True Strength Comes From The Heart claims Teesside PT


From the depths of despair to the heights of health & fitness

“True Strength Comes From The Heart,” is the well-versed motto attached to the self-employed fitness regime of Andrew Burton Personal Trainer. 

(One of Andrew Burton’s primary inspirations, someone with whom he looked up to and respected in equal measures, was his father-in-law, Tony Locke. Tony, a former journalist, passed away at the beginning of April and was well-respected and known throughout the industry with the Evening Gazette saying “Such was Tony’s talent, he easily took the newspaper industry’s transformation from “hot metal” to full page computer design in his stride, becoming the Hartlepool Mail’s head of design.

And despite only working for The Gazette’s sub-editing team since 2013, his wit, warmth, knowledge and journalistic skill quickly made him a popular and respected presence in the newsroom.” 

Tony, like Andrew, would have been proud that Middlesbrough have reached the play-off final where they’ll play Norwich City on Monday 25 May and his former employers at the Hartlepool Mail said: “Such were Tony’s gifts, he transcended the changing times of the newspaper industry from ‘hot metal’ to full-page computer design effortlessly and progressed to become the Mail’s Head of Design.” 

Not only is Andrew proud and honoured to have him as his father-in-law and inspiration, Tony leaves behind a loving family including Andrew’s wife Hannah and his sister-in-law Zoe and some of what comes below is testament to that inspirational guidance in which Andrew Burton has been afforded.) 

However it is adversity that has been the challenge everyone comes across at least once in their lifetime and, for Teesside sportsman, Andrew Burton, he has used overcoming his adversity with the strength in heart.

To know him you wouldn’t think there was anything underlying, but to know him well you soon realise not only the serious nature of what he has overcome, but also the way he turned it all around to benefit others.

The confidence and motivation of a footballer once rejected as a professional is something which sat for some time, then, during a competitive cup fixture a few years ago things took a threatening turn for the worse.

The occasion was the third qualifying round of the FA Cup when his then team, Norton & Stockton Ancients faced FC United of Manchester in late 2010 and lost 5-2; a club record attendance of 1,526 was set but for ‘Burto,’ and those close to him, the afternoon was remembered for many other reasons.

For the former Billingham Town, Consett and Norton defensive-midfielder it was definitely a life-changing incident, one which he willing opened up about.

He said: “I can still remember very little of the actual event but know that I blacked out twice in as many weeks afterwards as well as after the implantation.

“Eventually the medics found an extra pathway where there shouldn’t be one which hindered me massively and held me back for a good three to four years really. I only received the all clear about six months ago and, looking back, I feel now as though I pushed everything too much both mentally and physically, even to the point of getting panic attacks and not wanting to leave the house.”

Everything changed in an instant for the then 27-year-old. With that on-field collapse Andrew had to re-evaluate and readjust, fast. But it was that sudden realisation that had him and his family seeing that not only was something wrong, but something needed to happen for the better.

Having fought to get himself back on his feet the footballer never gave up and now lets his mind as well as his feet do his talking, his strength at heart has shown no bounds. And, with the support of those around him, the solidarity shown within both the changing room and the living room, has turned things very much on its head.

He added: “The device that was implanted was a loop recorder but it has been removed 6 months ago as the procedure I had which was a catheter ablation corrected the problem.

“The name is too long to say so heart arrhythmia will be enough. The main thing for me was more what I went through afterwards with the anxiety and panic attacks etc.  Beforehand though everything was going at something like a hundred miles an hour.

“I also took a big risk when I left my job at Stockton Town to join Tees Active in 2011 which was only a casual role as well to begin with; I’m still very fond of the people at Stockton Town and I recognise the benefits of being there so I could, one day, find myself back there.

“I then did a personal training course at Middlesbrough College which helped me towards taking what was, essentially, a gamble. I’ve always wanted to run my own business but the health issues I’ve had were a constant hindrance so I was over the moon when that clearance finally arrived. I knew I could do the footballing side, but you only live once and I’m at the age now where I’ve got a lot of hunger and a clear head, I’ve got a lot of ideas with which I’m looking forward to go ahead with.”


FullSizeRender (1)


In the two and a half years he has been at the Motif8 Stadium his appearances may have been limited with around sixty to his name since his July 2012 arrival. Appearances withstanding he is a Stockton lad and that adheres him to the Synners faithful.

Whilst there help was enlisted from Synners’ Lee Tucker, the joint manager providing support when needed and giving his player a sight of the future. Andrew continued: “(Lee) Tucker gave me a great book a few years back now that I never actually got around to reading until recently and that has helped me massively.

“I was always interested in the fitness side and, with all that has happened, I missed that massively so being able to go back to the gym and reading a lot on philosophy and fitness has led to a big change in my career.” 

Having got that personal trainers badge and moved to the Lifestyle Fitness Centre in Middlesbrough it has been all systems go for the now 32-year-old athlete who combines playing time with gym time, and helping others to either reach their best, or to overcome whatever issues hamper their lives also, it’s his way of paying back those that have been there.

It is that which keeps him motivated and he added: “I’ve only been working self-employed for around six months or so but it’s been very enjoyable and I’ve loved every minute of it although I never switch off it’s a great thing for me now.

“I’ve been working with the likes of Nathan & Dale Mulligan, John Alexander, Darren Mowbray and other Northern League players so we have been having some great banter; I’ve also been working with people who have been fighting personal battles, health issues, even family members so that is wonderful in itself.  

“For me though there’s always plenty of opportunities whether it’s conditioning footballers or helping people with mental health issues, that’s definitely something I’m interested in and I’m constantly learning, studying, and building a reputation.”

Whatever is next for the thirty-something Boro boy will definitely revolve around two things – fitness and giving something back.

“Moving forward, I want to be able to help charities, something like MND (Motor Neurone Disease), and cancer charities.

“I’ve met a lot of good people over the past few years so I’m looking at giving something extra back. There have been a lot of inspiring people and stories along the way, people like Ann Clay. So, to begin with I’m aiming to do the Great North Run, I want to be able to do that with Ann and be able to stick to a specific charity whilst doing so.”

In addition to adding further detail to his website there’ll be a YouTube channel starting in a few weeks where you can see training videos, nutritional health videos and so on.

You can follow Burto’s progression on Facebook or Twitter @andrewburtonpt





About petermannwriter

Freelance (Sports/Music) Journalist

Posted on 17/03/2015, in Charity & Sports, Features, Football, Non-League and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: