Welcome to our newest blog feature – Profile. Here we hope to feature some of the faces you’ll see around Harvest City Church and dig a bit deeper into who they are and how they live for Christ in their daily lives.
What was your motivation for going into architecture?
I really enjoyed Art and Design Technology at GCSE and A-Level stages. This stemmed from me making things with Lego, Mechano and Knex at an earlier age. I also promised my mum on my twelfth birthday I would build her a house!
What is the best thing about being an architect?
The best thing is the process of seeing a client’s idea develop and form into a liveable building. I enjoy working with the wider technical team of various skills and using our strengths to complete a project, but staying true to the original specification and delivering it in a timely and economic fashion. The buildings that I help create will last longer than my lifetime and I have a sense of pride in completing something that will be used for generations after me. The ability to work around the world appeals to me, which I have been fortunate to do in the past. I got to see the Queen open one of the first buildings I worked on, which was a great privilege.
What was one of the biggest obstacles you faced going into architecture and how did you overcome it?
Being from London the major obstacle was moving to the Midlands to study. This entailed moving away from my family and friends and study in a new environment, which was very daunting. I had never left home before for such a prolonged period. Learning how to budget effectively and how to pay bills, as I had never done that before. It helped me mature quickly but was an enjoyable period in my life as it shaped me as who I am today. Also my entire working career has been in an economic recession, which meant it proved very difficult to initially get a job at the start of my career.
Tell us about how you got into weightlifting; was there a particular influence that inspired you to take up the sport?
It was something I kind of fell into. I was morbidly obese at an early age and I had to lose weight. I used to go to the gym just to watch MTV Base and sports channels while walking on the treadmill, as I didn’t have Sky TV at home. Once I got to a suitable weight I became more active, playing basketball and rugby. The more I lifted weights, the better the results in the sports I played became. This also helped my confidence level as I became healthier and looked physically better. Working hard at the gym and playing sport enabled me to get into Loughborough University and play rugby for the University which was gratifying; however I started to excel in the gym more than on the field so I made the switch to powerlifting.
What sort of changes did you have to make to your diet and your training routine?
I became an expert in eating (which came naturally to me as it was a reflection of my past!). However, this time I was eating the right foods for nutrition purposes and not for taste. Looking back it was very extreme. Eating 16-18 egg whites for breakfast every day and setting alarms for 3am to eat steamed fish and sweet potatoes to fuel me for the morning gym sessions and having a further 5-7 meals a day became normal. It taught me discipline, focus, and how to prioritise and execute efficiently the task at hand, whether you feel like it or not. Gym was 6 days a week, and I still had to attend technically difficult lectures and complete coursework. It was a careful juggling act and took sacrifices like reducing socialising and becoming mechanised in my university studies and gym routine.
Has your perspective on work and hobbies changed since being a Christian?
I think my past has made me disciplined, hardworking, determined and focused. Whether you have a good day or bad day in life we are all given the same 24 hours. It’s how you choose to use them and what you want to take from it. My parents used to say ‘it’s still a bright day behind the clouds’ which I believe is poignant today in my Christian walk. I think I now have a greater awareness of the impact each of us has on the wider world. I’m more optimistic as a result of my Christian walk.