"Our mission is to make exercise more accessible than ever before."

The concept of Mental Health & Exercise Coaching was envisioned in 2018 by MHEC owner Dan Hancock, back when he was working as a Personal Trainer on the gym floor of a commercial gym chain.

He was frustrated that everyone, coaches, clients and gyms alike, were focussed purely on body image goals, yet no one seemed to be getting any happier, and nobody seemed to want to get to the crux of the issue.

Dan took it upon himself develop a greater level of curiosity with his clients; asking more questions, asking better questions, and discovered that for most people wanting to exercise, body image goals were just surface level reasons for wanting to become fit and healthy. He suddenly realised what people really wanted – to improve their overall happiness, confidence, and self-worth, or in other words, their mental health.

Dan also began to do extensive research on the reasons why more people weren’t exercising and why people were intimidated by busy gyms. He created multiple incentives, campaigns and programmes (all of which were free of charge) in order to help more people struggling with their mental health make it through the gym doors and to be able to experience the endless transferrable benefits of exercise.

But he still faced barriers. People still felt ashamed to talk about their mental health, other PT’s thought that it was out with their remit and gyms thought that it was opening a can of worms, one that they weren’t prepared to open.

With this in mind, in January 2020 he opened the very first MHEC Gym™, which vouched to be a gym for people who didn’t like busy gyms and who had been previously let down by the fitness industry.

He started to piece all his work, evidence and research together, creating the revolutionary MHEC Programme©, that specifically used exercise to develop life skills that could be transferred to every-day life. These skills, tools, emotions, values and traits later became known as The MHEC Exercise By-Products™ and formed an evidence-based method to transform each and every area of a client’s life known as The MHEC Theory™.

Other PT’s were finally starting to see the benefits and started to ask how they could adopt the MHEC methodology, but one day after hours of unfruitful searching for a mental health and fitness qualification, Dan realised that it didn’t exist.

In December 2020, after years of research, practical study and experience, he finalised the certified Award in Mental Health & Exercise Coaching©, which was designed to up-skill fitness professionals to be able to use exercise as a tool to promote positive mental health and get more people moving than ever before.

The programme launched in February 2022 and the MHEC Award has already trained up 300+ Mental Health & Exercise Coaches, making it the industry’s fastest growing movement.

In January 2024, MHEC launched their very own PT Academy, so that they can qualify Gym Instructors and Personal Trainers, educating them from the ground up and raising the standards of the industry.

The all-encompassing combination of The MHEC Gym, The MHEC Programme and the MHEC Academy, means that the mission is only going in one direction.

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3 minute workout for Mental Health

Find out the reason why Mental Health Ambassador for the U.K. Government, Dr Alex, said that MHEC is reshaping the way in which we view exercise.

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A little history...

What is the history of the Award in MHEC? How did MHEC founder Dan Hancock defy all odds to create a world’s first Mental Health & Exercise certification and take the fitness industry by storm? Check out the story here with Dan, MHEC Business Operations Manager Ben Lewis, and Award tutor Danny Williams.

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What does Mental Health mean?

What is mental health? Do we all have it? If so, how can we protect and improve it? This is a must watch video for anyone looking to understand mental health a little better, either for themselves or for a loved one.

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Issues within the industry

Exercise is the best tool to improve our mental health, so why are only 13% of the U.K. population exercising regularly? What are the barriers to exercise and what we can do to help more people fall in love with fitness? This is a must watch for Personal Trainers or anyone looking to start a fitness journey.


A message from MHEC founder Dan Hancock

“Our mission is to make exercise more accessible than ever before, and now that we made huge progress making the U.K. mentally fitter, we have our sights set on the rest of the world.

Everyone knows exercise makes you feel better, but until now there has been a massive disconnect with exercise and mental health – I’m proud to say I have now brought these two worlds together.

It is my life’s mission to make exercise as understandable, accessible, exciting, empowering and readily available as possible, and whether you are a member of the general public or a certified fitness professional, I’d love for you to come on this journey with me and join my team.”