Staying true to your principles

Grant Roberts is an Over Power Fitness franchisee and former footballer. He came through the Leeds United and Sheffield United Academies, and spent his career at Histon FC, Gainsborough Trinity and Boston United. You can follow Over Power Leeds on Facebook and follow Grant on Instagram.

As a footballer, I was never the type of player who was the highly technical number 10-type striker/winger. I was the guy who worked incredibly hard, and provided high fitness levels and energy levels on the pitch. I met Jim Stevenson, who founded Over Power Fitness, when we were both together at Histon. Jim and I were similar in that respect.

We loved training hard and working on our fitness and strength so we could be the best we could be on the pitch. We were never the type of players to rely on our ability.

We’re both about graft and hard work, away from football working hard in the gym, lifting weights, being strong and fit, understanding the body and how it works – how to get stronger and fitter.

Once I retired from football, I wanted to pass on that knowledge to other people. I stepped into coaching briefly but I wanted to step away from football, maybe not forever, but for some time. Because of the industry it is, the cut throat ruthless mentality that you get with football, losing your job instantly if the manager gets sacked, so I wanted to move away from the football industry.

My identity as a footballer was being fit and training hard, taking care of my fitness and my health, and making sure on match day I was just right. I didn’t go out too much, I prioritise my nutrition, took care of my body and mind and made sure I was ready on game day.

The journey into becoming an Over Power franchisee with Jim took me a few years. I was doing personal training for three or four years, and kept in touch with Jim and saw what he was doing with his business. We had a chat about it and he suggested me setting up an Over Power in my home town of Leeds.

I always knew we had a similar ethos, but he had more business experience and offered to help with the structure and various other things about growing my branch of Over Power. He’d been running Over Power for 18 months and it was very successful. Having him on hand, with his knowledge and enthusiasm, was invaluable. Anyone setting up a new business will know how hard it is to start with, and how many balls you have to juggle at first!

That’s what made me want to get on board with Over Power: the fact that we were working together, bouncing ideas off each other and being able to learn and grow together, was appealing as well.

The Leeds Over Power franchise is doing well. We’ve been going for four years and have around 210 members. We’re flying! We’re not far off maximum capacity, at which point I’d like to expand geographically across Leeds.

Weathering Covid was hard, like it was for most people, but we’ve got through lockdowns and in fact some of the changes we made – moving content online – have stayed. Instead of running all our sessions in a group environment, we’re trying to teach and give them extra content such as nutrition, technique, motivation and mindset via online settings. We can provide extra value via the content route. Since Covid, we’ve grown and worked back up to where we were before Covid hit.