The Kilted Coaches: Who are they?

Bee Tragoolpadetgrai meets The Kilted Coaches to talk exercise, Joanna Lumley, and going ‘full Scottish’.

FOR Stephen Clark and Rab Shields, the duo more commonly known as ‘The Kilted Coaches’, popularity came from doing workouts in the Scottish wilderness and embracing their heritage.

They have recently released a book called The Kilted Coaches: How to stick to the damn plan, and were presenters on weight-loss TV show Secret Body.

But who are these two kilt-clad gymgoers who have graced our screens and changed the way people perceive personal trainers?

The two have been friends since their paper round days.

I met them on a sunny day in Edinburgh’s Inverleith park. It wasn’t hard to spot them – from a distance, I could see two people waiting by the duck pond wearing kilts.

“We’re more like brothers now”, they told me, answering questions with neither of them interrupting each other. It was natural and relaxed.

It wasn’t always like this though.

Shields described that, before becoming The Kilted Coaches, they were trying to approach personal training and life coaching in a very different way.

“We were trying to be clean cut and suits,” he said. This held them back from showing their personalties.

They showed someone they worked with a video of them in suits and being “clean cut”.

Their response was, “Well, you can’t get over the fact you’re Scottish”, and that they should embrace it.

They took that advice, and went in quite a different direction.

This meant wearing the kilt and going “full Scottish”, which allowed their audience to see who they really were.

“The minute we put on our kilts, we were just having fun,” Shields said.

The Kilted Coaches

Not taking themselves too seriously

That “fun” was well received and, as their social media presence grew, more opportunities began to appear.

They became presenters on Secret Body, which was released on the BBC earlier this year, and also appeared as guests on Joanna Lumley’s show, Home Sweet Home: Travels in My Own Land.

The pair described being recognised as quite a surreal experience.

But – despite working with A-listers, being presenters on a TV show, and having more than half a million fans on social media – they are still not used to being recognised when they are out and about.

“We got recognised seven or eight times, and we were like really? This never happens.”

This is partly due to the fact that a lot of their fan base is in America, boosted by the novelty of two Scots wearing kilts.

As the pressure of looking a certain way continues to rise, Shields and Clark think the health and fitness industry is still in the “dark ages”, “demonising fats, demonising carbohydrates still, and even demonising alcohol and takeaways”.

Shields and Clark think that getting instant results – something people expect – just isn’t possible.

“It just takes time, they’re not fast results, whereas everybody thinks it’s got to be now, now, now.”

It’s refreshing to see a less-serious approach being taken. They have helped hundreds of people to lose weight and become fitter.

You can see how the pair have grown to have more than half a million followers across their social media platforms.

I didn’t feel the sudden urge to run up and down hills after our chat, but I did feel inspired by their approach and maybe I was slightly surprised.

Actually surprised is not the right word – I was glad that they were not pretending: what you see is what you get with them.

Two people into being healthy, but still having a good time and being realistic about challenges and stresses people face, day-in day-out.

You might think it’s silly – I know I did – but sometimes being silly isn’t such a bad thing.

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