Former Royal Marine, online coach & motivational speaker
In an in-depth conversation with Dave Coleman, former Royal Marine, fitness enthusiast, and founder of C2C Training, we delve into the intricacies of his life's journey – from the formative years shaped by the great outdoors to his current role as a NITE Watch ambassador. Dave's story is a testament to passion, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.
From Childhood to Embracing the Outdoors
Dave's journey into the world of outdoor adventure and the military had humble beginnings. From his earliest years, he gravitated towards the allure of the great outdoors, and sports always beckoned to him. From age eight, he took to rugby like a fish to water. The appeal lay in its raw intensity, the rush of mud and contact, the sheer thrill of getting stuck in.
His early years weren't just about playing rugby; they were about the camaraderie and shared passion that came with it. He recalls climbing mountains with his father, a cherished bonding experience that instilled a deep love for adventure and exploration. As Dave grew, so did his passion for the great outdoors. Beyond rugby, he yearned for more profound connections with nature. Climbing mountains, camping under the starlit sky, running through dense woods became his playground. His adventurous spirit was further kindled when he joined the Marine Cadets, where he learned essential survival skills, went on thrilling overnight missions, and continued to nurture his love for the outdoors.
Dave's insight: "I've always been interested in the outdoors and sports. Playing rugby since I was seven, the love for it, the contact, it's all part of my DNA. Climbing mountains, camping, and Marine Cadets nurtured my love for the outdoors."
Life in the Marines: A Trial by Fire
Dave's fascination with the military, especially the Royal Marines, had deep roots. It was a dream he carried from the age of thirteen. Influenced by friends who shared a similar aspiration, he began to explore the possibility of joining the ranks of the Marines. As he delved deeper into what it meant to be a Royal Marine, he realised that this path was not for the faint of heart; 99.99% need not apply! His journey as a Marine was a trial by fire, marked by moments of extreme pride and harrowing challenges. At the incredibly young age of 18, he found himself in the heart of Afghanistan, serving his country in the most challenging conditions. During his deployment, he encountered the harsh realities of war, facing enemy combatants and the devastating impact of a grenade blast that injured him.
Displaying unwavering resilience and determination despite the immense physical and psychological tole he managed to recover from his injuries and remarkably returned to the front line, showcasing his commitment to the Marine Corps and his fellow soldiers.
However, the trials did not end there; his journey took an even more unexpected turn when he contracted an Afghan flesh-eating disease. This life-threatening illness brought him to the brink, and he was ultimately sent home for treatment and recovery.
Dave's insight: "Joining the Marines represented the ultimate challenge. I was full of self-doubt, but I knew I had to give joining a shot. My time in uniform was a mixture of highs and lows. The sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction was massive, but at times, even though you feel you are the most highly qualified, highly skilled soldier, not being deployed was highly frustrating. My experiences in Afghanistan were life-changing and challenged me in ways I could never have imagined, both physically and mentally."
Civvy to Commando - A New Beginning: Overcoming Challenges and Inspiring Others
Every journey has a destination, and for Dave, his time in the Marines reached its conclusion when no more active deployments were on the horizon.
Dave's remarkable journey is defined not just by his military service and adventures but by his triumph over adversity. Throughout his life, he has grappled with a stammer that challenged his ability to communicate effectively. Speaking in public or standing in front of a crowd became a source of anxiety, even fear. This struggle extended into social situations, giving rise to social anxiety.
Even during his time in the Marines, Dave wrestled with his stammer. Basic training and his entire career were marked by this constant challenge. The idea of addressing an audience was petrifying, and the grenade blast he experienced in Afghanistan added another layer of complexity to his emotional and mental state. And unfortunately, like many ex-service personnel, Dave faced a new set of challenges upon returning home— anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was officially diagnosed with all three conditions, and life took a dark and difficult turn.
In an attempt to overcome these challenges, he made a life-altering decision to move to Australia. It was a leap of faith, a plunge into the unknown, and a pursuit of fresh challenges. However it was far from easy, and although this was a significant period of his life he eventually had to return home.
