Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: Ruling With An Iron Fist Past 40!

Don't interpret James as cocky, enjoy his rare views on bodybuilding, and realize that he doesn't need recognition to justify his hardcore lifestyle!

Name: James Howard
BodySpace: jch1469
Location: Athens, Georgia
Age: 44  Height: 6'2"
Weight: 280 lbs off, 255 lbs contest
Years Bodybuilding: 30 total, 2 competing

How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

I was a large kid with the personality of a peacemaker, raised by my grandparents. My grandfather wasn't a confrontational person. I never saw him raise his hand or voice to another person, including me and my grandmother. I'm not saying he never disciplined me. When I did something that warranted a beat down, he laid down historical whippings (within reasonable means).

James Howard

I grew up in the country and learned quickly that kids will be kids. I got beat up really bad and missed school for two days. It was so bad that my grandfather bought me the Weider bench press set made of plastic and concrete, gave it to me, and said "Work out and never let that happen again. Now go get 'em."

I started working out at age 14, hit the weights religiously, and noticed my body change quickly. Then an iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the scene in Commando. I was blown away. I was hooked and thought I had to look like Arnold. I became obsessed and have been in love with bodybuilding and training since.

My passion for bodybuilding and training led me to my career and I've owned a personal training service for several years. I have 35 clients from all walks of life and can't see stopping until the sun goes down on me forever. But somehow, I think I'll still be hitting the weights then.

James Howard

How Did Your Passion for Fitness Emerge?

There are no limitations. In the weight room, I'm a god. I shape, mold, build, destroy, rip, tear and bring it all back together again. What other athlete can look at their image in the mirror and change their physical form through hard work and dedication? Bodybuilding is the sport of gods. I'm like putty in my hands.

What/Who Motivated You?

I'm motivated by myself. If you look to others for motivation, the well will run dry. You can only find absolute inspiration within yourself. If I don't have an obstacle to overcome, a war to fight, or an imagined enemy to oppose me, I become depressed. To my enemies: salute! Real and imagined, without you, I wouldn't have things to overcome. I love you all.

Where Did You Go for Inspiration?

It's deeper than just bodybuilding. The need to excel and overcome hardship and physical obstacles is a primal human trait. My love for bodybuilding is the vehicle I use to define my passion. What motivates me is hardship and overcoming odds, and beating back the days and nights that eventually claim my life. Most call it age. I find joy in it.

I'm sorry if this comes off as cocky; it's not. I'm a realist. If this engine is running, it's a simple matter of hitting the gas in my head. Those feelings make me angry. You can run out of music, people, and things to temporarily motivate you. It's you against you. I want to survive that encounter and that's my inspiration.

James Howard

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

I'm on the hunt for an IFBB pro card in 2014. At age 44, I won the 2013 Europa Eastern Seaboard Super Heavyweight Men's Open and qualified for nationals. I actually qualified in my first year of competition in 2012 in the men's open and masters at the NPC Coastal USA contest. We elected to forego the rest of this season and prepare for the following contests: NPC Masters Nationals, Team Universe, and the IFBB/NPC North American Championships. Wish me luck!

What Is the Most Important Fitness Tip?

Be consistent! Never give in and never give up. It takes structure, discipline, and sacrifice. If you cannot understand or embrace such a lifestyle, I'm afraid it's not for you.

Who Is Your Favorite Bodybuilder/Fitness Athlete?

Everyone is my favorite; even the guy who never set foot on a bodybuilding stage. To know what each and every one of my brothers in arms has suffered and been through makes them favorites. I leave the decision making to the fans and judges. They all kick ass in my book.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

Bodybuilding.com is directly responsible for the notoriety that provides bodybuilders with a platform to bring what they do and who they are straight to you, the fans. The site has contest news, interviews, event information. The list goes on and on. I find some of the best priced supplements on Bodybuilding.com with helpful and informative reviews. The forums can't be beat for quick advice on any topic.

James's Top 5 Gym Tracks

Gym Tracks

  1. "Mouth For War" by Pantera
  2. "Can't Be Touched" by Body Head Bangerz
  3. "King Kong" by Gorilla Zoe
  4. "Hungry" by Rob Bailey and The Hustle Standard
  5. "Rock & Roll Jesus" by Kid Rock

Thanks: To my coach, IFBB pro Jonathan "Jay" Rowe of Team RFS.