7 tips for a happy and healthy life from a 71-year-old personal trainer

Edward Diget has been a stuntman, martial artist and represented England at the Commonwealth Games - but he's not one to push away a plate of fish and chips

From working as a stuntman to representing England in the Commonwealth Games, 71-year-old Edward Diget has lived life to the fullest. 

Despite being in the eighth decade of his life, Diget is working as personal trainer at DW Fitness with current clients including a heavyweight cage fighter, a South Africa rugby player, British gymnasts and competitive body builders - to name but a few.

In 71 years, Diget spent over half of that time weight training, and over half a century studying martial arts. 

During this time, he literally fell into becoming a stuntman as he shot an advert for Levi’s jeans. When the horse he was riding stumbled, Diget was thrown into the air but was able to land on his feet and jump back into the saddle in one swift movement. Naturally, as word of his agility and strength spread, less spontaneous stuntman gigs followed.

And in 2010, the Shaolin Warrior Monks of China awarded him the ranking of Master. Two years later, he was officially recognised as a Kung Fu Master by the World Martial Arts Organisation.  

So, what is his secret to mind-boggling levels of willpower and discipline? 

Stop finding excuses not to be active


"I have always been an outside person," says Diget.

Over the course of his life, he always made time to train despite having a commercial career, he says.

"I found time to look after myself all these years – I did not make excuses to myself, why I could not find the time. I enjoy exercise although I have had and still do have my 'off' days."

Do what you love most – and ignore negativity 

Diget says he has always practised three disciplines: fishing for solitude and relaxation, weight training to rid him of aggression, and martial arts for focus.

"If at all possible, do what gives you most pleasure regardless of what that is. If you are lucky enough to have a wife or partner, share this with them. This mind set keeps you alive, looking forward to the time you have set aside to indulge."

"Do not listen to others who ridicule you for doing what you find a pleasure - it is your life not theirs."

Keep life varied 

The 71-year-old says we are spoilt for choice with the variety of activities we can do compared to 15 to 20 years ago. 

He stresses not being afraid of trying new things. 

"Unless you try, you will never know [if you like something], will you? It is like different foods, if you do not try them how do you know you do not like them?"

"Many people have no idea what to do to maintain their health, so try simple things like swimming, walking."

"One of my Chinese Masters stated, 'It is not the end of the journey that is important it is the starting of it'."

Eat simply 


There is “no need to get technical with food”, Diget stresses, and says he only monitors what he is eating when he is taking part in a competition. 

"I hear a lot of sport scientists telling people to eat so many milligrams of this and so many milligrams of that. I say, unless you’re going to compete, keep it simple."

"My rule of thumb is the days you train, eat approximately 70 per cent protein and 30 per cent carbohydrates. You need the building blocks to repair the work you’ve done [through protein]. The day prior to your workout, you reverse it as you need the fuel to get you through your training.

"Also, remember that people like [former middle-distance runner] Roger Bannister never had fad, high-protein foods, and they were world champions."

So, what does Diget eat?

"A usual meal at home would be for me, fish or chicken and the occasional steak, with a mixed side salad, and mashed potatoes or swede, carrots, or rice."

But he adds he also enjoys visiting his local Chinese restaurant with is martial arts students, and says "I do have occasional, fish and chips – as I just get a craving for them!"

"For the average gym-goer or average man or woman, I would say that moderation is the key. But, if you crave something, eat or drink it. You will feel naughty, hopefully, for doing so, but the craving will not become an obsession."

"Cravings, after all, make life interesting." 

Ignore fads

The popularity of fitness training has exploded in the past 12 years, says Diget.

"Because of this boom, there are now so many different products and supplements on the market, but you can get all of the same nutrients from ‘normal foods’."

"People have become more aware of how important it is to train, but to me the exercises that we do now are exactly the same as those we were doing in the 1960s - they’re just packaged differently and given fancy names."

Don't be intimidated by a healthy lifestyle

"Why do people find it difficult to improve their health? Answer: they feel intimidated," says Diget. 

He adds that people are bombarded with conflicting information about what to eat and how to train.

Cravings, after all, make life interesting

Edward Diget

"In my opinion, we should make things less complicated so individuals do not fear asking questions about health, especially in a gym environment.

"Successive governments have spent millions of pounds on advertising the importance of getting any form of fitness schedule for individuals, but, you are dealing with people with the basic fear of the unknown."

Remember that everyone is different 

"Each individual must choose a lifestyle that they can accept, and it must be 'easy' as if it is too complicated or needs time to prepare they will find many excuses not to do it," says Diget.