Bouncing into his basement studio, personal trainer Cengiz (pronounced ‘Jengis’) Dervis is bubbling over with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that only really healthy people have: “I was just in Sloane Square, and I cannot believe the state some people get themselves in! How can you do that to your body?!” The statement is one of sheer fascination, but within those first few moments you get a glimpse of what it is to be one of his clients … no fat here – unmitigated or otherwise.
And what a client list it is: it is probably just as well that this man is not afraid to tell it like it is, because a lesser person might be intimidated by the likes of Rosamund Pike or Natalie Imbruglia, but then with a past life as a championship fighter, who’s afraid of Mickey Rourke?
Today Dervis is a man of many talents – singer/songwriter, actor (currently working on feature film Caring and Killing as one of the protagonists), businessman, and personal trainer. Having started TÉ London personal training, he offers a bespoke service tailored to the individual and takes influence from his martial arts background: “I have learned so much through martial arts – it is all about planes of motion and requires conscious thought, which should apply to all exercise.”
Dervis has much to recommend him – having been a professional athlete himself (he started training at the age of five with his uncle who is a martial arts grand master) he knows what he is talking about and his benchmark for health isn’t exactly mediocre; not only that, but by sheer force of observation and word of mouth he has found himself an on set trainer to the stars, the appeal of his techniques being easy to identify – his methods are not fussy or pandering to fads, it is back to basics and it works – his newly launched app, TÉ 2 U, being a case in point offering different workouts whose only required equipment is your own body weight.
Dervis’s clients range from those who want to lose weight to those who want to compete in marathons and fights as well, so each new client is met with the question – ‘what do you want to achieve?’ But Dervis discourages target weights, citing health as being of paramount importance: “I had a guy who was sixteen stone, and he wanted to be twelve stone. At thirteen, he felt great, but when he went below that he started to look gaunt, and was susceptible to colds all the time – his body was telling him something.”
An interesting juncture in his on-screen career came as the personal trainer on the Channel 4 TV series Super Skinny Me: The Race to Size Double Zero, which saw journalists Kate Spicer and Louise Burke crash diet their way to the Hollywood dream size in a bid to highlight the perilous effects of extreme weight loss: “The show was intended to show people what goes on in your body and the dangers of trying to be that size, but afterwards I was inundated with phone calls from women saying ‘I know it’s really bad, but can you do that for me?’ – they didn’t care about the breaking down and passing out, which is pretty grim. My job is to educate people and to wake them up to who they are – everybody’s different.”
Describing TÉ as a lifestyle company, Dervis is just as focused on what his clients put into their bodies as what they do in the gym: “The best advice I can offer is to drink one and a half to two litres of water a day – it helps you sleep better, helps your brain function – it’s life changing. You shouldn’t cut out carbs, combine them with proteins and avoid thinks like Coke like the plague.”
Of course, the most compelling reason to work with Dervis is that he practices what he preaches: “At the start of the week when I book clients in to train, I book myself in – that time is non-negotiable.” He also has great respect for the body that extends beyond the aesthetic: “both my parents are disabled, so I am aware of how important your health is – why would I abuse the fact that I have two good arms and two good legs?” And this is the crux of his ethos; happy to admit to having the odd kebab and an evening of video games, his perfectionist nature is inextricably bound with an enjoyment of life, and at heart it appears he is still the little boy who started competing in martial arts at the age of nine simply because ‘it’s fun to win things!’
For a chance to win four training sessions with Dervis or one of his trainers, simply book your ideal spa break, and you will be entered into our New Year New You competition!
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