When a bomb blast in Afghanistan ended Andrew’s army career early he turned to training to help deal with PTSD and to restore his physical health; something he had previously taken for granted. He met his wife when he was co-running a SUP company in Scotland and with a shared love of the outdoors they moved to Canada, where Andrew discovered his passion for coaching.
He returned to Guernsey with his young family and has recently founded Lighthouse Adventure Fitness, where he draws on his experiences from an active youth, military service, coaching and raising two active boys. He shared his story with us.
Andrew is Listed.
To say I have had a convoluted life is an understatement but everything I have been involved with has had a common theme: wilderness, family, health, and fitness.
My early years were a whirlwind of locations as my family followed my dad around the world for his work. I was always active, following my older brother into everything I could. Even at the tender age of 2, I was swimming and setting the tone for my active life. Not many years later, I was up at 4am hunting or fishing with my dad and brother.
Guernsey is home to generations of my family (on my Mum’s side) but my childhood was mostly spent up in the north of Scotland where my love for sport and adventure blossomed. In between school, club rugby and rowing for Scotland there was little time for anything other than school, sports and some adventurous trips into the wilds of Scotland with my family. I believe that these early years solidified my passion for movement and adventure.
Throughout my school years I spent many holidays on Guernsey, and it became my favourite place to be, especially as my love for the sea and watersports took over my life - I started windsurfing when I was 14 and fell in love with it! It seemed like a natural progression for me after school to study Marine Biology and Oceanography, which I did in North Wales.
I went on to join the Army and had planned to have a long and full career in the military but a bomb blast in 2009 while on operational tour ended my career far too early and left me with a traumatic brain injury, PTSD, deafness, and some mobility issues. This spurred me towards training more than ever before as I had to concentrate on my balance; something I had taken for granted my whole life.
While I was co-running a SUP company in Scotland I met my wife, Kirsten, who is also passionate about being active in the outdoors. Kirsten and I moved to Canada where I found a deep love of coaching while working as a CrossFit coach. The coaching opened up a new world for me; one of helping people move without pain and improving their mobility while also boosting strength and endurance. I found my people and my passion!
When my first-born became school aged, we returned to Guernsey where I continued coaching—both online and in-person. As time progressed, I revisited my dream of opening my own functional movement business, left the existing coaching job and struck out on my own—which has been a wild time, especially as I did this shortly after our second child was born!
My passion is to get as many Islanders moving from ‘pain to performance,’ in their exercise and in their daily lives. We all have challenges in our life that range from life-changing physical injuries, to high level sports such as we have just enjoyed with the Island Games. When pain impedes progress, it can be mitigated by sound nutrition and functional movement coaching. This is why Lighthouse Adventure Fitness came about.
Lighthouse Adventure Fitness is the culmination of all the sports, training and coaching I have done so far. I am bringing all of my experiences from childhood sports and adventures, my competitive years both before and during my military service, my time leading a fighting force in Afghanistan, as well as in more recent years, coaching in gyms, and bringing up two active boys. Although Lighthouse Adventure Fitness is still in its infancy, I have been coaching for well over 10 years and our offering is evolving over time.
Our classes take place throughout the week on the beaches, cliff paths, and open spaces across Guernsey, and range from gently challenging ‘Mum and Baby’ classes to higher intensity ‘Bells, Bags, and Beaches,’ workouts and endurance classes. We also offer Guernsey based mini-retreats.
Why a lighthouse? Lighthouses have kept coastal communities safe for centuries and have stood firm through adversity, as beacons of hope for the communities that they serve. This is what we want to create: a safe and strong location for our family-friendly fitness community on Guernsey.
Over the years I have coached hundreds of individuals to greater fitness and less pain, and one common thread for many people is that they have fallen into bad habits with their simple movements. We are creatures of habit and this serves us well in many ways but training can improve our function and mobility.
If your routine has stayed the same for years it is highly unlikely that you are getting any fitter and it is even more unlikely that you will ever overcome an old injury. Changing your routine with the help of an experienced coach and supportive community will invigorate you and bring you to new levels of fitness.
The future of Lighthouse Adventure Fitness is more exciting than I ever imagined as we have a 2400 sq foot functional fitness space opening in December this year (if the building works go to plan!) and our goal is to continue to grow our wonderful community and provide an inspiring place to train.
We will be affiliating with CrossFit and Spartan (the adventure race guys!) to bring you the best experience and the best community feel in the gym.
Family is so important to us and we will be including a kids play area in the gym to allow parents to bring their little ones in while they train. We will also have fun CrossFit and Spartan classes for kids and teenagers as we know how active kids on Guernsey are.
Join Andrew for a single day mini-retreat on the 29th July (but be quick, there are only 3 spaces left!) or on the 3 day retreat being held between 3-5 August. More dates will be available soon!