How this Tarleton man who was made redundant three times battled a mental breakdown to have his 'Jedi moment'

He was in the middle of a nervous breakdown after losing his dad and being made redundant three times.

By Laura Longworth
Friday, 20th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 5:56 pm
Personal trainer James Calderbank, who owns Transform Hub, with Rob Sephton.
Personal trainer James Calderbank, who owns Transform Hub, with Rob Sephton.

Tarleton man Rob Sephton was 22 stone, prediabetic and abusing his liver when he joined the Transform Hub, a men's gym in Preston Technology Centre, in 2016.

The 51-year-old thanks personal trainer James Calderbank, who owns Transform Hub, for pulling him out of an emotional crisis.

Rob said: "I was made redundant three times, my dad had died and I was going through a divorce. Everything just started to eat away at me. I've always been a positive person but everything went wrong at the same time. It was like someone had flicked a switch and I lost my positive outlook."

Rob (left) and members of Transform Hub picking up James.

The height of his breakdown was in 2015 and by the following February he was prescribed anti-depressants and advised to take up exercise.

"I was massively depressed and had started to lose all hope. I was eating all the wrong foods and trying to drown my sorrows with beer.

"So I joined Transform Hub and met James, whose positivity knows no boundaries," he added.

"James told me, 'Every bad day is actually a good day because you'll make it through it and become stronger. There's positivity in everything and you have to hunt it down.'"

Rob (front row, fourth left) says members of Transform Hub are like a big family.

Commenting on James' advice, Rob added: "The mind is a dangerous and powerful tool. It looks for what could go wrong. So you have to train your brain but unfortunately people give up. A lad from Penwortham hanged himself recently. It's tragic that he thought there was no way out."

But Transform Hub, however, has offered Rob a safe haven full of supportive people who understand his troubles.

"Medication blew my mind like I'd drank a million cups of coffee. But the Hub is like a community. When I joined I was sat with people who'd been through similar things and I felt my anxiety lift," he said.

"This community feel and the sense of achievement that comes after a workout class are just what I need. They are addictive and so rewarding."

Since joining, Rob has dropped from 22 to 16.5 stone and has gained more confidence, as well as the determination to turn other areas of his life around.

"My liver is in good shape now and my smile has come back. I've paid off the majority of my debts, sold my house, bought a new car and I've met this beautiful person with a beautiful heart. I can't believe how lucky I am," said Rob, who now gets up at 4-30am to train.

"I'm motivated by the thought of the lads congratulating each other at the end of a workout, as well as hearing their stories and what they've been through. We've become a big family."

A memory he cherishes is a knock-out challenge that the group completed with the women's group from Transform Hub.

"We cheered for the ladies and it just bonded 60 people instantly. It was almost like a Jedi moment. It was amazing. I can't describe the feeling," he added.

And having bounced back from a breakdown, Rob said he's become even closer to his loved ones.

"I've learnt to respect family and friends so much more because of what I've been through. Without some of my friends, I couldn't have survived. It was a really hard time," he said.

And now this fitness fantastic says he's found a second family in his exercise group, adding: "Sport unites communities. When you work and sweat together, you bond together. A gym is a horrible, lonely place but when you have a community with supportive trainers, it's addictive. It works phenomenally. The mental advantages of chilling with your brothers are indescribable."