A former bodybuilder is enjoying a new lease of life after undergoing life-saving heart surgery.
Dave Christian, aged 31, is the owner of island-wide Next Level Fitness and WomenZone Fitness Centre, in Port Erin, where he and his three staff aim to make people fit for life.
It’s all a far cry from two years ago, when he endured months of fatigue and illness to the extent by the end of a day he couldn’t make it up the stairs without stopping.
Then just over a year ago he faced a 10-hour operation at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital to fix a congenital heart condition, including fitting a new heart valve.
He said: ‘I then spent three and a half days on the intensive care unit with a resting heart rate of 170bpm until they got that under control.
‘Two days after being put on the ward my heart rate went the other way, it wasn’t going above 45 and kept reducing 38,35,28 and on several occasions I actually watched it flatline.
‘Twenty-four hours later I had a pacemaker fitted and things got better quickly, and three days later I was allowed to come home. Even better was this was one week before my daughter’s third birthday and two weeks before Christmas.’
Following the operation he slowly reintroduced exercise and movement with a 30 minute walk per day, gently increasing this over time and as energy levels allowed.
Dave, of Whitebridge Road, Onchan, qualified as a personal trainer after being advised by doctors to stop bodybuilding when his condition was diagnosed in 2006. By February, 2013 he was back teaching his bootcamp, albeit on a scaled back role, at Next Level Fitness.
He then bought WomenZone in July 2013, and the studio has undergone a complete revamp to make it a free movement and functional gym.
Dave described surgery as a ‘massive outlook changer’ saying: ‘I’ve never been a negative person but the surgery has pushed my positivity through the roof. I literally love life, I find new ways to smile every day and find the fun in just about all situations.
‘I shouldn’t be here today, for someone to go through as much as I did at the age of 30 or at any age and not come through the other side smiling then I think there’s something wrong.
‘It’s a second chance at life, it’s a gift that a lot of hard work from doctors and nurses gave to me, I live life as fully as I can as a way to thank them.’
As a result of the medication, including bloodthinners for life, and pacemaker he now has to be careful with his diet and can’t push himself to his very limits, but he said he can still get a really hard workout.
‘I find it quite surreal when I think about all that I’ve been through and what I am now capable of,’ he said.
‘This is why I now aim to help people get moving and living healthy. If I can go through everything I did and come out the other side then I’m certain that there is a healthy option and exercise option for everyone no matter what your circumstances.’