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Former St Johnstone midfielder, Chris Millar, is now enjoying life as a business owner after transitioning from professional footballer to running his own gym, which opened in 2021.

Millar, who won the Scottish Cup with the Saints, co-owns the Fitness Factory in Port Glasgow and highlights how support PFA Scotland during his career, helped shape his ambitions for life off-the-pitch.

“Since retiring, it’s been a constant process” said Millar, “I was always thinking about the next step whilst playing and I done the PT course through the PFA. That helped me realise what that transition into another profession would look like.”

Millar notes that he has continually aimed to progress step by step since making the move into the life of a personal trainer.

“And I think that’s one of the things I’ve realised that if you’ve got an end goal, work your way backwards. We’ve always asked ourselves, what’s next? What can we add to the business?”

The Fitness Factory now sits proudly in his hometown with over 100 members, who Millar says feel part of a larger community.

“We try and create a social environment and safe space for people within the community can come and feel part of something. Which we hope can make them feel far healthier and moving better.

I’ve got a dressing room of people who are my guys, my team. And that kind of replicates what I had when I played football. That’s why I’m always encouraging more players to get involved.”

With the rise of the health and fitness industry, there has never been a better time for professional athletes to transition into a new vocation.

Millar completed his personal training qualifications through The Fitness Group, which is run by current Stranraer manager, Scott Agnew. This qualification allows members to learn both practical and theoretical elements of training and touches on the key ingredients required to successfully run your own business.

“It’s been a real eye opener…” Millar stated, “but I’d say to any young player these days, you have a skillset there by being a footballer that is transitional to another business, another area or workplace.  And I think sometimes, some may not even begin to understand what they’ve tapped into. So I would say anyone who thinks that there may be something new for them to try alongside football, go for it as it’s never too early.”

The Fitness Factory continues to go from strength to strength and Millar highlights that his educational experience, with the support of PFA Scotland, was a crucial period in getting the ball rolling.

“I’ve always been a massive advocate of the Union. The guys were always letting us know about the support which available, always there when you needed them and that was important for me.

It was always a straightforward process when it came to education. Honest conversations and financial aid which is massive. I done a few things over the years and when it came to completing my PT stuff, it just became clear that it ticked so many boxes for me – it was just the first step in getting me to where I am now, as a proud gym owner.”

PFA Scotland members can access support around education at any time of the year. Whether that’s a free one-to-one consultation on personal development, support with courses or qualifications or more help such as CV workshops.

You can get started in just a few clicks by getting in touch with Player Services, Chris Higgins, or Youth and Women’s Development Officer, Heather Richards, today.

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