The next time you use your age as an excuse in life, turn your mind to the incredible story of the UK’s oldest personal trainer.
At 78, Edward Diget works as a personal trainer and rehab specialist at PureGym Milton Keynes, and has no desire to wind down his active career.
Despite his age and the fact he’s been living with cancer following a diagnosis three years ago, Eddie doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon.
In fact, he sees his advanced years as a bonus, and hopes to inspire others to keep fit as they get older.
‘It puts me in a unique position as a trainer, my age allows me to be approachable in a way that other younger trainers might not be,’ said Eddy.
‘For example, older women with female-specific problems can feel more comfortable talking to me knowing I have a medical background, than if they were chatting to a 22-year-old newly qualified PT.’
Eddy previously spent 22 years in the Royal Navy, where he worked as a ship’s doctor and eventually became a Lieutenant Surgeon. Having seen it all, he left aged 58 – in his own words, ‘you never had any idea what was going to walk through the door’.
Without a plan of where he was headed next, he moved to Oxford with his wife and ended up acting as an unpaid personal trainer before it became his profession.
What started as offering basic help and training advice to other members of a small gym he frequented, quickly turned into training 10 people every day from 6am to 6pm.
‘One day one of the owners came up to me and said I was really upsetting their personal trainers, so they offered me a job and said I had to start charging for sessions and that was it,’ Eddy commented. ‘Everything really started from there.’
His extensive CV includes 55 years’ experience in martial arts, training SWAT and counter terrorism teams and working as a stuntman, in addition to representing the UK at the 1962 Commonwealth Games. Eddy even trained Roger Moore in Moonraker while honing his own craft under a Shaolin Master.
He says he’s often asked when he wants to retire, but that he loves training people too much to give it all up.
‘I’m passionate about what I do and I’m not ready to stop that anytime soon,’ said Eddy. ‘I believe my age is actually my greatest strength. My grey hair, guide dog (and my zimmer frame) allows me to be approachable.’
He added: ‘Forgetting the financial side entirely, it’s the emotional side of it that keeps me going. I love training people, it keeps me humble!’
When it comes to how he stays in shape, Eddy doesn’t follow any strict rules.
‘To be honest, I don’t really swear by anything other than what works for you,’ he said.
‘I do whatever feels right in the moment. Sometimes that’s going out to the garage to take some frustration out on my Muk Yan Chong (a kind of wooden dummy used in martial arts), other times it’s going for a big walk around my local park with my wife.
‘When I used to compete, I would train up to four times a week and really focus each of those workouts on a different body part, but I don’t need to do that now – I simply strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the best way that works for me.’
This applies to his diet too.
Eddy explained: ‘I was diagnosed with bowel cancer three years ago, but I don’t eat or drink anything in particular either.
‘We have no hard and fast rules in our house! I eat when I’m hungry, and we eat sensibly – bar the occasional pig out, of course. We love treating ourselves to fish and chips, or a takeaway.’
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