Coach Hannes: An Iconic Legacy of Inspiration! | Iconic Fitness Dubai Marina JLT

Coach Hannes: An Iconic Legacy of Inspiration!

Hannes Personal Trainer

It’s quite a bittersweet reality, having to bid farewell to a colleague who has become so much more than just a co-worker, but also a friend, confidant, and source of inspiration. But as with any story, there are several chapters, all of which must end at some point so that the next can begin, and so we find ourselves at that transitioning moment.

Coach Hannes has left an indelible mark on our team, and his departure leaves a void that will be felt by all of us. Beyond his professional contributions, it’s his warmth, kindness, and unwavering dedication that truly set him apart from the rest (not to mention his extra special sense of humor!). His ability to uplift those around him, offer a helping hand, and lead by example has not only enriched our workplace but also touched the lives of everyone fortunate enough to cross his path!

Another thing that is well known about our dear Coach Hannes, is that he always has a lot to say! Therefore it seemed only right to give him one last chance to share with us some thoughts, insights, and parting advice. So here we go!

What inspired you to start coaching at the gym when it first started?
I got into Sport, Rehabilitation & Human Movement Sciences to help people. Iconic Fitness believes in growing a client no matter what level of ability they are to be the best they can be, and my life philosophy fits very well with that – and that’s how things started!

How has the gym evolved since you began coaching?
In the very beginning, it was only Andy, Rey and myself, and we rented space in another gym in JLT where we were able to coach our own clients. From there, we grew so much that we needed our own space, which we found in the Marina. We provided not only PT and semi-private Transformation Programs, but also CrossFit, Zumba, Body Pump, and Rehab as well! After COVID, we decided to focus mainly on 2 programs: CrossFit and Semi-Private Transformation & Rehab. I’ve actually kept a log of this, but we have trained and helped change the lives of people from well over 150 different countries, so it’s safe to say I met a lot of great and awesome people, and laughed alot!

Can you share the most memorable moment(s) from your time coaching at the gym?
There are so many, but here’s a few that I’ll always be proud of:

Convincing Marnus that I always forgot my wallet at home and letting him buy me a sausage roll at Almaya Super Market. This continued, every week for 5 years, and may very well be my biggest achievement in my entire professional career.

Playing my part in establishing solid movement patterns and guiding moms through the different stages of pregnancy to assist in delivery and recovery post-delivery is without a doubt one of the most important roles a coach can play.

Successfully guiding clients through various stages of rehab and seeing them complete multiple Iron Man races without pain is such a massive emotional pay check for any Rehab and Performance Coach.

Over the past decade, I’ve worked with so many young coaches, and I could play a mentoring role for them. Seeing them do so well now, years later, is something I’m very proud of.

Having my own daughter grow up at the gym and seeing how comfortable she is with movement, simply because she has seen so many other individuals train, has definitely provided a solid base for her own physical development so far as well as for what is still to come, which is something I’ll cherish forever.

What impact do you hope you’ve made on the clients you’ve worked with?
Something I’ve tried to implement in each and every session is fun and enjoyment along with great and effective coaching; a client’s hour with Hannes needs to be the best hour of their day. It’s a great way to get people moving during times of stress, low energy, or when they are just demotivated. Movement heals no matter what! And running into people again that I’ve coached years ago who are looking great and injury-free because they kept at it even though they’ve left Iconic is such a wonderful and rewarding thing to see.

What are you most proud of from your time at the gym?
The relationships I’ve built and people still mentioning how fond they were of the time training with me. Social media is great like that; even though clients come and go, I can still keep an eye on them and stay in contact to ensure they continue safe and effective training wherever they are in the world.

How have you seen yourself grow as a coach and person over the last decade?
Iconic is the place where I grew the most. I’ve been here 25% of my life, and it’s where I became a dad, mentor and coach! Iconic has also taught and allowed me to just be myself and go with it.

What will you miss most about the gym and your coaching role at Iconic?
That chain blocking the parking entrance 🙂

I have to say, where in the world can you meet people from 10 different countries every day, hear their stories, their training history and get to know them in a fun and purpose driven environment. The daily chats I have with people, be it about football, travel, world views or just their own version of business, Dubai and the world we live in keeps me engaged and buzzing. I’ve not had a mundane day here in the last 10 years, that’s both crazy and amazing to say! I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great coaches. Some have come and gone but I’ll never forget the times and ideas we have shared together.

Can you share anything about the new adventure you’re embarking on?
Sure! I’m going to start working at a Polyclinic in Dubai Hills. I’ll be joining a team of Sports Medicine, Manual Therapists, and Physiotherapists to cater for Athletic Conditioning and Performance. Linking rehab with performance is what I do best. Sad to go, but very excited about another learning and growing opportunity to work in a clinic.

What advice would you give someone just starting out as a coach?
I’d say, just don’t overdo it. It takes time to become a good coach, You’ll attract the people you are best able to train, and over time your skills will grow, and more doors will open up for you and you’ll attract the clients whose needs you can fill. Be professional; be consistent; and be nice! But also remember to be a coach; change lives; and value each and every session. Invest in people’s lives because people are beautiful. And one more thing – BE YOURSELF.

Seeing as you are known as Professor Dad Jokes, can you leave us with your best joke?
All I’d like to say is that my favorite machine to use in the gym is and will always be the vending machine.

To our dearest Hannes, we are so sorry that you’re leaving. The gym surely won’t be the same without you wandering around and pretending to be busy anymore! Also, good luck trying to convince your new work colleagues that you’re actually normal, haha! In all seriousness though, we will miss you dearly. Never did the term ‘bittersweet’ seem more fitting! Having to say goodbye to someone who started off as a colleague, but quickly become a mentor, friend and brother to most of us here seems almost unbearable. The idea of no longer seeing you driving your imaginary cars around the gym, being updated with the latest football fixtures, or hearing what interesting things your kids had to say over the weekend are only but a few from a very long list of things we will miss!

However, there is great sweetness that comes with the incredible opportunity that awaits you. We cannot think of anyone more deserving or capable of the role which you are about to step into, and all the lives you will be able to change, enrich and bless with the whole Hannes package!

But I think there is something even sweeter to be mentioned, and that’s the legacy which you leave behind. From all the lessons learned, laughter shared, and numerous unforgettable moments and memories, You will forever and always be a part of the Iconic Fitness family. There’s a saying that goes, “Not all heroes wear capes”, and after meeting Hannes, I finally understand what this means – sometimes they wear incredibly bright and funky socks instead!

Good luck on your new adventure. Stay as weird, wacky and wonderful as you are, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you. Oh, and one more thing, Hannes – may the force be with you!