“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”
It is a rare accomplishment to be named The Fittest on Earth, which is the title James FitzGerald earned for winning the inaugural CrossFit Games in 2007.
James is the founder of OPEX Fitness (formerly OPT), a fitness company that offers individualized training and coaching education to members worldwide. He has 20+ years of experience as a coach and practitioner – with a lifelong focus on refining energy system work, teaching nutritional and lifestyle balancing techniques, and advocating best practices for training of other coaches.
We met James at Paleo f(x) and were struck by his talk on aligning fitness practices with long-term lifestyle goals. James has a tangible “it” factor – his passion and dedication are borderline intimidating – and yet, there is something very relatable about his responses to our interview questions.
Read the rest of this Something Significant interview with James Fitzgerald to learn what “significance” means to one of the fittest people on the planet.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got where you are today?
I was a young boy who grew up in Northern Canada – heavily influenced (for as long as I can remember) by fitness, sport, and training. I loved the pursuit of physical potential. This fueled my academic interest in the areas of health, fitness, and sport. I turned my passion into my business and service to others…so I could share what I have learned and pass it on.
Today I live in Scottsdale, Arizona with my wonderful life partner Leighanne and 2 wonderful daughters, Hannah and Chloe. I am the CEO and Director of OPEX Fitness, an international business focused on creating master coaches of fitness and coaching clients who are committed to an individualized online training program.
How has significance played a role in your journey?
Significance means importance to me – or where my priorities lie. Honestly, values and priorities are everything to me. They play a daily role and are a constant thought. Significance attaches me to the reasons why we are here, why we are doing anything we are doing, and what happens when that physical time is done. Things that were significant to me years ago are different now… that in itself is fascinating. The future holds hope and excitement as I wonder what will be significant for me in 40 more years?
Was there a specific moment or situation when you became aware of those things that are most significant to you?
There have been “moments” where the aspect of significance became important to me.
I had some tough injuries in my fitness career, and at each of those times, I realized that when things are taken away or gone, you REALLY see what is significant.
When I come home, see my kids smile, kiss my wife hello, and I have no thoughts about injury… that moment is significant to me!
What obstacles have you faced in your pursuit of significance? How did you overcome them?
I am the leader and ruler of me. I am the only one that has given myself obstacles. I have stepped into many spots in business, fitness, and life that were obstacles towards or against what matters, what is significant, or what is important. In some of these cases I have “failed,” but I have learned from it all.
The connection between all these situations has been overcoming them. I have always looked at the obstacles and asked, “Why are you here?… Where did you come from?… What can I learn from this?” That is overcoming to me.
What is one thing you wish you knew 10 years ago?
Well, if it was 2005 and I could “actually” see into the future and “know,” I would want to know how it feels to be 41 years of age and still consistent in training and competing in fitness. If I knew that in 2005, I’d probably make some more wise decisions on the “push” and style of push in the pursuit of my maximum potential.
What is one hope you have for the next 10 years?
I love that word… hope. My mentor used it often, and each time I hear it or see it, I think it gives insight into why we all may be here. It speaks of future tense, which although exciting can take you out of present, BUT sets up your goals and alignment of those goals.
I hope I continue to find more peace of mind towards the answer to what happens when this is all over. This hope will keep me focused on the continual progress of asking questions, remaining aware, and presenting and seeing more truths in the reasons why things are the way they are.
Are there any books or resources you would like to recommend to our readers?
Any recommendation? Wow that is actually a tough one. Well, if there is one area overall I’d like to make an impact on people’s lives, it is honoring their body and what they have been given and helping them realize it gets less effective over time. Taking care of it can start with my recommended resource, which is a daily journaling of your “activity” towards living a happy life. Journaling is powerful and doing “movement” and body things is powerful for longevity – which can lead to housing awesome thoughts, emotions and mindful things!
If you are interested in examining significance and what’s most important to you, join us in Sedona for our Happy Living Weekend Retreat on August 21-22. Click here to register!
Images via Unsplash & Central Athlete