How did your fitness journey begin?
I was a very picky eater growing up and only wanted to eat macaroni and cheese or pizza. I was the skinny kid who was always told to "get some meat on those bones." My friends and family picked on me because my fragile body couldn't defend itself. I decided to change and started working out at a local gym. I looked up as many details and tips on training and nutrition as possible and used teen bodybuilding videos for advice.
After a month or two, my results began to show and my friends and family noticed more definition in my shoulders, chest, and arms. It felt good to be asked training-related questions. My closest friends were big into training and twice my size, which helped me stay motivated and dedicated to catch up.
When it got to the point where I loved my body, my cousin James McGraw, who's a great photographer, took pictures of me to start my fitness portfolio. My fitness journey started two years ago, but there are many goals I still want to accomplish.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
Bodybuilding is different than most sports. As kids, we play sports and decide in high school if we have what it takes for college athletics or the pros. However, bodybuilding is a lifelong sport. You're on your own time and decide to be professional or not depending on your health. It opens up doors to photo shoots, personal training, sponsorships, competitions, and more.
What/Who motivated you to be a fitness guru?
My family and friends were my main motivation. My sisters always put me down when I told them about my results, which made me want to show them what I was capable of. My friends kept me going and wanted me to succeed. It helped when they were brutally honest and my body. I never want to go back to being the small, skinny kid. It's a great feeling to walk down the street and have people notice that I work out.
Where did you go for inspiration?
My friends and family were my ultimate inspiration. I hate to see people quit. My close friends used to yell at me or demand that I train. My mother helped to get me out of the house to hit the weights. She loved that I was dedicated to being in shape and didn't want me to stop.
What are your future fitness plans?
I plan to compete in bodybuilding shows when my body is ready for the stage. I aspire to be a fitness model. I love to help others reach their goals and plan to work for my personal training license to train and motivate people.
What is the most important fitness tip?
Be patient with your body. Everybody wants to work out, wake up the next morning, and see noticeable improvements, but it doesn't happen. Results will keep you motivated and come with hard work and a strict diet. Stay patient and keep sculpting your body into the masterpiece you desire.
Who is your favorite competitor?
Jaco De Bruyn is a man of solid muscle with a different body type than what you normally see on stage.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
When I started working out, I looked up videos to learn new workouts. The first videos I saw were on Bodybuilding.com from Dorian Yates' Blood & Guts 6-Week Trainer. The videos were to the point and helped me get started. I'm hooked on Steve Cook videos now. He's humble and friendly, and wants to help people achieve their goals. In my first semester of college, I followed Big Man On Campus.
James's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Monster" by Michael Jacks feat. 50 Cent
- "A Milli" by Lil Wayne
- "Anthem For The Underdog" by 12 Stones
- "Atom" by Swedish House Mafia
- "Till I Collapse" by Eminem