Darren has developed his own unique way of breaking down intimidating and often misunderstood subjects into smaller, piecemeal units that can be easily accessed and absorbed.
Combining his university knowledge, many years as a personal trainer, and a quest for personal goals through endurance triathlon, he brings an unequivocal authenticity to his coaching.
Perhaps what sets him apart from the average coach, though, is the journey he has undertaken to reach this point.
Speak to him or watch his videos and you will learn of a man who has battled his demons and come out the other side with a zest for life that is at the same time admirable, compelling and utterly contagious.
As a friend, a coach, a mentor, he makes you believe you can achieve things far greater than you might have otherwise dreamed.
Triathlon Magazine Canada Journalist
It only took being in contact with Darren for one exercise session on the beach and one training workshop to realise that my body needed more challenge and actually relished being pushed to do more. Suddenly, it clicked that any barriers around exercise hadn’t been coming from my body, but from my mind!Fast forward 8 months and I have just completed a 10K run up some crazy inclines and hills in the middle of Sweden’s capital, Stockholm.
Darren, I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for having been the start of the inspiration. You really helped me to see that so much of what we can accomplish starts in the mind, not in the body. I have spent the last 6 months doing regular interval training, HIIT, circuit training and weights (i.e. no swimming or yoga!). I really wanted to strengthen my body and I now love this form of exercise.
The 10K run was a way of celebrating this shift in my mindset. It was without doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do mentally or physically. Mainly because I was only able to train once a week (and only for 5 or 6.5K) but also because those crazy inclines and hills came as a complete surprise. If I hadn’t known how to harness the power of my mind during that race, I would have surely given up along the way.
Darren, you are one in a million, and even though I barely trained with you, your attitude really infiltrated my brain, which is where it all counts, I now realise!! Thanks for helping to revolutionise my approach to exercise and helping me to fall in love with it! Grateful vibes all the way from London:-)
I started working with Darren leading up to my biggest race in 2014, Ironman Malaysia Langkawi. I have never been a fast athlete, but trimmed over 40 minutes off of my personal best in what is known as one of the toughest courses on the circuit.
The heat in Langkawi is absolutely brutal but Darren helped me craft a plan to deal with it. Thanks to this I was able to put in my best performance yet.
What I got most out of working with Darren was a good mindset to go into the race with. I actually put in much less volume this year than for the previous year’s ironman, but Darren got me into the mindset to focus on quality rather quantity.
I think it made a big difference on race day.
I was also helped by many of the other snippets of wisdom that translated into very motivating positive “self talk” when it mattered most in the tougher moments of the all-day event.
Avid surfer and Ironman Athlete
Darren is unlike any other personal trainer I have ever worked with – and he the best – by miles.
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first; he’s qualified beyond belief, understands the physical aspects of training in a way that is more holistic than anything I’ve come across before and is a master at tailoring programmes to your individual needs.
If all he did was what I’ve described above then he would still be one of the best trainers out there.
But this guy takes it to a whole other level. He deals with the mental and emotional aspects of our physicality and the limiting beliefs we have about our own capability. And with Darren, it’s not just words, it’s a way of living, a way of being, a way of becoming, a way of doing… more than you ever believed you could. Why is that? Because it’s real. He’s authentic. He’s been there himself and isn’t afraid to share his story, to help you understand that anyone can do anything if they truly believe it.
I met Darren after suffering for a couple of years from pretty extreme adrenal fatigue and regular bouts of a debilitating virus that left me with very little energy and a genuine fear of exercise because of what it might do to me. Would it knock me out for days? How bad might I feel if I did too much? So, out of fear, I did nothing.
Prior to being ill I may not have been a regular gym bunny or particularly ‘fit’, but was healthy and I always knew I could do whatever I put my mind to and proved it regularly in all aspects of my life (including with physical challenges). My illness changed that and I hadn’t tackled that properly until I met Darren.
Darren listened and was completely understanding about my energy levels and the fact that I needed to start slowly. So we did. And that was great. And at the same time, the biggest thing he did for me (and continues to do, via email, Skype, Facebook and anything else he can think of) was change the way I think about my physical capability. I haven’t climbed Everest or anything (yet!) but I’m doing all sorts of stuff I didn’t think I would be able to do by this point. And I hear his voice in my head every day telling me what I need to hear to know that I can do whatever I put my mind to.
Darren is one of a kind. He helped bring me back into shape after a knee surgery faster than I could have imagined and did it safely and professionally.
He truly knows neurophysiology and can tailor training programs so specifically to meet each individuals needs, whether its inside a gym or out on a beach.
He also understands the mind/body connection and helped me to break through mental barriers that are a part of any training process.
Best of all…he keeps it interesting and fun!
Paediatric Occupational Therapist
Member of the WF of Occupational Therapists
I met Darren at the end of 20 weeks of chemo and 5 of radio. I’ve worked out all my life but I was pretty beat up.
We immediately made a connection because he is first of all, a very nice guy. He is easy to be around and a great communicator. He is kind as well as tough. He knew exactly what I needed and asked more of me than I thought I could give. He treated me like a person wanting to get fit, not a person with cancer.
We have even managed to continue working together via Skype and email. He sets me workouts, sends programs, makes me instructional videos, talks me through problems in great detail.
He is now working on my post-op recovery from my mastectomy. I honestly would not be in the condition I am today, a year after stage III breast cancer and 3 months post op if it weren’t for The Old Dawg.
Whether you are in Phuket or overseas I whole heartedly recommend Darren.
Personal Trainers seem to grow on trees these days. But, good P.T’s who really know their trade are few and far between. Understanding what a client wants and the ability to encourage and push them far beyond what they think their limits are, is only possible when the trainer pushes themselves to the limit and has studied his/her trade.
Although I was relatively fit when I started five months ago, Darren has made me achieve things far beyond what I ever imagined. He refuses to let my age (63) become part of the equation. Each session is full of surprises and never gets repetitive. The results have shown in my level of fitness and in my body.
Thanks for everything Darren, until the next session!
Susanne (Sue) Ultmann