Meet the 36-year-old changing Liverpool and its people

There are not many people who can say they're helping transform a city without actually changing its skyline, buildings or architecture.

But, 36-year-old Mark Scanlon is doing just that. His positivity and encouragement is quickly earning him a huge reputation, for all the right reasons.

Hundreds of people first heard of him when he launched his 'Ultimate Mornings' which were held on Crosby beach at 5.30am every Thursday, where he shared his mantra of 'Win your morning, Win your day’ and proved that getting up early and working on yourself can help with your mindset.

However, Mark isn't new to the city, he grew up in Old Swan and is a former MMA fighter, classing stars such as Tony Bellew and Darren Till among his friends.

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Mark Scanlon, MMA fighter and co-founder of Awake self development centre in Old Swan

He said: "The reason why I love the ‘Win your morning, Win your day’ mantra is because if you get up a little earlier, it gives you that extra time to work on yourself so that you can become the best version of yourself.

"You can dedicate that extra time to adopting healthy habits like fitness, meditation, studying and planning to help be more organised with your time and I still receive messages daily from people thanking me for this advice and how much it's transformed there lives by creating a set routine which allows them to dedicate time to self improvement.

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"The message I'd like to get out is to be more optimistic and less pessimistic. Let's look at what we do have rather than what we don't have and generally show more gratitude positivity."

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He has now teamed up with Dianne Atherton, who is responsible for teaching yoga to Liverpool FC throughout lockdown, to open the city's first self-development centre, Awake.

Self-development centre Awake opened in Old Swan two weeks ago. Pictured is Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, DJ Lee Butler, co-owners Mark Scanlon and Dianne Atherton and boxer Tony Bellew at the launch

Awake offers HIIT classes in heated rooms as well as yoga, meditation and free children's classes every week, making it different to other gyms in Liverpool.

Speaking about Awake and the reasons for bringing this new concept to Liverpool, Mark said: "The concept behind Awake is to support and help educate the people who visit us in how to improve all areas of their lives emotionally, mentally and physically.

"We want to educate people on the dangers of living under stress and anxiety; when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed and angry, these negative emotions release chemicals in your brain and your body goes into a state of survival which in turn weakens your immune system reduces brain function.

"This makes you more prone to getting sick and less intelligent. We want to help people live a healthier life both physically and mentally through adopting practises that will make people happier, stronger and healthier.

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"Ultimately, we want to help save people’s lives because without realising people are creating physical sickness in their bodies through living in a state of mental distress.

"We want to provide classes and sessions for people to help them develop themselves physically and mentally. We’ll also provide daily free sessions for children as a lot of parents can't afford extra curricular and additional activities for their kids

"Awake is so much more than just a fitness or yoga studio"

This first Awake studio is based in Old Swan but Mark says this is just the start with the aim of having three centres open by the middle of 2021.

He added: "It’s not just Liverpool which needs somewhere like Awake. We focus on people’s overall wellbeing through meditation, mindfulness, physical fitness and yoga, which is something that many don't invest enough time and energy into.

Mark Scanlon has been teaching others of his 'Win your morning, Win your day' mantra

"We're providing this service and making it so easy for people to access it, and it's perfect for anyone who wants to better themselves, and take care of their mental and physical health but isn't sure where to start.

"I love my city and want to support the people of Liverpool to become the best version of themselves.

"The aim is to have three centres open by the middle of next year and our ultimate goal is to have 500-600 children plus coming through our doors, as well as thousands of adults.

"Awake isn’t searching for the best PTs, we’re actually attracting them and they’re coming to us.

"I feel this is because all of the top PTs have one thing in common – they all want to work on themselves physically and mentally and with Awake being the first actual self-development centre, it makes us unique.

"A big part of being a Personal Trainer is self-development and self-study, it's not just about getting people fit."

Away from Awake, Mark together with Martin Bone, nicknamed the Scouse Guru has helped create almost a community of followers.

The pair were big parts of the Crosby Beach mornings together with Mark Cowell, who many might know from hosting a 40-day litter pick up event.