Fitness Instructor of the Year winner – “it’s all about the people”

WITH nearly 20 years’ experience in the fitness industry, it’s no surprise that Ashley-James Ward was named St Helens Star Fitness Instructor the Year 2022.

The 37-year-old personal trainer and fitness instructor from St Helens beat off tough competition from five other nominees with his clients voting in their hundreds.

Ashley-James had a landslide victory in our latest Best of competition with previous category champions including Best for Hair The Secret Halo, Burchall’s, who make the town’s best pies, Envy Nails and Beauty as well as Cinema Bar – officially best pub.

Ashley-James started teaching fitness classes at the age of 19 while he was at university in Salford studying sport science, exercise and health and fitness.

The circuit training and boxercise classes were popular and Ashley-James spent 12 months as a fitness instructor after he graduated before progressing to manager.

But the management side of the industry wasn’t for him – he wanted to focus on his clients and their fitness goals and says he’s “all about the people, not the money and the business decisions”.

He went self-employed with Award Health and Fitness in 2011 and opened his first fitness studio on Lea Green in 2018, which soon became too small and he moved to bigger premises on College Street.

This studio offers spinning and yoga classes and his Merton Bank studio is the base for his personal training sessions, boxercise and bootcamp classes.

Some of Award Health and Fitness’ hardworking clients

Ashley-James said: “When some of my members told me I’d been nominated for this award, I couldn’t believe it.

“It was overwhelming reading all the messages from clients who wanted me to win the award.

“This is my job and I enjoy it but hearing how much people get from their fitness and exercise classes is an added bonus.

“It’s fantastic and the support I’ve received has been amazing.”

St Helens Star: Ashley-James Ward teaching a boxercise classAshley-James Ward teaching a boxercise class

The nominations for Ashley-James came flooding in when we asked for people to say who should make our shortlist for Best Fitness Instructor.

Recommendations said that he is “a really motivated instructor with excellent classes” and “Award Health and Fitness is a brilliant place for all your fitness needs.”

One nomination said: “The time, effort and dedication that Ashley-James Ward puts into the classes is second to none.

“Ash will push you further than you thought possible but the results are definitely worth it.”

Another dedicated client said: “During a bad time in my life, Award Health and Fitness helped in more ways than one with my fitness and my mental health.

“I will always be indebted to him for his true passion for fitness and his personal touch.

“He changed my life from being unhealthy and unhappy to someone who is happy and healthy.”

St Helens Star:

A third satisfied customer said: “These are amazing classes and I am pushed beyond what I thought I was capable of.

“I have improved my fitness and been given great advice as there is always someone available to help.

“I love the classes because I achieve so much more.”

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St Helens Star: Ashley-James Ward and Thatto Heath U16sAshley-James Ward and Thatto Heath U16s


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