Still dedicating much of his life to “Giving Something Back” his mission is still to impact one million lives through health, education, mindset and a higher level of contribution to those less fortunate. Of course, we had to find out more.
Dan, welcome to one coast magazine. You are originallY from sydney in australia and left in 1998. when You actually got on that plane back then, what were Your plans and what were You thinking?
Thanks Crispin, it’s a pleasure to be here. Gosh, it still seems like yesterday. I didn’t have many opportunities to travel when i was young, so I have always had that bug, that desire to just explore and travel the world. I’d much rather be watching national geographic than cartoons. I just couldn’t wait to be old enough to jump on a plane and see where the wind took me. My plan was to travel Europe for 6-8 months, and then likely settle in London and work in the fitness industry. But this time my plans were a little delayed.
My original plan was to leave straight after High School. Then I was accepted to University, and decided it was best to work in the industry for a year or two, save some money and get that essential experience before embarking on my adventure.
One of my clients was the Producer for Wide World of Sports in Australia, and that year was also the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. So, I had my oneway ticket to UK and a return ticket from London to Singapore, to work at the games, travel Asia for 6 months and then return to London.
Well, that return trip to London never happened 🙂
Where did your travels take you?
I landed in London and travelled all of western Europe for the summer, from the UK, Germany, Austria, France, Spain and Greece. Spent a lot of time in the Greek Islands, South of France and Spain. Close to the ocean of course and always following the sun. Then I took the offer to work at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in KL, so off I went! After the Games I travelled through Malaysia, and then into Thailand. I’d actually applied for a position at some ‘famous health resort’ in Hua Hin and had no idea what it was about, so thought I would visit and see what it was all about. I was offered the position, but delayed my start so I could travel around before settling in to a full-time job. At 15,000 Baht per month, there wasn’t a massive incentive to start working immediately! I took the job anyway.
In between jobs I’ve travelled all through Asia, all of Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bali, Philippines, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Laos, China, Nepal, Bhutan India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Maldives.
What made you settle in Bangkok?
I had been living in Hua Hin for 2 years, then India and back with another resort group for another 2, and thought I should venture to the Americas. I’d always wanted to travel South America and of course the US being the mecca of the fitness industry, it made sense to check out the scene there. I consulted in Mexico developing health retreats there and looked into the east and west coasts, mainly New York, Miami, LA, San Diego and felt if I was going to pioneer an industry, I needed to do it back in Asia. As there was close to no industry in Bangkok, and that’s where I had been based for a few years, that’s where I needed to be. So that’s what I did.
Tell us a little about The Thought process and concept behind “The aspire club”?
Aspire, to me, is everything the industry needs to be about. Results. So, over the last 22 years in the industry, I developed systems, mastered psychology and identified what were the essential elements that enable people to achieve better results than others. It’s not just about working out, training and eating healthy. And in addition to the results, it was what keeps people motivated to live consistently active life. To inspire others. Changing lifestyles and improving lives was always the goal. So, in addition to the training, strategic nutrition, it was to identify WHY people wanted to achieve goals. And that the essence of aspire. Community, results, confidence, seeing and feeling the benefits in all areas of their life, not just their physical appearance. Helping clients get pain free and move better is also an important component. Overall lifestyle enhancement or ‘Energy Management” I like to call it.
Aspire clubs success is indisputable, what are your future plans?
I’ve worked hard to grow this business organically, and with the highest standards in the industry. To really grow that is tough. So, the focus is to continue to improve on what we already do and continue to leverage our expertise in corporate wellness and health retreats as well as increase our exposure through our online training and coaching programs worldwide. To leverage technology rather than through traditional brick and mortar locations.
It’s a different ball game now, and if you want to grow, you need leverage through tech, expand your reach and be able to connect with people all over the world.
In 2008 and 2012 you had much To do wiTh The olympic games in The uK, what were you doing there?
Yes, I have been super fortunate to work with some of the world’s best athletes. Singapore was the inaugural Youth Olympics, and London of course was the highlight for the 2012 Olympic Games. I was managing and supporting the athletes training facilities inside the Athletes Village. That was an intense 2 weeks. Long days yet super exciting. I had the chance to work and train national teams and meet hundreds of incredible athletes, coaches. An incredible experience and thankful for my long-time association and Master Trainer with Technogym all these years that led to that opportunity.
Your travels and work have taken you far and wide, what is one of your most enlightening experiences you could share with us?
Way too many! Hard to pick just one, but trekking to Everest Base Camp for the first time is definitely enlightening and I highly recommend everyone to get to Nepal at least once. When you’re up there, on top of the world, you realize how small you are and how insignificant your challenges really are in the big picture. And it’s an incredible experience that not many people every have the chance to do.
You received an impressive Bangkok entrepreneur award is that right?
It’s nice to be recognized for your contribution to an industry, especially as an expat and away from home. There really needs to be more emphasis on recognizing the amazing community of expats who are not only building businesses, contributing greatly to the Thai economy through innovation, employing hundreds of people and sharing our expertise to enhance the local people and industries.
Giving something back has always been important to you, what are you concentrating on now?
We are on this planet for a very short time, and I feel it is our responsibility to giving back, and contribute to society. Either through raising money, awareness, giving our time, and increasing awareness of the reality is a reflection of where we are in society, how fortunate we are and that we can help thousands more with just a single decision. So I incorporate my travels, lust for adventure into charity projects. I take a group trekking to Everest Base Camp or somewhere in Nepal every year, so I always ensure we have a high purpose to assist where we can.
Locally in Thailand, we raise money through special fitness events, programs and also give our time to help build schools, educate kids, donate clothes and sporting goods to lesser known communities and schools. They are our chosen projects in Bangkok slums, on the outskirts and also in the provinces and also in other countries. Some of our clients are involved in their own projects in Cambodia, Laos, India and Nepal so I choose to help support their projects too.
What does an aspiring fitness professional do in his spare time?
Two ends of the spectrum. Either super chilled, beaches, islands or by the pool, in the sun or I’m a complete adrenaline junkie! Motorbikes, Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Scuba Diving, Paragliding, travelling! Anything in the outdoors, exploring, and getting off road, off the grid and back to nature. And of course, travelling the world. I’ve been fortunate to create an incredible life and have travelled extensively. There is always somewhere new to discover.
You have been an inspiration to many people through your life and work, where does your drive and passion come from?
I ask myself this question every day! My greatest joy is in seeing my clients achieve tremendous success in their life, and by using fitness as their foundation. I really believe this is the catalyst for success in all areas of life. When you can help people achieve their goals, you will achieve yours too. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
Tonight, you are taKing your family to your favorite restaurant, where do you do and what would you choose?
One of my favorite places for dinner is on the river, overlooking Wat Arun at night… I love the combination of culture, history and great food! The perfect combination.