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OutFit Joe Cooper interview : Run Eat Repeat trail running blog
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OutFit Joe Cooper interview

OutFit Joe Cooper interview

Clock19th May 2016

Interview: Joe Cooper of Out-Fit Personal Fitness

Outfit Joe‘ shares his passion for fitness, off-road running and some great routes 🙂

joe cooperJoe, to say you are passionate about health and fitness and well being is an understatement! How did you get into personal training?
Well since a very young age, I remember being an energetic little thing and loved all things sports and activity – especially outside! I was lucky enough to be naturally pretty strong and athletic – and I do remember as a young lad becoming interested in why some people are naturally more physically capable than others. This prompted me to go into the Sports Science side of things when I decided not to pursue a career in professional football. The knowledge that everyone can build on what they have got, inspired me to help others, I really enjoyed it, seemed to be pretty good at it and it’s gone from there.

outfit joe conwy trailsOkay, imagine you’re promoting rural North Wales. Why should we come there to run?
North Wales is wonderfully accessible, and the variety of scenery within relatively short distances is truly world class. The stunning mountain, woodland and coastal scenery apart,  I do believe that a trail run should be also be an education – Wales’ mixture of landscape and interest with regards to human and natural history is unrivalled. Quick example, a 10 mile trail run from the Conwy valley can see you scale a rugged 2000ft peak, run on a roman road into the heart of the mountains, pass a centuries old druid circle right above the coast, and get a birds eye view of arguably, King Edwards’ most impressive 13th century Castle and town walls, at Conwy. What’s more, theres something for everyone here, for those taking their first tentative steps onto the trails or for hardened trail runners who like rugged, technical routes.

What are your 3 favourite routes?
Ah thats tough, there are so many and I’ll tend to avoid repeating runs too much. However, I’ll give you a long day, a 10 miler and a shorty:
1) The Lyke Wake
2) Aberglaslyn Pass and Cwm Bychan
3) Cnicht from Gelli Iago
Cym bychan aberglaslyn pass national trust

Image courtesy


cnicht from gelli lago

Image courtesy

You’ve just helped with a guided trail run for WalkRun Clwydian. What range of people and abilities attended?
Depends on the run itself of course, but I’ll use yesterday’s as an example – 13km of hilly trails from Conwy. We had a road runner who was a first timer on the trails, whilst also having folk there who’d run numerous trail half marathons. There is always a range, even if you’re group consists only of 2 – everybody is different. It’s to me to manage the group effectively so that everybody has a safe, and enjoyable time. The key is knowing the area well, knowing the terrain well and peoples ability to cover it and the also weather conditions must be taken into account.


Excellent to see all-inclusive off-road runs.  What do you love about trail running?
Trail Running is a wonderfully simple, natural way to exercise. We are built to be running around outside. It takes me to wonderful places – beautiful places. I have walked, cycled and ran the length and breadth of the country to an extent and I’m still finding new routes and places to explore through Trail Running. I shall continue to do so until my body doesn’t let me! Then I’ll walk – which I also love! Trail terrain is generally much less responsive than the road of course, so the joints appreciate that and are also stronger because of the uneven terrain that the joint stabilisers are dealing with. It’s a real thorough, mental and physical challenge that anyone can take on and benefit from.

walkrun clwydian 

What other fitness training do you enjoy?
I teach and therefore practice Pilates – I’m convinced its the reason I don’t get injured generally, despite covering around 450km per month on foot. I also enjoy Walking, Cycling, Nordic Walking and some body weight resistance work.

Could you tell us more about OutFit please?
OutFit Personal Fitness Ltd was established in 2007 – I’d spent 6 years working in the industry to some degree already, and after returning to North Wales after successful periods working overseas and in London – it was a good time to settle and establish something going forwards which reflected my belief that exercising outdoors has great benefits. There is an emphasis on quality with what I do – and its certainly not ‘mass market.’ Despite the growth in outdoor boot camps and assault course type challenges, that’s just not me. The group sessions are kept fairly small as I want people to have a personal experience – I want to have time to engage with my clients on each session and address their specific needs to some extent in every single one. These sessions alongside Personal Training, workshops, events and guided activities result in people getting out and enjoying their local environment, whilst improving their health and well being…all positive stuff!
outfitjoe trail running group joe cooper

You’ve helped a tremendous number of people achieve their health and fitness goals. What have you yourself learned through this?
There is always scope for progression to some degree, no matter who you are and what barriers are in the way. The importance of psychology is all of this has surprised me. Mindset is absolutely vital – if somebody truly believes that they can do something, their chances of achievement increase greatly. A lot of my job is instilling belief – giving confidence to people so that they can achieve. This is a fine line – as a trainer I need to inspire my clients to create progress, whilst keeping things achievable, safe and appropriate. I continue to be surprised by the impact I have on people’s lives and it’s staggering what a bit of belief and hard work, can help people do.

joe cooper trail runningWhat has been your own greatest challenge to date?
Trail running wise – probably The Lyke Wake Race 2014 – 42 mile Ultra marathon where the distance wasn’t really the issue. Very hot day, totally exposed to the sun up on the North York Moors. Tough tough work. Felt very rough at 18 miles, doubts were present but very pleased with the way I pulled through, physically and mentally – to finish (relatively!) strongly in 8:58.

What is your own training regime?

I don’t really have anything too structured – as when I’m not working I’m resting, particularly enjoying a young family! I do like a run or walk to relax though, I like to head off to the hills for a trot or maybe something sharper if time is short, but I certainly don’t have anything structured that I stick to – I just make sure my activity is balanced. I enjoy competing in races but just rely on my general fitness levels. Pilates keeps me strong and supple, and injury free! My job keeps me fit so generally speaking, I’m happy with where I’m at, fitness wise.

What are the mind benefits of exercise in your view?
Massive, its now proven. Especially the benefits of outdoor exercise on mental health. It acts as a distraction, gives confidence, enhances social engagement and I see every week people grow with regards to this. For things like general stress and even GAD and mild depression – exercise can really act as a positive treatment, without the nasty side effects of a lot of medications!

3 favourite fuel foods, go:

1. Pre-run: Poached egg on wholemeal toast.
2. During: TORQ Raspberry Ripple energy gel.
3. Post-run: Chilli with Rice.

North Wales aside, where are your favourite places to run UK or abroad?
Domestically, The Lake District – so compact and beautiful – and New Zealand…..just amazing.

What is your favourite bit of trail running kit and why?
My Tiny Sun Head1000pro head torch. Great piece of kit that opens up so many possibilities!

Do you have a mantra?
Whoever you are, whatever your goal, get out there and enjoy the view.

What a way to end 🙂 Thanks so much Joe for sharing your experiences. Hope you really enjoy the rest of 2016 and your company continues to do well.


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