Sport runs through our city, with Liverpool renowned for its fearless scousers and never give up positive attitude. It runs deep through the city streets, and one person who gives it their all to the place they call home is former MMA Fighter – Mark Scanlon.
With a career already carved out in the sporting industry, Mark wanted to give something back to his beloved hometown.
We caught up with Mark and talked about his latest venture that’s having a healthy positive impact on the city and how people can get involved in keeping active both physically and mentally.
With a previous career as an MMA fighter, at what age would you say your love of sport and being active begin?
My fitness journey started when I was around seven years old and I started watching all the old Rocky movies. I asked my mum to buy me a punch bag and some gym equipment for Christmas and she bought me an old canvas punch bag and a rowing machine.
Ever since then I’ve always practised some sort of physical sports whether it be football, weights training or martial arts. I discovered Mixed Martial Arts around 20 years old and went on to become a professional fighter not long after. As my ability increased, I regularly visited Brazil and the USA to seek out the best training possible.
After an anticipated wait, your latest venture Awake Liverpool is now open, the studio offers free yoga sessions to young children, what motivated you to offer the sessions?
The concept behind Awake is to create a centre to help support and educate the people who visit us in ways to improve all areas of their lives emotionally, mentally, physically and even economically. A lot of people’s attention these days is on how different chemicals, foods and things we consume from outside of our body can attribute to causing physical illness and disease but I believe there is not enough advice or information available to people on how the thoughts we think and the state of mind we live in from day to day is actually the largest cause of illness on the planet.
We want to not only educate people on the importance and benefits of taking care of your mental/physical wellbeing but also provide a solution. We understand how living in a state of stress, depression, anger or anxiety effects not only your mental state but also your physical body and can be the cause of illness and disease. When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or angry, these negative emotions release chemicals in your brain and your body goes into a state of survival which in turn weakens your immune system and reduces brain function. The effects of this can be detrimental to your health.
We want to help people live a healthier life both physically and mentally through adopting practises that will make them happier, stronger and healthier. Ultimately, we want to help save people’s lives because without realising people are creating physical sickness in their bodies through living in a state of mental distress. We want to provide classes for people to help them develop themselves physically and mentally and in general live a healthier better quality of life.
Awake focuses on promoting inner peace, health and wellbeing to both adults and children, do you feel this is something that needs to be spoken about and promoted more in the city?
I do… If you want better, you have to become better and that all begins with yourself. Every city needs a place like Awake. We focus on people’s overall wellbeing through meditation, mindfulness, physical fitness and yoga, which is something that many don’t invest enough time and energy into. We’re providing this service and making it so easy for people to access it, and it’s perfect for anyone who wants to better themselves and take care of their mental and physical health but isn’t sure where to start. I love my city and want to support the people of Liverpool to become the best version of themselves.
We’ll also provide daily free sessions for children as a lot of parents can’t afford extra-curricular and additional activities for their kids and so we’ve created a sustainable business model where Awake’s adult classes generate enough income to allow us to provide a children’s timetable totally free of charge. Awake is so much more than just a fitness or yoga studio, we’re also providing complimentary workshops and talks on business, diet and nutritional advice, psychology with the intention to make Liverpool a better place by providing all the necessary tools and skills to adults and teaching children the importance of taking care of their mind and body from an early age. Teaching positive values, principles and disciplines whilst children are young will hopefully give them the opportunity to become better people as they grow up.
You have also recently been running free ‘Ultimate Mornings’ classes on Crosby Beach with Martin Bone which has seen hundreds take part, what inspired the idea and what has the feedback been like?
Martin Bone had been hosting meditation and a dip in the sea on Crosby Beach for some time and I came on board to lead the circuit training to create the Ultimate Morning.
Many successful people swear by getting up at 5am, or earlier in the morning, to add extra hours to their week. We created the Ultimate Mornings to give everyone the chance to have a great start to the day, create structure and help them start their days in a positive way.
A lot of the feedback has come from people previously feeling anxious, depressed or lost at times and by encouraging them to have a good morning routine and giving them time to work on themselves through meditation and fitness training, it’s been helping them set the tone for their day and putting them in a good place before 8am.
With people particularly feeling lost and unsettled due to Covid and lockdown, the Ultimate Mornings have provided structure and routine that people have been craving. The feedback has been incredible and many are still contacting us each day to say that from taking part they’re feeling much more positive mentally and that we’ve inspired them to start their fitness journey, try meditation or start working on themselves.
Lastly if there was one piece of motivational advice you could give to adults and children what would it be?
My go-to saying is ‘Win Your Morning, Win Your Day’ because if you get up a little earlier, it gives you that extra time to work on yourself so that you can become the best version of yourself.
You can dedicate that extra time to adopting healthy habits like fitness, meditation, studying and planning to help be more organised with your time and I still receive messages daily from people thanking me for this advice and how much it’s transformed their lives by creating a set routine which allows them to dedicate time to self-improvement. Many people go to work all day and some have children so it’s easy to get caught up with life in general but by getting up early you’re creating extra space in the morning to commit to focusing solely on yourself, enabling you to take that positive mental attitude into the rest of your day.
For further information visit www.awakeliverpool.co.uk