“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
It’s a great privilege to be able to spend my workdays focused on our ‘3 C’ strategy.
- Creating content that inspires through writing
- Building our community
- Strengthening our connections with like-minded people and businesses
It was my focus on connections that led me to James FitzGerald.
In my next book, Turning Inspiration into Action, I share my practice of paying attention to what inspires me. Asking WHAT you want and paying attention to WHAT attracts you is how you prepare yourself for inspiration to come to you, like a bolt of lightning. As I write in the book:
“Don’t rush. Enjoy. Keep asking the question WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? There’s nothing for you to do except brainstorm with the world around you. Watch for little things or great big ideas that grab your attention. Anything. Explore any opportunities or inspirations that you find attractive. There is a never-ending stream of data and information flowing to you. Pay attention. Get curious. Discover what grabs you.”
That’s how I met James.
While attending his workshop at the Paleo f(x) conference, I was struck by his comments on aligning fitness practices with long-term lifestyle goals. James is charismatic and passionate about fitness. But my ‘lightning bolt of inspiration’ came when he said, “If you want to be hiking mountain trails when you’re 90, you shouldn’t be doing box jumps.”
I can use one word to describe James’ philosophy on fitness: ‘Personalized’.
I’ve experienced his process first hand. Before giving me any advice, he needed to assess who I am and what I want. He asked me about my daily schedule. How did I work? How did I exercise? What did I eat, when did I eat, and where did I eat? What was important to me? Why was it important? What did I plan to do with the rest of my life? He was probing to understand me in the same way a horse whisperer uses specific communication techniques to develop rapport with horses. He said, “Our goal as fitness advisors is to meet you where you are, and build from there.”
Next, James wanted to examine my body. Wearing only my gym shorts, I stood in front of a wall which held a body-sized grid so he could identify differences between my left and right sides. He also asked me to do basic movements so that he could see my body in motion, including push-ups, squats, glute bridges and lunges. This is similar to a horse whisperer’s focus on the animal’s habitual behavior.
With the assessment and examinations complete, James was ready to offer his advice. He wrote out a personalized program for me that he calls his prescriptions.
I was so impressed by his personalized approach, I wrote a post calling him “The Body Whisperer”.
James is the founder of OPEX Fitness (formerly OPT), a fitness company that offers individualized training and coaching education to members worldwide. He has over twenty years of experience as a coach and practitioner – with a lifelong focus on refining the energy system, teaching nutritional and lifestyle balancing techniques, and advocating best practices for the training of other coaches.
I like the fact that James “walks his talk”. It’s clear when you meet him that he prioritizes health and fitness in his own life. I happen to know that he has achieved the rarefied stature of being named The Fittest on Earth, too, the title he earned for winning the inaugural CrossFit Games in 2007.
Our friendship has grown easily, I think, for two reasons. We have both dedicated our work life to improving the health and wellbeing of others, and we share a philosophy of personalization. James’ work at OPEX is guided by his philosophy that a person’s fitness practices should be aligned with their long-term lifestyle goals. He must get to know who you are and what you want (through assessment and examination) before sharing his advice (prescriptions) for improving your fitness.
Similarly, my work is guided by a philosophy that ‘health and wellbeing’ is highly personal. What you want on the journey to your absolute best life may be very different from what I want on mine. Our focus at Happy Living is on sharing our experience rather than advising. We cannot presume to know what is best for your life but we can share what we are doing in ours in the sincere hope that it may be of value to you too. I am very pleased that James will be joining our team of Happy Living Experts so that we can all benefit from the generous sharing of his wisdom.
Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!