Old Aylesburian Of The Week – Chris Djuric, fitness entrepreneur

Two interviews in, and the O.A Of The Week feature is already showing the diverse directions taken in life post-AGS. From BAFTA-winning wordsmith Andy Riley, to gym entrepreneur Chris Djuric. Chris (Lee, 00-07) is a relatively recent leaver and is already making a name for himself in the fitness industry. He has taken charge of gyms in Banbury, Leighton Buzzard and Liscombe Park, and is about to open 5 more in London.

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Hi Chris. What were you like as a student in your days at the school?

I’d like to think that I was good, but some of my teachers might say otherwise! I wasn’t the most academically gifted, the beginning of my AGS career was a lot of D’s and E’s. But after I got some terrible predicted grades for GCSE I managed to turn it around and started working really hard. I came out with A’s and A*s, that was as much a shock for me as everyone else! I kept up the work at A-level and got straight A’s, so it all turned out ok in the end.

What are your memories of AGS?

I have really positive memories of my time at the school. I always really enjoyed the place and had a good time here; it’s a sporty school and I love sport, so it suited me perfectly. I played a lot of football and tennis, and they tried to convince me to take up rugby but I managed to resist.

How has the school influenced your career since leaving?

 I definitely learnt my work ethic at the school. I am where I am now because of the amount of work I put in, not because of a natural ability. That was very much developed here, mainly because I wanted to prove the predicted grades wrong.

Did you have any favourite teachers?

I have fond memories of Mr Barrie, who was our football coach. His tactics were…interesting, to say the least, but it was always entertaining.

What were your goals when you were at school?

I left school with absolutely no idea of what I wanted to do. It was something that I used to panic about because I just had no plan. I’ve always been driven, I’ve always told my parents from a young age that I was going to earn millions of pounds, and they normally just told me to shut up! I’ve always dreamed of being successful, but never had any idea of how I wanted to do it.

Where did you go after you left the school?

I went to Loughborough, for the sport, and studied Business Management, hoping that it was a way to make some money. When I left there I thought about Management Consultancy, and had job offers from a couple of big firms, but I knew that I’d just get too bored and it was not what I wanted so had to turn them down.

How did you arrive in your current career?

After some time off I came up with the idea of opening a gym, simply just from working out at Uni, thinking it looked pretty easy and fancying my chances. I ended up going along to a franchise meeting, and had the keys to a gym 4 weeks down the line.

The place I took over in Banbury was really struggling. I had one member of staff because I had to sack all the others, and worked 6am-10pm every day for a couple of months doing every the job. I turned that around and made a bit of a name for myself, then took over at Liscombe Park and Leighton Buzzard too. Now I’ve just signed a contract to open 5 more in London, so there are a lot of demands on my time. Better to do it while you’re young, hopefully I can retire early!