I was lucky enough to meet Stu a few weeks back when he came in and trained at the gym. We hit a FYF session with a few of the boys and then more importantly we had a few beers afterwards and got talking about training, life and all things in-between. He comes from a very different background…in terms of where coaches usually come from and what you get because of that is a measured, humble, highly intelligent human…who also has a great sense of humour as you’re about to find out! Enjoy!
Name: Stu Walton
Profession/Job: Cast Trainer
I grew up in a small city in the middle of England – Lichfield, Staffordshire. It’s the birthplace of Samuel Johnson who wrote the first English Dictionary (published 1755) so…there’s a little fact for you!
My parents are huge cricket fans so that ended up being my primary sport from the age of around 8 through my teenage years, although it’s fair to say that by the time I hit the middle of that period my focus was more on going out drinking with my mates than any physical activity. My parents take great delight in sharing with people tales of me regularly coming home on a Friday night worse for wear and with my head over a bucket slurring repeatedly that they needed to call the team captain and tell him I couldn’t play the following day so…you can have that one too! They always made me play, by the way. I must’ve had decent recovery powers!
In my mid 20’s I moved to London to progress a career in banking and enjoy the delights of the big city with the bright lights!
All forms of physical activity had been on hold for a long time, until eventually I joined a gym as a way to relieve stress – plus I probably wouldn’t be alive now if I’d carried on burning the candle at the rate I was. I’m an all or nothing person so I would be waiting outside the door for the gym to open at 6am so I could get it done before I started work. This consistency led to some results, which in turn led me to make more positive decisions at the other end of the day and to seek further knowledge on how to improve my own training and start studying health & fitness…I guess I became addicted to the gym.
In my late 20’s with a PT certification I transitioned from banking to training people, and have never looked back. Well, maybe a couple of times in the early days but…it’s been a while.
Successfully transitioning careers was a big thing for me – despite an external bravado I was never truly self confident and achieving something I wasn’t sure I believed I could was a big step for me mentally.
I also remember hitting my first (and only) hundred when I was 17 – it was probably dull and boring for the audience especially by modern standards but for me it required a concentration, patience and discipline that I had never had in any context before. It took years for me to learn how to harness that, but in that moment I knew those qualities had to be in me even before I knew how to show it in other aspects of life.
Social media: instagram: @fitnessbyfortitude
Q1. What does a normal day look like for you?
5:30am – wake up and drink some greens (which I think of as nutritional insurance) – I don’t like to eat too early, purely a personal preference and function better running on empty for a while.
6:30am – stunt team training
7:30am – my own training – generally an hour with the content varying day to day. I know which boxes I need to tick over weeks/months to achieve balance so there is some structure, but 90% of the time I’ll do whatever movements I feel like on the day. This allows me to be totally adaptable to my work schedule and not feel tied to a programme, feel bad if I run out of time to fit everything in etc – and most importantly means I’m always having fun with my training.
8:30am-12:30pm – cast training
12:30-2pm – crew group training and lunch
1:30 – 5pm – cast training
5-6pm – admin and programming
6pm – head home, or back to a hotel depending on where I am. Relax with my wife, eat dinner, play guitar and get prepared for the next day. I’ll have an epsom salt bath 3 x a week which works wonders for my sleep quality and sense of recovery.
Q2. Who or what has had the biggest impact on you career/life?
This is an interesting question and I’ll give you some specifics but ethos on this is ‘Learn From Everyone’. I strongly believe there is something to take from every single person we meet or even come across. We see how people behave, their motivations, what they do with their lives – an almost endless supply of information, and I try to take little pieces of that and acknowledge how I do, or sometimes very much don’t, want to implement that in my own life.
With that being said – my parents have been a huge influence on me. The older I get the more of them I see in me and the more I love that. They are great people.
My wife of course has helped me in every way. She is my perfect balance, supports me without question, and knowing that someone who I love, value and respect backs me in that way gives me all the motivation I need to keep pushing on.
Outside of family I also have to give a huge credit here to Mark Twight who is the person who has both really driven my 2nd career trajectory through my observing of him, and also given me opportunities for which I will forever be grateful. I am fortunate to have spent an increasing amount of time with over the last couple of years and I never feel I have anything less than a lifetime of things to learn from this guy.
Q3. What drives you to keep on pushing the limits in your physical and mental/emotional game?
I push my limits to lead by example. Going back to my first answer of the last question, I hope that if people see what I do and how I conduct myself through that both physically and psychologically, even if just one person takes one small positive and apply that to their own lives for the better.
Q4. What in your words makes a good person/human?
Truth – I have acquired a lot of tattoos recently, almost totally images that represent events in my life of things I believe in. In contrast, I have this one word written on the inside of my right arm. What it means to me is being true to who you are – doing what you believe in, standing up for yourself, following your own course of action.
Also: Respect, Courage, Loyalty
Q5.What in your mind are two or three things you would do consistently to keep your conditioning?
I cheated and have four, which I do every week:
They give me a totally varied stimulus across the fitness continuum and help me stay balanced in body and mind.
Q6. Favourite quote?
“If there is anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us, it’s that a male model’s life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn’t mean that we too can’t not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.” – Derek Zoolander
Q7.How and why is physical preparation important to you? How has and does it impact you has a person? What are the benefits do you see?
Physical preparation helps me know that I can. It may be a limited environment but I have tested myself in the gym both physically and mentally over a number of years. The combined successes and ‘failures’ of that time give me confidence that I can have go at anything and know that even if I physically fall, mentally I can always be the last person standing. I can apply this across every aspect of my life.
Q8. Best advice you have been given?
My dad always used to say “It’s not how you get there, it’s where you end up” which is something that has stuck with me. I translate it as don’t sweat the small stuff, just get to where you want.
Mind you, he also said “what goes up must come down” at the top of a roller coaster when I was 8 which has also stuck with/traumatised me since so….MY best advice is be conscious of the words you speak – understand your impact.