Then tragedy struck when Dave's close friend, former paratrooper Scott Saron, took his own life. It reignited Dave's struggles with suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and heavy drinking. He found himself trapped in a cycle of despair once again.
In a bid to break free from this darkness, Dave set an audacious goal with some friends: to run an ultra-marathon of 43 miles. Their mission was to raise money for Rock to Recovery, an organisation that supports veterans. Remarkably, they raised over £20,000 pounds, a record-breaking achievement for Rock to Recovery in a single event. This success became Dave's lifeline, providing a glimmer of hope and a new purpose.
Dave's newfound focus led him to reconnect with dreams of starting his own business but he struggled to identify the right path. Listening to a podcast, he stumbled upon a pivotal question: "What do you know that not many other people in the world know?" He realised that his unique background as a Royal Marine could be leveraged to create training programs that would help aspiring Marines and fitness enthusiasts alike. With years of unofficially assisting individuals in their Marine preparation, Dave decided to transform this passion into reality – and thus, Civvy to Commando (C2C was born.
As a bi-product of C2C, Dave also uses his mental health journey and his struggles with a stammer to inspire and help others. He now embraces public speaking, a feat that was once unthinkable. It's an endeavour he not only enjoys but anticipates with excitement. The sense of accomplishment he derives from speaking in front of an audience is immeasurable and a testament to his resilience.
Dave's insight: "The key to me truly overcoming my depression and PTSD was simply starting to speak to someone. I managed to get talking therapy through the NHS, and it literally saved my life. I don't know how it's like a magic trick, but just speaking to someone, offloading it all, and educating yourself on why you feel like that, it literally does save lives."
Future Plans for C2C
Dave's vision for C2C Training is grand, ambitious, and driven by a desire to make a lasting impact. He envisions expanding his training programs, introducing new camps, and venturing into the corporate world. He aims to inspire and motivate others through public speaking engagements and podcast appearances. He sees a future where C2C Training becomes a force to be reckoned with in the fitness and corporate training industry.
Dave's insight: "I want to push the boundaries, grow C2C Training, and explore new horizons."
Dave's Current Training Regimen
Maintaining a peak level of fitness is a cornerstone of Dave's lifestyle. His training regimen has evolved to accommodate injuries and focus on longevity. Dave now emphasizes bodybuilding-style training, emphasising impeccable form and time-under-tension techniques. He dedicates five days a week to structured workouts, incorporating cardio on most days.
Dave's insight: "My training now focuses on strength, form, and cardio to stay in peak shape."
The Night Hawk - Dave's Watch of Choice
Dave takes pride in wearing the Night Hawk from NITE Watches. This robust timepiece not only appeals to his rugged sensibilities but has proven its mettle through the rigors of his adventures. The standout feature, Tritium illumination, casts a mesmerising glow in the darkest of nights, making it an invaluable companion during nocturnal escapades. Beyond its performance, Dave appreciates the Night Hawk's aesthetic appeal, affirming its unique charm that's hard to deny.
Dave's insight: "The NITE Hawk performs exceptionally and looks incredibly cool. It's a watch I can rely on."
Being a Night Maverick
For Dave, embracing the role of a NITE Maverick resonates deeply. He has always been an individual who treads a unique path, one often less travelled. Whether on the rugby field or in life's pursuits, Dave's inclination is to challenge the status quo and pioneer new horizons. Being a NITE Maverick is an embodiment of this spirit. It means relishing the freedom to do things differently, to push boundaries, and to embrace excitement and innovation in every aspect of life.
Dave's insight: "I've always been a bit of a maverick, and being a NITE Maverick means thriving on that uniqueness, supported by a brand that shares my spirit of adventure."
Dave Coleman's remarkable journey reflects not only his individuality but also his unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries and embracing the unknown. His story resonates with NITE Watches' ethos of "Proven Through Passion," and he embodies the spirit of a NITE Maverick who thrives on the extraordinary.
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