An inspirational story of one man’s astonishing mental and physical strength

Buy Now on Amazon


This is a story of one man’s struggle to forge a business out of a hobby and how the business grew and became an industry. Starting with a blank sheet of paper in 1968, this industry is now worth billions.

Somewhere along the journey I picked up the title ‘Father of the Fitness Industry.’ My pioneering instincts saw me building the most successful health club of its time: the forerunner of a modern day culture. The reader will join me on that journey and share some staggering adventures. The solo run world record attempt from John O’Groats to Lands End covering over seventy miles a day and filmed in its entirety by the BBC’s Forty Minutes programme, in which I was tagged the multi-marathon man.

My 50th birthday was celebrated with running fifty miles, lifting 50,000 lbs in a series of exercises in fifty minutes, playing five world class athletes at squash and ending the day with five hundred sit-ups. The journey took me to five world championships, twenty-six marathons, running 127 miles in one day and climbing the Swiss Alps at 75 years of age.

The reader will learn about motivation, the psychology of success, and how we became the darlings of the industry, training future fitness instructors through our National Training Company’s government qualification.

I picked up three Lifetime Achievement Awards and the government’s National Training Award. I was a co-founder of the Fitness Industry Association that became the second biggest of its kind in the world. I wrote the NVQ for the industry lead body and was also a judge at the Mr Universe Contest for fifteen years. Come along and meet Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jonah Barrington, Nat Lofthouse, Roger Hunt, Gordon Taylor, the world’s strong man Geoff Capes, Darth Vader and many more, on a roller coaster turbo jet journey with the Father of Fitness.

Key Achievements

Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.


of the first multi-purpose club in the UK.

Wrote, created

and delivered the first National weight training course and helped form the NVQ for sport and recreation.


'The Gym Business' selling over 10,000 copies.

Co-founder and Chairman

of the FIA (Fitness Industry Association)


a National Training Award by Prince Charles.


the Multi-marathon man by BBC Television for solo attempt to run from John O’Groats to Lands End.

26 marathons

Competed in 26 marathons, 5 world masters championships, ran 126 miles in 1 day and achieved a 2.31.50 at the London marathon at the age of 45.

Ran 40 miles

lifted 40k lbs in 40 mins, played 4 squash matches and completed 400 sit-ups on his 40th birthday.

Ran 50 miles

lifted 50k lbs in 50 mins, played 5 squash matches and completed 500 sit-ups on his 50th birthday.

Climbed in the Swiss Alps at the age of 75.

Three Lifetime Achievement Awards included:

Life Fitness – Distinguished Service Award

The Oscar Heidenstam Foundation - Outstanding Contribution to Physical Culture

National Fitness Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award

Contact Us

Read more about Ken Heathcote


Social Media