To James Grage, age and injury are no excuse—they're just an additional challenge. Instead of shying away from training hard, James embraces it. Although he's no longer 22 and, as he puts it, his whole body is just "plates and rods," James pushes himself at the gym with a five-day split of cardio in the morning and lifting in the afternoon.
For a functional twist on the traditional weight-training program, he integrates some bodyweight-only exercises. It's a straightforward program that works for him. Having a 3,700 square foot gym at the BPI headquarters doesn't hurt either.
There's something to be said for traditional training, especially when it works. For James, the old-school route has never posed a hurdle. It's a routine that he's been doing for a long time, a routine he enjoys and, most importantly, a routine that's led to results. "My style might be a bit antiquated but, who knows, maybe it'll come back in fashion," James jokes. Whether it does or not, his muscle-building workout is sure to remain the same.
James knows how to give each muscle group the attention it needs without overdoing it. "I'll break up my workouts," he says. "I'll have a back day, a biceps and triceps day, a chest day, and a shoulders, abs, and calves day."
While the basis of his training remains the same, the number of sets and reps has evolved over the years. "When I was younger, I didn't have the injuries," James says. "I could come to the gym, abuse my body; and I would recover, I would grow." These days, he takes a more practical approach. "Really, at this point in my life, my biceps aren't going to get any bigger, my chest probably isn't going to get any bigger, and that's not even my goal now. I like the size I am and I like the strength—now it's just sustaining that and doing it over a long period of time."
Instead of training to exhaustion, James comes in and warms up with a set of 15 reps, then goes down to 12, and then 10. It's what his body is comfortable with and, more importantly, it's sustainable. "Progress is all in the recovery," he admits. "If I can't recover from it, it's pointless."
To James, it's not all about the training program, it's about how you apply it. "It's how much heart you show when you go into the gym," he says. "It's how hard you push yourself out of your comfort zone. It's just like anything else in life—it's the hard work."
His advice: Have a goal and flesh it out. "Find a goal, commit to it, and push yourself," James says. "Dig in and latch onto it. I think that's probably what's made me successful in most things in life."
James' Training Program
Extra: Abdominal Training
15 minutes: mix of Hanging Leg Raises, Ab Wheel, Swiss Ball Crunches, Scissor Kicks on a bench, Weighted Crunch with cable machine using rope grip, and Side extensions