Interview: “Who to know in the No” Part One / by James Leath

This is an interview I did with Kim Burly, a Fresno native doing a blog series titled "31 Days of Fresno: Who to know in the No." It is a little long so I have broken it up into 2 parts. Thank you, Kim!

The article, part 1:

Its no secret that I really freakin' love working out. I also like to comb teh internets for fitness blogs and tips for staying motivated to keep a healthy lifestyle. That's how I found out about Trainer James- imagine my excitement when I discovered that he was a Fresnan to boot! (And we share the same alma mater. Sweet!)

This guy is a powerhouse. He blogs, he offers personal training, he challenges people on his Facebook- he's practically omnipresent with his constant nudging to "Sweat It Out".

This is exactly why I wanted him to be my first "Folks to know in the 'No" interviewee. So without further ado, I bring you James Leath! When someone comes to you for training, what can they expect?

I plan on being in this business for a long time so one thing they can expect is longevity. I am not a part time trainer or just trying to make money in between careers- I love what I do. Each client is an opportunity for success and I plan each workout accordingly. I am not a licensed nutritionist so I do not prescribe diet plans, however I spend the bulk of my study time on things pertaining to nutrition because of how crucial it is to eat right when attempting to get healthy. I work hard to keep up with the latest exercise techniques and to keep workouts fun and challenging. I like to joke around when appropriate but I take my work seriously so I expect an excellent effort every session.

What is it about Fresno that makes this a great place for you to do your work?

My favorite part of Fresno is two fold: first, the location. I love being only a few hours from the snow, the beach, and the desert. Second, Fresno is big enough to make a name for yourself and at the same time small enough to run into someone you know wherever you go. Fresno is definitely an “it’s who you know” kind of place but the standards are high enough that you have to have the knowledge to really succeed.

When did you know that motivating people to lead healthier lives was your calling?

I have always seen myself as an encourager, but it took me a long time to discover what area I would seek to use that trait for others. My father lost 100 pounds a few years back and that caused his medications to decrease from 10 pills a day to 1 simply because of exercise and healthy nutrition. I saw how much “life” was back into his world and I knew I wanted to help others in that way.

A few years later I watched my first episode of “The Biggest Loser” and found myself running the gamut of emotions every time I watched. Most people watch that show and see the contestants lose weight and think, “That could be me! I could do that!” But I watch that show and see the trainers, Bob and Jillian, and think, “That could be me! I could do that!” To this day it is my favorite show. I may not be on that show, but everyday I wake up before the sun just thrilled that I get to spend the day in the gym helping people get their life back.

If I remember correctly, you were pretty athletic in high school (I was a freshman when you were a senior- it’s cool if you don't remember me, haha!) did that lay the groundwork for what you do today?

Most definitely. My home life was less than ideal so I spent the bulk of my youth in the classroom, the weight room, on the field, or pounding the court. My adventurous youth showed me what the body is capable of and I want others to experience the amazing things our bodies can do. Our bodies were designed to run and jump, not sit and slouch. One of the best parts of what I do is taking someone who has lead a sedentary life and helping them develop their body so they can go hiking, jog their neighborhood, and in some cases join me in a triathlon! I am in a very rewarding career.

Looking at your internet following, they seem to be from all over the place, not just from Fresno. How did all of these people learn about your blog and Facebook page?

Honestly, I am humbled and quite frankly shocked at all the followers that I have had the pleasure of talking to though Facebook. I think the response is good because of two things: First, I am not a sugar-coating kind of guy. I post things like, “You don’t wake up fat,” and “Your lame excuses are why you can’t lose weight” and you either like it or not. I know there are many people out there that know there is no quick fix and they just want some honestly and encouragement to get them to take the next step towards a healthy body. Secondly, I am not trying to sell anything. I have my opinions on certain products but I don’t push people to buy anything. If I find something I like, or a client sends something my way that has worked for them, I share it.

What would you suggest as a good starting point for someone who is just starting to implement a fitness program after leading a pretty sedentary lifestyle?...

See the rest tomorrow!

What would you suggest as a starting point?