Former Navy trainer brings out book to get people into shape
"LITTLE Dave" Concannon doesn't shy away from the big challenges when it comes to fitness.
The former Navy physical training instructor (PTI) has published a book aimed at helping people get in shape and keep a healthy outlook for the rest of their lives.
When not putting his clients through their paces at Nuffield Health, Fitness and Wellbeing on Clifton Triangle, 5ft 3ins Dave has been penning Little Dave's Big Fitness Plan, subtitled "the hardest part is getting changed".
But the 48-year-old warned that anyone needs to be committed to get results.
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"There's no short-term, quick fix," he said. "You're looking at a life-long process.
"People are always saying to me, 'Dave, I want something that works now'. But if you've got a jar of enthusiasm you shouldn't empty it out in one go – it's got to last you.
"If you go into it expecting to do it for the rest of your life it's better in the long run. It's got to be for life, it's got to be consistent and you've got to find something you enjoy."
Growing up as a sporty youngster in Mangotsfield, Dave left Bristol at 18 and joined the Royal Navy.
Working in the "gloomy" radar operations room of HMS Raleigh, he cast an envious eye on the PTIs on deck "having fun" as they beasted the crew. By 1987, aged 22, he was a qualified instructor in charge of 220 men.
"At sea, my target audience were the ones that didn't want to do it," said the dad-of-three. "The ship's crew was a reflection of today's society with regards to exercise. I classed about 15 per cent as the 'crazy gang' – those who would exercise like their lives depended on it.
"At the other extreme, was about 15 per cent who would rather swap their sports kit for a Pot Noodle and would do everything they could to avoid exercise."
In 2005, Dave, who now lives in Southmead, retired from the Navy after 22 years.
He added: "I got very common questions in the Navy and when I started working at Nuffield I was still getting the same questions, so I thought I'd write a book.
"I thought there's a gap there, there's something not quite right because there's more information out there than ever before out, but there's so much, it can be difficult to know where to start and people can be overwhelmed."
The book, which contains top tips, common mistakes and exercise plans, took three years to write. After a number of knock-backs from publishers Dave received an offer, but decided to go it alone and self-publish, with help from friends and clients along the way.
As for the self-effacing title, Dave said he has always punched above his weight, both physically and verbally.
"I could fill up the Evening Post with all the nicknames I've been given over the years – but I dished it out as well."
The most satisfying part of his job is when he sees real changes in clients – something he hopes others can achieve after reading his book.
"When you see that emotional change take place, in their personality and confidence, that's more satisfying than anything," he said.
Little Dave's Big Fitness Plan is available in places including Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing and Blackwells on Park Street.
With sales approaching 400, on January 8 it will be officially launched at the Berkeley Square Hotel, Clifton, at 7.30pm. All are welcome. The book costs £9.99. For more information visit www.littledavefitness.co.uk.
Dave's top five tips to get fit:
1. Be consistent
2. Do what you enjoy
3. Little and often
4. Always think about how you feel afterwards, not before
5. When you get stuck, remember "the hardest part is getting changed"