In 2009, Don decided part-time training and coaching of fighters was not going to cut it, and he decided to dump his 18-year engineering career in favour of fully immersing in his passion for MuayThai.
He gained formal qualifications in Personal Training and Strength and Conditioning and opened a full time gym. This decision allowed him to provide a facility for athletes to engage in strength and conditioning training – the missing link for the fighters currently training in health and fitness gyms without the equipment, space or culture to allow Olympic weights and medicine balls to be thrown around.
In fact, in the first year that Unit 1 Gym opened, it was listed in the top 5 Combat Gyms of the Year at the National Fitness Awards 2010. Following a 2-year break from competition to build up the new business, Don got back onto the pro MuayThai circuit at the age of 40-years-old, climbing to 4th ranked Pro in the UK at Super Middleweight.
In 2012, inspired by the London Olympic Games, Don started his Heatrick.com blog site to share some of the concepts he uses to train fighters. And Don was surprised to receive great interest and glowing support from the Muay Thai community, when he expected his alternative views to many of the traditional Thai methods of physical preparation would have hime branded a heretic!
At the start of 2015, Don decided to hand over the full time gym to his business partner and concentrate on coaching private clients and Muay Thai classes, and shift his focus to providing online support for Muay Thai fighters looking for professional strength and conditioning information and programmes.