‘How exercise can decrease anxiety and other mental health issues’

Darren YMCA gym 2021

While working out recently, many of our members might have noticed a new face at reception and on the gym floor. We are pleased to introduce Darren McFaul, YMCA Gym’s newest team member and Fitness Adviser.

Darren has worked as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor for over 20 years in various gyms around the UK and in Spain, including running his own gym for over five years. In a more recent role as Wellbeing Coach for students and staff at a local university, Darren provided weekly sessions demonstrating the benefits of exercise and fitness for maintaining good mental health, especially anxiety and the impact of lockdowns during the covid-19 pandemic.

Bringing a wealth of fitness experience to his role as Fitness Adviser at YMCA Gym, Darren has previously been employed as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Boxing/Muay Thai Coach for over eighteen years. His wealth of experience also extends to training and conditioning professional fighters to World, European, Commonwealth and British Level in Thai boxing, boxing and kickboxing, as well as grassroots level Amateur boxing. He has also coached a variety of sports teams including football, hockey and swimming in strength and conditioning.

Darren has specialised in biomechanics, posture and rehabilitation and the inclusion of those fundamentals into helping people reach a wide variety of fitness related goals by teaching them how to incorporate exercise and nutrition into their lifestyle.

Darren said: “I have worked on building my own training method to help people understand the benefits of posture correction regardless of what training you do, and how it can help increase your performance and progression also limiting the chances or recurrence of injury.

“I am also really interested in studying how exercise can help mental health and have been coaching others online to explore for themselves how exercise can help decrease their anxiety and other mental health related illnesses.”

When he is not supporting members at our charity gym, Darren volunteers as a teacher at an Amateur boxing club, enjoys reading and playing the guitar. However, most of his spare time is taken up looking after a three-foot savannah monitor lizard named Arlo!

Darren truly believes that exercise can be life-changing and loves supporting people in reaching their goals or overcoming difficult times through fitness. He enjoys helping people to understand how gyms can help support with mental health, not just through exercise but also by joining the community within it… and what better place to start than at the YMCA!

“I also have over 30 years’ experience in martial arts, self-defence and boxing and have helped many people understand the mental health benefits of this type of training from building great fitness and self-confidence,” Darren explained.

“I am excited at the prospect of being part of the team helping as many people as I can and hopefully enjoy the gym atmosphere as much as I do.”

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