting our lead sports scientist Eddie Fletcher with advanced technical workshops where he has gotten to work with professional athletes, coaches, and home users. Mark states:

“Being a Wattbike Master Trainer has seen me deliver courses from my own studio but also travelling around the UK and Europe helping others learn and develop their own skills and knowledge about the Wattbike. It’s all about providing the best service I can, helping others and appreciating that there are many ways to achieve the same or similar outcome in the fitness industry. Being able to discuss, debate and work through so many scenarios with evidence to back up the how and why has been great. One of the highlights for me as a Master Trainer has been delivering training to other Master Trainers across the world, from Australia to Spain”

This extensive experience has allowed Mark to thoroughly understand the Wattbike and all its benefits. So when asked about the Wattbike, and what sets it apart from other indoor trainers, Mark comments:

“The bike set up allows you to gain a very comfortable cycling position. With the data available, sessions can be repeated accurately and sessions can be stored for reviewing post workout. The bike is used around the world from rehab to elite sports and it’s great being able to see through social media how the bike is used and the type of data being seen from professional sports like cycling and rugby to the improvement made within general fitness.”

To finish things off, Mark also provided us with his top three tips for improving performance:

  1. Don’t over commit. Consistency is vital to improving performance. If you only have time to complete 3 sessions per week, work with that.
  2. Choose the right test for you. Fitness testing provides valuable information on the now, or where you are today. This information helps develop, monitor, review, adapt and progress our fitness, training and performance. 
  3. Knowing and understanding the goal or objective that you have set yourself.

    Read more about Wattbike education.