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Nico Valla Nutrition CoachingHello I’m Nico Valla,

I’m a fitness business owner in based in Narberth, Pembrokeshire.

Having grown up in Pembrokeshire I was lucky enough to experience an active childhood, enjoying the outdoor life that Pembrokeshire has to offer.

I’ve noticed that fitness has always been there for me. When I focus on my own health and fitness everything else seems to fall into place, and this has a snowball effect.

From an early age I remember helping friends and family – I am a born teacher and I get a real buzz from helping people improve their lives.

I’m a dad and a husband, a personal trainer and nutrition coach. I’ve written countless health and fitness articles and helped many people directly through personal training and coaching.

Like many of us, I’ve had my highs and lows, and looking back I’ve learned a lot about myself.

The Story I Was Sold – Not Good Enough

The story I was sold was that I was not good enough.

I was never an athletic or confident boy in school. Remembering how often I was last to be picked for the team in school sports reinforced the notion that I was not good enough for years.

On one occasion my teacher mocked me for not being able to run a lap of the sports field.

On another, I was humiliated in tennis coaching because I hit a ball well over the boundary fence when we were practicing a drill.

I assumed I was rubbish because many of the cool kids – my peers at school – thought I was.

I Gained Confidence By Chance

My parents bought me a bike. I discovered cycling in the early 90s and soon became hooked. Life outside school, my fitness and confidence began to flourish and I entered my first cross country mountain bike race. As you can imagine some small successes snowballed and I began racing in National events in xc and road time trials.

My interest in health and fitness had been sparked, and if I was not on my bike I could be found with my head buried in various fitness magazines and books.

Mind Over Matter In Becoming An… ‘Athlete?’

In 1999 I was lucky enough to train for and complete the Coureurs des Bois 180km XC Ski Marathon in Quebec. Having only skied for 3 weeks before the event, while my fitness was high in cycling, my efficiency on skis was dismal, and so this was and probably still is one of my biggest demonstrations of mind over matter.

At this stage I began to question my general fitness and in an attempt to become a more rounded athlete I started thinking about triathlon. Being encouraged by older peers in my local triathlon club and by my family, it wasn’t long before I entered my first sprint triathlon.

Minutes into the swim I hauled myself out if the water and sat on the side in a state of anxiety because everyone else had already exited the water, and I was STRUGGLING. Some wise words of encouragement from a marshall saw me complete the swim, perform a strong bike and run and finish on the podium.

In a similar experience – my first open water Olympic distance triathlon – I was LAST out of the water, which put me in a great position to overtake 180 cyclists over the next 40km, and maintain a strong run and again win my category. Small successes snowballed and before I knew it I was racing all over the country, Europe and even as far as New Zealand.

I felt invincible.

Then I Gained Weight. Quickly

Over a period of about 2 weeks a hair follicle on my shin got infected and before I knew it I had septicemia through my body.

Doctors prescribed me drugs after drugs for months on end to kick this bug, but it literally took 6 months before I was ok again.

My activity levels dropped significantly but my appetite remained as a matter of habitual and emotional eating because I was feeling low. My body fat percentage skyrocketed.

Big Lows

In 2005 my body weight went from 73 kg to 96 kg in just a few months. My body fat percentage increased from 7% when I was racing triathlons competitively, to 30% by 2006. I went from a 30-32 inch waist to a 36 inch waist and had to buy a whole load of new trousers.

My inner thighs rubbed together whilst cycling and I got chafing and real discomfort on my bike. My ability and inclination to run was hit hard because it was such a challenge being 23 kg’s heavier than I was used to but also because I hated the way I looked.

I went from being confident in my sport and running with groups at the local running club to wanting to run on my own, at night when no one would see me and where I could go at my own pace. My mental strength was affected and saw my energy and enthusiasm dwindle in all aspects of my life.

I would consider that I was suffering a kind of depression because of my lifestyle and physical changes – all as a result of gaining weight.

Changed My Story – Bounce Back Ability

It was at this point that I decided to become a personal trainer. After all, I am a born helper and teacher with a passion for learning and sharing my knowledge of health and fitness.

Through sheer luck my friend bought me a copy of UltraFit Magazine and a lottery ticket. While I didn’t win the lotto, I did see an advert for a personal training qualification, and so with a deep breath I took the plunge, quit my job and immersed myself in learning.

My Wife Thinks I’m Strange

That first course set me on a never ending learning journey. Okay, an obsession.

My wife thinks I’m strange. Looking at her bookshelf compared to mine and I understand why.
While she’s got novels, fiction… escapism if you will, my shelf is full of anatomy and physiology text books, personal development, nutrition and training manuals.

Yes I know it’s a little bit weird, but I get a buzz from reading text books about health, fitness, nutrition. While learning about these topics my I literally feel excited about applying this knowledge.

My Mission – To Help You Change Your Story Because, Well… Because You Can.

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