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Meet Philip McDougall of Move Better Be Stronger / Strength Matters in Pacific Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Philip McDougall.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Philip. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My life took a massive positive turn in 2005 when I made the decision to stop being a nightclub manager in Bristol, England and become Royal Marines Commando.

I served within the Royal Marines for six years, completing two front line tours of duty to Afghanistan. I joined to be an elite fighting soldier and this is exactly what I received as both tours were extremely active. I loved the beloved Corps and saw myself as a lifer, until every soldiers’ worst enemy came into my life – I met my wife who was the editor of a glossy high end fashion magazine in NYC. After tasting the glitz and glamor of NYC and falling head over heels in love, priorities changed and I no longer wanted to play soldier.

The Corps thankfully provided me with first class education within my next career of choice – the fitness industry. I became a clinical remedial massage therapist and personal trainer in London, while my new wife jumped ship to head a London based magazine.

The first year of becoming a massage therapist and personal trainer in London was, by far, the hardest working year of my life. I would rather go through recruit Commando training again, twice. The hours were brutal, the pay was abysmal, the work was highly energy demanding and the living costs and other obstacles were a constant menace.

After about three years of hard graft, stress and darkness I had finally made it to where I wanted to be in London. I am very grateful to have had the pleasure of being the remedial massage therapist and/or trainer for various actors, dancers, singers, models, pro-athletes and CEO’s of top companies.

However, public figures tend to be very demanding and elite athletes tend to want a lot for very little cost. Besides the greatest job satisfaction I found was dramatically changing the lives of unfit and unhealthy everyday people, rather than making a 0.5% improvement to the performance of the elite.

In April 2016 my wife was offered a position as the Editor of a health and fitness magazine called Strength Matters in San Diego. We were weary of the constant gloom and negativity of London so the decision to move to the happiest place on Earth was an easy one.

In November 2016 we set sail on board Queen Mary II and emigrated to San Diego. I subsequently set up shop in Kate Sessions park in PB as a personal trainer. In March 2017 I accepted the job of Director of Athletic Performance for Strength Matters.

As a trainer, my self-proprietor company is called Move Better Be Stronger. I help everyday people do just that. I also provide personal training at corporate and luxury events, and teach Indian Club workshops, worldwide.

My role of Director of Athletic for Strength Matters has me producing content for the global community of fitness enthusiasts and professionals, in the form of blogs and videos. I have written the entire Strength Matters education program, for trainers and enthusiasts and I’m the chief instructor at Strength Matters certifications and events.

I love my new life and love the active San Diego lifestyle.

Has it been a smooth road?
The transition from Commando to civilian was very hard. The perception may be that life at war or life in the military is tough where as in reality it’s far from it. After basic training, military life is a walk in the park. There’s no business admin. Other people set your routine. You are surrounded by your brothers who would do anything for you and are all in exactly same situation. Your monthly salary goes into your account every month, no matter what. The cost of living is free – highly subsidised costs for tax, food, accommodation, utilities are all subtracted before your salary is paid. Any money you earn is just a massive beer kitty. Sure, life on operations can be very tough, but that’s playtime and exactly what most good Royal Marines Commandos signed up for.

Life in Civvi Street is vastly different. London living costs were so high that the only way to pay my half of the rent and bills was to work myself to the bone. The “friends” you make don’t have your back to anywhere near the same extent as your brothers in the Corps.

The constant stress of London, caused by traffic, rude ill-mannered people, bad weather, massive living costs and bipolar working hours facilitated several bouts of PTSD. Dealing with that while maintaining productivity and continual improvement was probably the biggest struggle.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Move Better Be Stronger / Strength Matters story. Tell us more about the business.
My sole proprietorship is Move Better Be Stronger, which provides:

  1. A) Personal training at corporate events / luxury events, globally
    B) Indian club workshops, globally
    C) Personal training in Pacific Beach

I’m an known for helping normal people between the ages of 30-70 move better and be stronger. I can also help rehabilitate pre-diagnosed injuries.

Strength Matters is a global community of fitness, strength and health enthusiasts and professionals. Strength Matters is a magazine, a podcast and a virtual gym. Strength Matters is an education company, a provider of events, certifications and courses. Stats:

Social Media – 50,000 (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
Database – 110,000 globally
Magazine Readership – 28,000 globally
Podcast Audience – 30,000 downloads per month
Website – 20,000 Unique Visits per Month
website/blog 30k per month
Magazine asp download – 17K per month

As Director of Athletic Performance for Strength Matters, I help people improve their Everyday Athleticism all over the world, by:

  1. A) Writing programs for everyday athletes within the virtual gym
    B) Developing systems for improving elements of athleticism for everyday people all over the world
    C) Writing blogs and producing videos for the online community
    D) Developing education programs for personal trainers and fitness professionals
    E) Leading educational courses and certifications, globally

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Train like a Commando! Train like an MMA fighter! Train like a professional athlete! Train like a professional gymnast! Move like a ninja! Become the next Ninja Warrior! Compete at Crossfit! Train using this big celebrities training plan! Train like the ROCK!

This is where the mainstream fitness industry is currently at. The major flaw with this this is that elite athletes, elite military and elite performers train the way they do because they are elite. When a person who spends 10 hours per day sitting in a chair tries to train like an elite performer, they get hurt and fail at reaching their goal.

Strength Matters is leading the charge away from this mentality by meeting people where they’re at. We’ve developed a concept called the Everyday Athlete, which makes it ok and cool to just train to be better at everyday tasks, while budging some unwanted lard in the process.

More and more people are spending more and more time sitting in a chair, therefore injury rates will continue to increase and the need for non-elite training programs and smart training goals will also increase. We’re getting people out of there chairs and foot prisons (shoes) and making being able to move well a key priority. We’re making movement sexy!

In terms of trends, NYC will continue to pump out the next biggest thing that the celebs are doing. But just bear in mind that nothing is new in fitness. Hippocrates advocated that exercising before breakfast is good for losing weight. Literally all training principles, methods and modalities have been done before. The question is, who’s the best at marketing something to look like the next new thing?

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Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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