Meet the man who ran the former PM’S fitness campaign

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Meet the man who ran the former PM’S fitness campaign

Liz Truss hired Elliot Espinoza to get her into shape during her time at Number 10

Few would have experienced the kind of pressure at work that Liz Truss did during her short spell as Prime Minister, but that didn’t stop her finding time to unwind with the help of Jewish fitness guru Elliot Espinoza.

North London-based Espinoza trained Truss during her 44-days at Downing Street, typically for 45 minutes, twice a week. He exclusively tells the Jewish News: “When I initially met her, she said that it was her release – the least stressful part of her day. I believe it was just her time to focus on something else.

“She never spoke about her job. I think she liked the fact I’m not so into politics so she could just switch off for 45 minutes and think about something else.”

Espinoza, who has a strong Jewish clientele, last trained Truss on Monday 24 October, the day Rishi Sunak was announced as her replacement. “It was her final morning – she actually seemed a little more relaxed, and at the end of the session she thanked me for everything and said that she had really enjoyed training with me.”

A former pupil at Immanuel College, Espinoza also trained her special adviser Jason Stein – a close friend and client. “I have been friendly with Jason for many years. We used to work together at a sports event company and have been friendly ever since.

“I was training Jason and Liz Truss asked him about me and then asked if it would be okay to set up a meeting to discuss training her.

“I couldn’t really believe it. I thought it was a wind up to be honest! The whole experience was totally surreal and a real honour. Having a parking space in Downing Street, and walking in through the front door for a training session with the Prime Minister is not something I ever even imagined I would experience.” Espinoza says he was more worried about oversleeping than “actually training her”. With a 7.15am session Espinoza would set his alarm for 530am, giving him enough time to get to Number 10 from his Mill Hill home where his studio is based.

“Once I was there, she was just like any other client. She was a little quiet but always very friendly. The final morning I saw her she discussed the fact she was trying to book flights to Israel. She has been before but she wanted to go again.”

What was on her workout playlist? “She had a few requests music-wise. Definitely lots of 80s music, but also Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris too!” As for the exercises, there was a strict no-burpee rule – that’s a kind of squat thrust used in strength training, for those unfamiliar with the term. “She’s an avid runner so she wanted to focus more on strength exercises. And she did not like a wall sit, however they were always involved!”

Passionate about fitness, Espinoza, 35, qualified as a PT in 2013. “At the beginning, like any-other start up business, it was difficult. I spent my days scrolling through social media, messaging anyone and everyone to see if they wanted a trainer. Most people didn’t respond or said no, but I only needed one or two to say yes, and that’s how it all started. From there it’s been word of mouth.”

When Covid hit, he moved all his sessions online. “There was no other option, however it actually worked really well and some clients have stuck to video sessions to this day.” Post-pandemic, he has never been busier, now training on average 10-14 clients a day – that’s some 65 sessions a week.

“More people work from home and everyone’s diary seems to be more flexible, so I can fill slots throughout the day.”

Espinoza believes businesses should be offering their employees free PT sessions in light of mental heath concerns. “So many of us have stressful jobs, and struggle with mental health, so it would be brilliant if companies could get a PT over to train its employees a couple of times a week. It’s definitely something I’d like to get involved with if the opportunity came along. All of my clients say they feel better after a workout. There’s absolutely no doubt that it will improve productivity. It always clears your mind.”

A member of Mill Hill East Synagogue, Espinoza is married to Sophie. Together they have a young daughter, and with a baby on the way he would “love to see more government support for small businesses when it comes to things like taking paternity leave.”

Perhaps he will get the opportunity to ask Rishi, during a wall-sit.

Instagram: @espinoza_fitness


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