Boys in Mind Meets...
An Interview with Spencer Cartwright:
By: Kit Cooper-Harrison
My name is Spencer Cartwright and I’m a personal trainer and self-improvement coach. My background is primary education. I was in that sector for over 25 years. My whole career has been about helping people to improve, to learn, to get better at whatever it is they are looking to improve. When redundancy hit, I thought let’s use my experience of coaching and mentoring and teaching people and take that into a new field, into the wellness and fitness industry. I did a personal training qualification and started working in a gym but I’m also working with clients on the whole wellness side of things, nutrition as well as physical fitness, attitude and mindset as well.
Clients come to me because they want to be fitter, they usually either want to build muscle or lose weight, which is fantastic. 9 times out of 10, there’s more underlying that. There’s a reason people want to lose weight, same with gaining muscle. What are the reasons for wanting to do that? Gyms can be quite intimidating places. I can help people feel confident to work out on their own which can be a big step. I do a lot of coaching and support materials outside the sessions so with weight loss, for example, there’s a lot of discussion around attitudes to food so we do nutrition coaching and that touches on lifestyle as well. They come to me with one thing but to succeed in that one thing we need to address quite a few other issues as well.
A lot of people who have periods where they have overeaten are aware they’re overeating and a lot of the time it’s triggered by emotions. We want that comfort, that hug that food tends to give us but why they need that hug, that’s where we get to a deeper level and I have to be careful, I’m not a counsellor and I don’t pretend to be a therapist, but we do need to ask the right questions to allow people to make those connections themselves. It’s very personal for people but sometimes I need to shine a light on their behaviours and get them to look at those behaviours through a different lens to be able to make the connections.
Over the last ten years there’s been a growing trend of trainers and coaches coaching remotely rather than face to face. In the fitness industry, that trend has been accelerated by about twenty years in the last year! I have been doing video calls with clients, using my kitchen to demonstrate. For a lot of my clients, there was no change other than location and we didn’t have any breaks in their training. They were seeing me once a week. We’d do some exercise. We’d catch up. I was an outsider coming into their lives and they could talk to me about a few bits and pieces. The delivery method changed but a lot of the principles of good coaching, that accountability, the ability to ask questions, came to the forefront a lot more.
I’ve always said to clients that they are investing in themselves. It’s one of the few things that people do with the sole aim of benefitting themselves. A good coach needs to recognise that everything we are trying to achieve happens in the context of someone’s life. Getting to know clients, their routine, what their environment is like. what access to food they’ve got, simple things like knowing what their kitchen is like. If they haven’t got some of the basic kitchen tools, there’s no point in me trying to talk to them about trying to prepare food if they haven’t got the right tools for the job. The best household item that can be used for exercise is a chair, a simple chair! You can do dips off it, lunges to it. It can support you with your balance, all sorts of things. A good solid chair is all you need.
I am a typical bloke in a lot of ways. Talking about feelings isn’t something that I was brought up to do and something that has only come to me in later life. I think that pandemic has taught a lot of us, particularly those of use who live alone, that you need to touch base with fellow humans on a regular basis, whether it’s a phone call or a zoom call. It doesn’t matter. You just need some human contact to have those outlets, to have those discussions, to talk through what is on your mind. I’ve always found talking and articulating your thinking through a problem really helps. You might not know where you are going with your thoughts but just trying to explain where you are in the moment helps to bring clarity.
Spencer posts a lot of free info on his various social media accounts which can be found here: