Having caught the fitness bug in the army, Glenn Hill is now using his expertise as a personal trainer, employing unique mind and body techniques. Sarah Millington reports

IT may not sound like the best recommendation but Glenn Hill admits that the first time he talks to a client, they often end up in tears. This, he quickly points out, is not his doing but the result of years of them trying, in vain, to lose weight. Meeting Glenn represents a turning point.

“Often they’ve failed so many times, they think it’s hopeless,” he says. “Unless you change that limiting belief, they’re always going to be in that cycle. Often people have been through all the diet clubs and they’re at their wits’ end.”

With clients like this, Glenn treads carefully, establishing a rapport and – crucially, trust – before subjecting them to the rigours of intense exercise. In fact, if someone doesn’t feel up to it, a session might not involve any real exertion at all.

“Every time a client comes in, I look at how they’re acting,” says Glenn. “If they’ve had a bad day, I won’t even take them in the gym – we’ll go and walk round the park. In the summer, I’ll get them to take their shoes off and we’ll walk on the grass. I’ll sneak some exercise in as we’re out there. Inevitably, the sessions become really hard at the end, but by then, their body and their brain are conditioned to it.”

Working freelance from Bannatyne’s health club in Chester-le-Street, Glenn sees all kinds of clients from those just wanting to tone up and lose weight to people with long-term health problems. As word of his success in tackling the latter spreads, he finds he is increasingly helping those facing a broad range of physical and psychological barriers.

Glenn’s approach is unconventional. Having invested £5,000 in self-development courses, he draws on the latest techniques to harness the mind in helping the body to function effectively. “I can often fix a client without touching them or by tapping them on the head or the area that’s injured,” says Glenn. “That’s what the backbone of my personal training is – being able to help people using cutting-edge techniques.

“Some stuff I do is called Body Map, which is like an MOT for the nervous system. If someone has an issue with function, pain or flexibility, it’s often the brain that’s causing it. Once you make the brain feel a bit safer, that gives them back their function and often removes pain as well.”

The science may be complicated, but Glenn’s methods are simple. He performs tests, like getting a client to extend their arms to assess flexibility, and uses things like tapping and vigorous rubbing to spur the brain into action. As far as he knows, he is the only personal trainer in the region to take such an innovative approach. “I do a thing called Applied Movement Neurology and Neuro Linguistic Programming as well,” says Glenn. “It’s all based on modern science and some ancient science and it all works amazingly well together.”

His current role is a far cry from Glenn’s former career as an Army engineer. He joined up at 17 and spent 19 years as a soldier, throwing himself into any opportunity to learn new fitness skills.

“It wasn’t until I joined the Army that I realised I had a natural flair for health and fitness,” he says. “I competed at nearly every sport – hockey, football, rugby, kayaking, rock climbing – pretty much everything. I must have taken thousands of recruits on fitness and adventure training. I’m a very competitive chap so I tried to go on every single course I could. That’s what made me become a personal trainer and become one of the best – that competitive spirit.”

Having already decided to leave the Army, the move was prompted by Glenn being hit by a roadside bomb in Nad-e Ali, in Afghanistan’s notorious Helmand province, on New Year’s Day 2011. Escaping with minor injuries, he returned to his native North-East and set up the women’s gym Ladies At Leisure, in Chester-le-Street, where he now lives. Despite its success, including nominations for Ladies’ Gym of the Year and Personal Trainer of the Year in the 2014 National Fitness Awards, he couldn’t make it viable, so was forced to close it. Since then, Glenn, 40, has been based at Bannatyne’s – though he hopes this will be temporary. “Next year I’ll start afresh,” he says. “Now I find it hard doing some of the hard fitness – I get injured all the time. I’d like to mentor other personal trainers so they can do what I do and have a venue somewhere else.”

Alongside his regular personal training, Glenn runs campaigns inviting those struggling with weight loss to contact him for free advice. He feels strongly that there is a need for more support in this area. “I don’t think the Government does enough,” he says. “Giving someone money towards a diet class doesn’t work. It’s a short-term fix because they’re still left with the issue that caused them to overeat in the first place. I offer nutritional advice to everybody. For some I’ll give them a full nutrition plan. Every personal training client I have, I send to a dietician.”

Even when he is away, Glenn makes his presence felt, providing apps containing everything from videos of himself demonstrating exercises to tips on getting a good night’s sleep. “It’s like having a little Glenn on their shoulder,” he laughs.

An outdoor adventurer at heart, he dreams of one day relocating to the Alps, where he hopes to host retreats incorporating fitness, adventure, psychology and relaxation. Whatever happens, Glenn will continue with his two great passions – exercise and helping others.


Glenn is offering one reader the chance to receive 30 free personal training sessions, worth £1,000. To be considered, email Glenn at i.trainhard@yahoo.co.uk, explaining in no more than 500 words why you feel you would benefit from the sessions. The closing date is Monday, November 30.

Glenn’s top tips for a healthy New Year

1 Try to get at least ten minutes of fresh air a day.

2 Drink five glasses of water a day.

3 Try to have an extra hour in bed.

4 Eat food with the least number of ingredients possible.

5 Make time for yourself. Keep a diary and write down only positive things. At the end of the week, read all the good things you have done.