My journey so far...
Bodybuilder, Entrepreneur and Owner of JPhysique
Former Scholarship Athlete and Trainee Footballer
Former clubs: Torquay United and the University of Stirling Football Club
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Joe, could you give an overview of your career within sport...
My time in sport started off as a footballer, but I also competed as an elite runner in long distance athletics/cross country at a national level.
I decided to pursue football at 16, and signed a two year apprentice contract with Torquay United where I undertook the full two years captaining the side in my 2nd year, and playing in multiple reserve team games.
I was released at the age of 18, and after some trials at other clubs, decided the best thing was to move to Stirling University, where I was offered on to their football scholarship programme. I played a few games and just completed pre-season before sustaining a serious injury that kept me out for a year. I did make a comeback, but decided to retire due to the injury. This was the start of my career in bodybuilding, where I participated in a Scottish bodybuilding (physique) competition in 2015. Taking first place and then continuing to go on and compete at a national level.
How did you first get involved in sport? And when did the opportunity come to start competing at an elite level?
I started football as most do, at a pretty young age. But only joined a centre of excellence at the age of 13-14. I moved to Torquay at the age of 16 and then moved to Scotland to become a scholarship athlete at the age of 18.
To date, what’s been your biggest sporting achievement?
Playing in the FA Youth Cup and captaining Torquay United for the second year of my scholarship contract. Also, winning UKBFF Scottish Men's physique title was fantastic for me.
And how did you manage competing at an elite level, whilst in full time education and work?
Time management was key. Also goal setting and planning ahead. You get this from experience. Understanding priorities and balancing the quadrant with regards to investing time and energy into body, being 'social', business and education. It was tough to begin with but you learn toenjoy a truly balanced lifestyle.
When did the time come for you to make the decision to leave elite sport?
Through injury and the realisation that I wasn’t going to make a career long term following my injury. With a lot of time out with the injury, I also felt I was losing the passion and drive to compete at a high level.
And can you tell us a bit about the journey you have been on, since you stopped competing as a scholarship athlete, and what it is you are doing now?
I knew the importance of education and improving my knowledge. So I undertook multiple sport specialist courses and worked within the great sporting environment at the University of Stirling, delivering S+C sessions, 1-1’s etc for sports teams, elite athletes and the general public whilst studying. At this point I also had people turning up to my room at university asking me to help them with training programs which was great for my learning.
Being in the gym a lot, I started competing in bodybuilding competitions (physique category (UKBFF Scottish mens physique). This organically helped me gain good media attraction, which generated interested for more 1-1 coaching sessions.
After gaining momentum, using social media as a platform I set up a Facebook page and an online coaching PT business (this was about 3 years ago now). Within this time I was still working 20 hours a week in the gym, delivering S+C and PT courses. I continued this in my 4th year of university study, managing about 20 clients online, whilst writing a dissertation and preparing for my next bodybuilding competition.
This was the start of my online personal coaching business. Within one year whilst studying I was in a position to build this as a business without looking for another job. Over the next few months following graduation, I still continued to do a small amount of coaching (S+C) and also started delivering some educational seminars for the university.
Around December 2015 is when JPhysique (my personal coaching business) reached a position online where I was coaching people from every part of the UK and some international clients, as well as delivering more and more fitness focused seminars.
To date JPhysique has now transformed from a one man band (me) to TeamJPhysique with 3 new coaches now working under the brand, supporting over 100 online clients. Working with clients from competition prep through to helping their every-day fitness. I had the privilege of speaking at the biggest Scottish fitness exhibition and I’m now in the process of looking to expand further with another new coach and apprentice joining the team.
JPhysique and TeamJPhysique has solely been built on a passion and a desire to help as many people as possible, using my knowledge and experience. It has now turned into Scotland’s number 1 online body composition consultancy team that will (hopefully) continue to grow to help as many people as possible.
Great, congratulations. Now as someone who runs their own business, JPhysique, are there things you think you've learnt through your time as an elite athlete, that is helping you be successful now?
Absolutely…You get out what you put in, nothing comes easy and you simply cannot trump hard work and graft. You may have an idea or a talent but the amount of WORK you put in will dictate success. I learnt this through elite sport for sure…
Taking risks, and understanding that failing is okay and you need to fall forward, not backwards to be able to bounce back and move on.
You have to understand your strengths and use those to your advantage but also understand your weaknesses and either A) Work on them OR Leverage and outsource to people who are far better than you within a certain area.
No matter how successful you are or where you’re at just now, you’ll always want more. I think that’s the competitive edge and drive I’ve had from sport. This isn’t just from a financial perspective either, but from a time/brand awareness/knowledge/networking perspective.
It doesn’t matter how much the shovel costs when you’re digging for gold. You have to invest in people, technology and products to enhance your efficiency and quality. This I’ve learnt since starting my own business.
Thank you, and finally, what piece of advice would you give to an elite athlete, who is considering the journey of starting their own business?
Play the long game and don’t look for the “make a quick buck plan.” I think you have to focus on delivering VALUE and offer a service that is irreplaceable.
Don’t forget to ‘BE YOU’, and communicate to be transparent and honest.
Invest in YOU. Take time each day to continually train your brain and body, to get a little bit better each day, especially in the new fields when you leave elite sport.
Listen and invest in people that have done what you want to do and learn from them. This is so important for elite athletes who might be leaving their career as a sportsmen/women, and venturing in to something completely new.
But most importantly, graft and work hard. When it’s your own business you have to go above and beyond, show people you care and also get your hands dirty and do everything that you would ask of others.