A metre from Mayweather...
If you follow our Instagram or have heard of the fitness brothers Niko Algieri (me) and Jay Brockway then you'll have seen the 6ft 5inch frame of the younger brother stomping through the studio commanding perfect technique and ultimate fitness.
I was stood next to Jay at a Gala event in the Hilton Park Lane last Thursday evening as Floyd Mayweather, possibly the greatest boxer ever and one of his hero's walked a metre from Jay towards the stage and it dawned on me. I know what Jay had been through to get here and I think everyone else should know. You've all seen the super fit, extremely knowledgeable and talented article. But there's a truly special back-story that makes Jay Brockway an even better trainer than you already think he is.
Let's talk about me first. I was always physically talented, the best at everything in school, winning all athletic events, being in every team, basically a jock. I was also an academic with everything I wanted in life there to take. I was confident, intelligent and a bit of an arrogant git. Noooooooo you say? I was. So that's Jay's older brother. Not a worry in the world and an easy life.
We come to Jay. Born from a different father and 10 years my younger. My best mate from birth but vastly different in character and attributes. As a child, he was extremely nervous and reserved, tubby until 15. And throughout all of his childhood I watched my little brother go through hell. An undiagnosed dyslexic, struggled through school to the point where it made him sick with stress and the intense fear that he'd be asked to answer the most remedial of questions that he wouldn’t possibly know the answer to. School to Jay was prison. It gave him acid reflux, and made him constantly angry, frustrated and fearful.
I imagine there's a few people who can relate to this story and that's why Jay is an inspiration in many ways. So having dragged himself through school we decided as a family that leaving at 15 was the best idea for him. Sometimes academia isn't the way for all us. So he started working for his father's construction business. Happy being outside and working with guys who would never judge him, only embrace. An honest days work is what he learned.
Alongside all this Jay had grown from a puny little boy to a 6ft5 athlete almost overnight. An accomplished semi pro footballer, strong but not yet fit. When I think of how he developed I think of Conan the barbarian on the wheel of death growing from a boy to a warrior. Anyway...
So Jay spends 4 years working on a building site toiling everyday shoveling, moving, lifting, driving and sapping his life energy. This next part is what I like to think he got from me, ambition and drive, because one night I'm in central London, drunk, and I get a call...
"Nik, I'm drunk in town, sitting on a step eating a kebab. I can't do this anymore. I can't live in this town working as a labourer."
"Right. Pack your stuff and come live with me for a few months and watch me train people. Shadow me. See if you think it's something you'd like."
So Jay moves to London and watches his older brother work across a bevvy of various clientele. He absorbs and loves it. So we decide that a career in personal training is the way forward. As you’ve read above, this is by no means an easy decision for Jay who must face at least 3 exams to become insurable as a PT. The struggle, the stress I watched him go through on this was reminiscent of his school days and it hurt to see. He ends up failing the exam twice purely through mental block and exam stress.
This is where I learned the steel in my brother’s psychology. Nowadays, he will NOT give in. Yes he felt sick, yes he felt dumb, but he went back to that exam until he passed, the same thing with his CrossFit Level 1. He kept on going until he made it. Staggering.
So he becomes a personal trainer and starts plying his trade at Bootcamp Pilates the same as me. I remember walking in to watch one of his first classes and knowing right there and then this boy has got it. Of the millions of PT’s in the world only 5% out there are any good. There is a frightening amount of rubbish out there at the moment masquerading as talented because they have a six-pack. They won’t come near Equilibrium…because they know that we know. We’ll come to them very soon.
He leaves Bootcamp in exactly the same amount of time that it took his older brother, 16 months. There are trainers who have stayed there for close to 10 years who still rely on the regular income from it. Jay excelled and left to advance.
He taps into his Mother’s personality, his Father’s grit, and his Brother’s ability to read people and basically becomes the most naturally talented personal trainer I’ve ever seen. It all stems from his childhood and his life. He has HAD to work hard at everything so it comes through in his own training and his clients'. My clients are good; Jay’s clients are truly unbreakable.
At 24 years old, Jay has his own fitness studio in Holland Park, Equilibrium. Its rise seems to be like Jay, unstoppable. He is now starting to attract professional boxers and former World Champions. It’s a pleasure to watch.
So you see, the roles reversed. Jay became a hero of mine, as I’m sure I am of his. But the point of this blog is this...
…Work hard, fight for something you love and you can get to where you want to be, physically, mentally, financially. An obstacle is something you can move. Jay picked his up and threw it through the wall.