Martyn Kelland

Breaking Barriers: A PT’s Path Into Women’s Health & Fitness

Bridie Houlihan

Bridie Houlihan | Founder & CEO of Female Health Founders

In conversation between Personal Trainer Martyn Kelland, and Bridie Houlihan, our editor at Female Health Founders, the transformative journey of Martyn’s career unfolds. From personal struggles to professional triumphs, Martyn shares his inspirational path, emphasising his dedication to empowering health and fitness for all. Martyn reveals the pivotal moments that shaped his trajectory into women’s health and fitness.

Hi Martyn, how did your journey working as a PT and Nutritional Coach begin?

Around 12 years ago, my personal trainer journey began. During my late 20s and early 30s, I wasn’t in the best shape and health. I was also a big binge drinker. However, a significant life event completely transformed my well-being and happiness when I was in my early 30s. When my daughter Neve was born, she came into this world without the gift of sight.

In order to cope with the challenges, I chose to channel my energy into exercise instead of consuming alcohol to cope. Witnessing Neve’s condition inspired me to prioritize my own well-being and strive towards becoming a fitter, healthier dad.

-Martyn Kelland

I knew that she deserved the very best version of me, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. It sparked a deep passion for fitness and nutrition, leading me to make the unconventional decision of going back to college as an adult at 32 to become a qualified personal trainer and nutritional coach.

In addition to conducting personalized 1-2-1 training sessions, I also offer online coaching programs. The inspiration and challenge to enter the online space came from my ex-girlfriend, who has an incredibly successful coaching business. She focuses on helping busy professional women enhance their health and well-being. Witnessing her achievements left me in awe and encouraged me to create something similar, but with a focus on improving fitness, strength, and aiding in weight loss.

Martyn Kelland

What inspired you to venture into the field of women’s health?

Throughout the past 12 years, I have always provided coaching for individuals of all genders during my in-person personal training sessions. However, when it came to my online business, I primarily focused on working with male clients, particularly busy dads, for weight loss and body transformations. I must confess, in my professional opinion, helping men lose weight has generally been easier compared to women. Women face various physiological challenges such as hormones, menstrual cycles, and menopause. Additionally,

from my past experiences, I have noticed that women tend to be more affected by previous unsuccessful attempts at dieting. Once the negative cycle of failed diets takes hold, breaking free from it can be incredibly difficult.

-Martyn Kelland

Admittedly, I was apprehensive about being able to guarantee the same weight loss results for females as I can for my male clients. However, should it solely be about guarantees and catering to those who lose weight effortlessly? Perhaps I was looking at things from the wrong perspective. It wasn’t until I coached a female friend of mine and witnessed her incredible weight loss results that I started to see things differently. Not only did I help her shed pounds, but she also mentioned that I had helped her mend her relationship with food and regain self-belief and confidence in her everyday life.

In fact, she even said to me, “Martyn, I know you may not prefer coaching females, but I have several other female friends who could benefit from your assistance, even if they may not realize it at this moment.” With that realisation sinking in, I made it my mission to create a female-focused healthy lifestyle coaching program that promotes weight loss, improved health, and happiness. Moreover, this program aims to liberate women from the culture of dieting and the cycle of yo-yo dieting – and the No More Diets, Diet coaching program was created.

Why is it important for you to include a bespoke women’s health offering in your business?

Each one of us is unique, and it’s incredibly important to discover what works best for us as individuals. This becomes even more crucial when coaching women on their weight loss journey or improving their health. As I’ve mentioned before, women have various hormonal factors affecting them, such as their menstrual cycle or menopause, which can also impact them emotionally. Therefore, in my opinion,

every woman should have a personalized plan when working towards weight loss or better health — following generic PDFs just doesn’t achieve long-term sustainable results.

-Martyn Kelland

Your background is as a Personal Trainer, how has this impacted your approach to entrepreneurship?

I think my approach has become a bit riskier, but in a good way. I used to focus only on being a traditional in-person personal trainer, which was great. Don’t get me wrong. However, I wanted to challenge myself more so that I could provide my clients with even better coaching. When I say risky, I realize that in order to personally grow and expand my business, I would have to take some risks. This meant leaving a stable job with benefits to fully embrace self-employment. I also invested in coaches, marketing, and courses.

