Williams gets business-like

Like many young Caymanians, Alton
Williams got into sports for the thrill of competing. Now he’s using sport to
propel him into business.

The George Town native is the owner
of Island Physique, an outdoor personal training company which officially
launched early last month. The company offers a variety of workouts aimed at
weight loss, muscle toning and maintaining general health.

Williams, 26, said the company
comes out of a need to change Cayman’s obesity problem and its sports culture.
“We have a beautiful island, and my attitude is why not work out there? At the
same time I want to get the youth better in sports and raise the standards of
local athletes.

“No one in Cayman is doing youth
fitness. Look at Jamaica, the US and Canada. They have youth training in place
to develop kids, so I chose this route versus regular personal training. With
the kids I also see an epidemic with obesity and I wanted to change that. By
and large, at 18 kids here are trying to get serious in sports and by then it’s
too late. I think Cayman is too relaxed and there is not enough pressure to
excel in sports.”

At this point Williams has a small
clientele list of 10 people and he trains the group throughout the week. He
uses a lot of portable equipment like medicine balls, vertical jump testers and
an agility ladder (all of which he personally financed). In the last four
months he has earned certifications from New York’s National Amateur Body
Builders Association, Florida’s Agility Training Institute and the Cayman
Islands Red Cross. Interestingly, Williams is friends with local sports fitness
entrepreneur Andrew Ford (another young Caymanian who went into business this
summer).

“Me and Andrew have known each
other the last four years from King’s gym where we worked out. We both had
ideas of doing personal fitness as a business. He did his thing and branched
out and now I’m doing my thing.”

With workout times and schedules
dictated by clients, Williams often is busy offering his personal training
services from as early as 5am to as late as 10pm. It’s a miracle he has time to
work a 9-5 job as a claims officer and part-time staff member of Anytime Fitness
in Camana Bay, be a husband to Donette Hyre-Williams and keep his presence in
sports alive.

Williams has links to four of
Cayman’s primary sports – basketball, athletics, netball and football. Last
summer he played in the Cayman Islands Netball Association mixed league and
this spring he played for the Rock Hole Fire Ants in division two of Cayman’s
national basketball league. The former Under-14 national team footballer was a
key reason why the Fire Ants barely lost a promotion to division one to the
Derek Bogle Insurance Warriors. As the son of Judith Douglas and Alton Williams
Sr says, it was a great season on the court.

“Growing up, my idols were track
star Maurice Greene and Michael Jordan because they were the best and
recognised as the best. I wanted to be the best locally in all the sports I
did, and with basketball I was known for my shooting. I’m short and I knew I
had to stand out somewhere.

“However, I didn’t play basketball
for the last four or five years until Gordon (Solomon) asked me to play for
Rock Hole. In the first couple games I was scoring and I saw I had some skills
left. As a team we had little training yet we knocked out Digicel in the first
round. Even though I had a sprained ankle, I was proud of the fact we made it
to the finals. I mean from 0-5 to a finals contestant – who would’ve expected
that?

“As for the final, well, Darryl
Paddyfoot and Bruce Thompson gave us problems because containing and defending
them was hard as a team. It was hard to stop them.”

Williams had a chance to be a
semi-professional sprinter Down Under but was set back due to injury. He said
that was one of many setbacks that spurred him into setting up a business
catering to sports-minded individuals.

“I had a chance recently to run
semi-pro in Australia but I had a hamstring injury which stopped me from
performing at a high level. I tried to get an athletics and a basketball
scholarship and that didn’t work. My goal was to be a professional athlete but
the chances here are so small. Everyone else had an individual sports performance
coach.

“I’ve been into sports from my
school days and it has been my thing from day one. Sports have been so useful
for me that I wanted other people to see the same usefulness I saw. If you
expect great things, you have to prepare for them, and that motto goes into
everything I do from sports to business.”

For more information call 929-6615 or e-mail [email protected]

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Williams loves training outdoors.
Photo: Matthew Yates
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