Unsung Heroes

Drew Blofeld

Please introduce yourself

Drew served 9 years in the British Army with the Royal Engineers as a PTI and served all over the world including operational tours of Afghanistan as part of the counter IED task force. Since leaving the army in 2014, he's built up a successful gym equipment company and delivered professional development courses to personal trainers & coaches. He is now proud to be a part of the Be Military Fit family and is thoroughly enjoying supporting and building the communities in parks and helping to change people's lives.

What was the path that lead you to today?

My journey started as a young lost boy, who believed he was a man but wasn't, blinded in his actions and unknowingly wasting his potential. It took me a while to realise this and when I did, I joined the army and found I absolutely thrived in that environment. It wasn't long before things were in place which set me on the path I walk today. My career in the army gave me the qualifications, confidence and correct mindset, but it also gave me focus, purpose and a sense of belonging.

Who inspired you to do what you do?

When I was 17, I rented a room from a family friend, Brian. During this period of my life, there were few people who were able to get through to me but Brian quickly gained my respect. He made me realise that the path I had chosen wasn't true to the person I was and that it wasn't a particularly good one. He showed me that I had more to offer. Brian persuaded me to throw myself back into boxing which channelled my energy and focus into something positive. This encouraged me to strive for more positive changes and it wasn't long before I was on the train on my way to basic training.

Throughout my life, I have turned back to Brian for advice and support... thanks bro!

What have been the biggest obstacles you have encountered?

The biggest obstacle which I was totally unprepared for and had no idea how hard it would hit was leaving the army and the affects that would have on me.

I had thought I was in a good place with a secure and clear plan. But what I hadn't considered was the impact leaving would have on me mentally. I remember one particular moment whilst de-kitting. It suddenly hit me, like a huge wave of emotions that overwhelmed me. It was as if I had just handed over a protective shield that had been a barrier blocking my feelings and memories.

It's only now when I look back that I can see the affect it had on me. Unknowingly at the time, my behaviour and actions also profoundly affected those around me.

It's absolutely amazing to see the support out there now to help people who suffer with mental health issues and also battling this stigma that men, heroes, don't talk or show their emotions, etc.

Biggest triumphs?

Without a doubt being a father and a stepfather to 3 wonderful boys.

The best name your ever get called is Dad.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

To make the most of it which is sometimes easier said than done.

Don't get to the end with regrets and be left thinking, ‘I wish I had done this.' Just make sure you do it, whatever it is.

No-one can tell you which day will be your last. We get one shot at our precious life so make memories and make it count!

  

Why is getting outdoors so important in modern life?

So much of our life is spent on our phones, tablets or computers. I'm guilty of this. It's how I run my business. Although the internet brings many conveniences such as access to work world-wide and keeping in touch with friends and family, it also has a negative side which can lead us into a dangerous trap of forgetting the basics.

It can leave us feeling unsure of how to communicate with others face to face. Or fearful in a highly pressurised or potentially argumentative situation when we aren't shielded by a keyboard. Then there are the images we're constantly bombarded with which can lead to feelings of inferiority. You may find yourself asking how you can set a realistic and achievable goal when you're surrounded by body perfect figures.

This is why I love about Be Military Fit and the lifestyle that comes with it. We train outdoors in the most sustainable environments. And the community often expands outside of the weekly training programme, for instance, the group might meet for walks, runs and bike rides. We're more than just an outdoor training group – we are friends too.

My partner will tell you I rarely switch off which can be exhausting for us both. For me, being in the great outdoors clears my mind. I find I can relax, recover, reset and get ready to go again.

In today's modern and busy life, outdoor time is invaluable for stress relief, mental well-being and to recharge, enabling the mind and body to keep pushing and give everything else 100%!

Amongst all the endeavours you have been involved with, which is the most unforgettable and why?

My experiences in Afghanistan in 2010 profoundly imprinted on my life in many ways. As young lads we all volunteered for this tour eager to test our skills and prove ourselves. I'm not sure any amount of training can prepare you mentally for what is to come and I personally don't believe that anyone is completed unaffected by their experiences of war. I was extremely fortunate to be a part of a small team of seven. We were like brothers. I trusted them implicitly. I'm extremally proud of the tremendous, professional job that we did and what we achieved. As part of the counter IED Task force, the politics of the war in Afghanistan meant nothing to us. The reasons why the army were there didn't matter to us. As far as we were concerned, the job we conducted needed doing and the work we carried out directly impacted on the soldiers across all of the NATO forces as well as the local population.

I am proud of our tour and I am even prouder of the men and women I served with.

Why is this particular project so important to you?

I've had a very lucky career and since leaving the Army, I've been successful in the fitness industry. When I first joined Be Military Fit, I was unaware how much it would impact my life. Initially, having just moved to a new area, I thought being a part of BMF would be a great way of meeting new, like-minded people. And it was, but it soon became much more than that. Working with BMF isn't just a job. It's a lifestyle. I was always aware of how strong the BMF community is and seeing how everyone has pulled together and supported each other through these difficult and uncertain times has made me extremely proud to be a part of it.

Some of our members have amazing stories about their journeys which have been an inspiration to me and the team. Watching our members reach their goals and seeing them exceed their potential leaves me more motivated than ever. The impact that the coaches and community can have on an individual goes far beyond just fitness goals. This really can be a life changing experience in many ways.

Who has been an unsung hero in your life?

You're probably not expecting this answer, but it absolutely has to be my mum and nan. They have always believed in me when others haven't, always told me the truth and have never given up on me. They are the strongest, most caring, selfless women who are the glue that has held our family together through some tough times. I hope I have made them proud because I am so proud of them.

Do you have a motto you live by?

Life is what you make of it... you only get one chance. It can be tough... but if you continue to believe in yourself, work hard and never give up no matter what; then I believe anything is possible.

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