To truly elevate myself as a coach and business owner, I had to push myself to the next level and take more risks.

-Martyn Kelland

Of course, I’ve stumbled along the way, but that’s how you learn and progress. Falling is actually pretty cool because it’s the best way to gain valuable lessons. Just remember, every successful entrepreneur has faced failure multiple times. So, don’t be afraid to take that leap, learn from it, and jump again.

As a man in the business of women’s health, what obstacles have you faced in establishing your offering? And how have you overcome them? 

I would say the main challenge I encounter when trying to engage with women about their health is that I don’t have first hand experience as a woman, so it’s difficult for me to fully understand what they’re going through. And to some extent, that’s a valid point. However, when we consider the bigger picture, it’s important not to limit ourselves with narrow thinking or make sweeping statements and judgments based solely on gender.

I’ve witnessed incredible transformations where women have been coached by men and vice versa with outstanding results. In all aspects of life, there is a wonderful exchange of support between genders, helping each other achieve amazing outcomes and personal success.

-Martyn Kelland

Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter what gender is coaching or being coached, as long as the coach possesses the necessary skills, knowledge, and understanding to help individuals achieve their goals. What truly matters is finding a coach whom you can connect with on a personal level and trust to guide you towards success.

How do you see the landscape of online women’s health and wellbeing evolving to fill the gender health gap?

In terms of gym, fitness, and health, I’ve noticed a significant positive shift when it comes to women’s well-being. In the past, menopause was a taboo topic that no one dared to discuss. Now, it’s become a more open and comfortable conversation. I’m delighted that my female clients feel at ease discussing their cycles with me during their training sessions as it helps me understand their energy levels and overall performance. It truly warms my heart to see how my female clients are embracing strength training in the free-weight area. It used to be a male-dominated space, but not anymore. Many of these women follow online strength training programs or keep track of their progress in a notebook.

The gap between male and female users of the free weight area is undoubtedly shrinking. I believe that in the coming years, there will be an even greater demand for online coaching.

-Martyn Kelland

Women are prioritizing their health and well-being more than ever, and they have the confidence to make positive changes through exercise. With the introduction of AI in the health and fitness industry, there will be an incredible wealth of information and education available at women’s fingertips to create personalized coaching programs. Rest assured, the future looks bright and promising!

Can you pinpoint a particular strategy that has been pivotal to the success of your business?

I decided to hire a business coach to assist me in mapping out and planning my business, both for the present and the future. Although it was a significant financial investment, I firmly believe that nothing is truly expensive if it provides immense value and helps solve problems. This mindset can also be applied to the realm of health and fitness. Instead of spending years making mistakes on your own, why not invest in yourself and start off on the right foot within the first year? Remember, your health is your most valuable asset, so it’s worth investing in it.

Together, we’ll rewrite your story and reclaim your health and confidence

-Martyn Kelland

Martyn Kelland

Which key pieces of kit, technology, and software could you not live without for running your business?

  • Canva is an amazing design software app that I absolutely love using to create stunning content for my social media and coaching app. The best part is that it offers both a free version and a paid version for just £10.99 per month, which is an incredible value for my business needs.
  • The PT Distinction software is seriously a game changer for me when it comes to running my coaching app. It has allowed me to automate certain aspects of my programs and provide an easy-to-navigate coaching area for my clients. 
  • It has to be my phone! Although I do admit that I spend quite a bit of time on it, the flip side is that I can practically run 95% of my online business from this little device. The flexibility and freedom it gives me is simply amazing. I intentionally set up my different software to work seamlessly on my phone so that I can travel light and work on the go if needed. It’s truly a friend to my business!

3 takeaways for the reader:

  1. Start incorporating more walking and outdoor time into our daily routine. Walking is an amazing way to enhance our physical and mental well-being, and being surrounded by beautiful scenery adds an extra boost to our brain.
  2. Stop beating yourself up over small slip-ups in your diet. Trust me, we all have those moments. What truly matters is how quickly we bounce back and establish a consistent eating pattern again.
  3. Use a smartwatch to keep track of your steps and overall health progress. Some of these amazing devices can even provide insights into the efficiency and strength of your heart and lungs. It’s surprising how little we move sometimes, and having a simple tool like this helps us become more aware, accountable, and motivated to get moving.

How to contact Martyn