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Breaking Down Barriers
Wednesday 29th July 2015 @ 11:41 by Mark Phillip
Ashton Sports

A local fitness enthusiast is providing disabled people with a healthier outlook on life.

ashley simcock

Ashley Simcock – a qualified personal trainer at Pure Gym in Ashton – is breaking social stigmas

Prior to embarking on a career in the fitness industry, Ashely worked in the accounts department for ten years.

Since he ditched the office for the gym, the 32 year old has never looked back. He told Reporter Sport: “Since I left school I’ve always been interested in fitness.

“I’ve always been a member of local gyms and had a personal trainer myself, so I saw how rewarding it would be to help other people.”

Such is Ashley’s passion for sport that his endeavours, which include numerous challenging runs, stretch beyond Tameside. He added: “I’ve competed in lots of well-known runs, including several 10k’s and half marathons.

“I travelled to Newcastle to take part in the Great north Run which proved to be a great experience!

“I did a lot of training before the run, so to get an end result after putting so much effort in was truly satisfying.”

Having taken the 13.1 mile run in his stride, Ashley, buoyed by a growing sense of confidence, is already relishing bigger challenges. “I speak to a lot of people who are taking up running, so I think it’s growing as a sport” he said.

“I do a 5km run every Saturday morning at Heaton Park.

“You’re given a time at the end of the race which is published on a website, so there’s an opportunity to track your progress as well.

“Hopefully I’ll be taking part in a full marathon in the near future.”

Progression is a key aspect of Ashley’s training regime.

A specialist in body weight exercises, Ashley tailors his classes for everybody’s needs.

According to the fitness guru, regardless of your age or ability, you’ll always leave his class smiling. “I specialise in body weight training, which involves lots of press-ups, tricep work and planks” he said.

“It’s a high intensity workout, and all you need is a matt.

“I’ve drawn inspiration from a workout called Insanity, so I try to implement aspects of that routine into my own programme.”
Insanity, as the name suggests, is a truly gruelling workout.

As a personal trainer though, Ashley wants maximum results for his clients. He added: “When they decide to join my programme, we have a chat and discuss what their goals are.

“I want to find out what they enjoy and what they don’t like, because that’s the only way of maintaining their interest levels during the sessions.

“Some people might be put off by Insanity, simply because of the name, but I adapt my classes to make them accessible for all abilities.

“If somebody wanted to lose weight, then I’d advise them to do circuit training, which includes short bursts of activity followed by recovery.

“For the clients who wanted to build some muscle, I’d focus more on weight training.”

Although things might seem great at the moment, there was a time when things looked bleak.

At the age of 19, he was diagnosed with retinitis Pigmentosa – an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment.

As you can imagine, the diagnosis came as quite a shock to the youngster. “Until the age of 19, I was quite clumsy, and I didn’t realise I had the condition until I went for an eye test” he says.

“They sent me to a specialist, and from there I was diagnosed with the condition.”

Despite effecting 15 thousand people in the UK, Ashley still sees the funny side of things. He quips: “People often think I’m drunk when I go on nights out with my friends, because I bang into things a lot.

“I try to adjust to it and take my time when I’m walking around, but it’s not obvious when you’re looking at me that I have the condition.”

It could have been so easy for Ashley to sit back and feel sorry for himself.

Instead, he gained numerous qualifications and is always searching for more. He said: “I’m doing a course with YMCA fit at the moment, which is funded by Sport England.

“The course aims to increase the number of disabled people employed in the fitness industry, and it’s really helped me understand how to adapt to different exercises.

“A lot of people who suffer from conditions don’t like telling others, so if I can spot the symptom, then hopefully I can do something about it.”

For those interestedin training with Ashley, he provides a free consultation.

You can also find him on the following addresses: [email protected]

Twitter: @ASimcock
Website: www.ashleys