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Great Outdoors Training in Cascais

Luis Santos, a Portuguese-Australian athlete is telling us about his idea of personalized beach training in Cascais. How is it different from personal training as we know it?

- What brought an Aussie to Lisbon? I bet it was not the beach that was missing in your life.

I was actually born here, my parents are Portuguese. I wanted to get in touch with my heritage, so I decided to study Masters here. I shipped my things over and was ready to spend two years here, but after realising the course was not for me I decided to stay anyway. My parents had their old house in Cascais and after putting some work into it I moved in and lived here since. You know, I don’t see myself going back to Australia now. I know exactly what would be waiting for me there; what job I would have, where would I live, how I’d spend my free time. Living here, I don’t know what is happening tomorrow and what will the new day bring. It may seem scary, but for me it’s exciting. I have never regretted coming here despite the fact my masters didn’t work out.

- You don’t like being called a personal trainer.

I don’t like what personal training has become. Course to become a PT is very short and basic – you can do it quickly through an online course. The structure of personal training within the gyms is also quite limited and is mostly focused on trying to convince people they need a personal trainer in order to attract more contracts for the business. People are told they need to lose weight or that in order to do the exercises correctly they need a supervisor. I think there’s lack of personal approach.

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Luis Santos

- What is your approach?

Everyone is different so the reasons for training are also individual. I believe losing weight is the wrong reason to exercise, however feeling good inside and out is a far better one. Being fit is just a by-product of feeling good. My goal is to make people realize they can be happy thanks to physical activity. People often associate personal training with being stuck inside the gym surrounded by cold steel machines. I am not saying it wrong, though I want to show a more fun and approachable way of exercise. We have a sense of community – we train together, have a little catch-up after. That’s why I called my project Active Circle: it’s about creating a physically active community.

- What was the most memorable moment in your career?

– I used to train athletes. I was their strength and conditioning coach which basically means teaching how to jump higher or sprint faster, improve performance and work on technicalities. Watching them succeed was a great feeling. I saw people that were not really good at a specific sport and they trained so hard and eventually became the best in their age group.

- Least favorite part of your job?

Fitness industry is the complete opposite of what I believe: it’s all about money. Personal trainers who tell people they are fat and then promise that with them you’ll lose six kilos in 6 weeks. If I was fit and went to one of these places they wouldn’t tell me that I don’t need to lose any weight. They just want clients so probably I would end up believing there’s something wrong with my body and the only place I can fix it is the gym. But I’m working on changing that perception.

- What inspires you?

My friends and family, science, psychology. How are these connected? I could probably describe it as this amazing feeling when you can offer nutritional and psychological support to people around you and see their lives improve. I love this feeling. It keeps me going.

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