“Success is built upon consistency”
I started my fitness journey at the young age of 8 years old. As a young kid growing up in the UK, the dream was almost always to be a professional soccer player and follow the idols I saw on the television every week. Little did I know at this stage in my life that I would actually go on to fulfil that dream for myself.
I was never forced into sport by any means, my dad had played soccer and my older brother also played soccer so it was just our way of life and something that was instilled in me from a young age. It was as I started to mature that I realized I was actually pretty good. This led me to play for a host of clubs, most notably Liverpool FC youth academy.
As a youngster it’s hard to stay grounded when you play for teams with a reputation such as Liverpool but my parents made sure that I did. My dad always used to tell me that the chances of me actually making it to play for the senior squad were very minimal. I understood this from a young age and this would stand me in good stead for the knockbacks to come.
“Everybody has a dream; but not everybody has a grind”
I have no shame in saying I have been released from most of the clubs I have played for. That’s just part of the game, and it happens to the best of us, but it’s the mentality you have which ultimately determines whether or not you succeed not only soccer but also in life.
I took the hard road into professional soccer. I went to college on a soccer scholarship at the age of 16 before signing a youth contract at a professional club. At the end of my first year, the club couldn’t afford to fund the youth system anymore and we were subsequently left with no team to play for. I managed to find someone who would take a risk on me and give me a chance. This led to me signing my first professional contract at the age of 17 for Bolton Wanderers FC who had just fallen out of the top league in England.
I went on to play professionally for 3 years at Bolton playing against some very talented players who now feature in some of the top senior teams in the world. At the end of my 3rd year, my time at the club came to an end as the coach felt he no longer needed me. Of course, a disheartening process for any 20 year old but the time I spent there had made me into a much stronger person physically and mentally and I was thankful. The coach pushed me to mental and physical limits I had never been to before and I had a huge amount of growth from my time there.
After leaving Bolton I was at a bit of a loose end. I didn’t know where to turn next, which led me into personal training. I needed something to fall back on because regardless of whether I got back into professional soccer, the career is short and unless you play at the highest level possible you won’t earn enough money to not have to work ever again.
Whilst completing my 6 week intensive personal training course, an opportunity arose to come to Melbourne to play soccer. At first I was hesitant but one morning I woke up and decided I was going, the opportunity was too good to refuse. Within 4 weeks and just 3 days after completing my course I was on plane to the other side of the world not knowing how my life was about to change for the better.
These subsequent events – the success and failures have led me to where I am today – a 21 year old who just wants to play soccer.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”
It was at this point I had to find a job that wasn’t soccer because soccer in Australia was only semi-professional. Knowing very little about the fitness industry other than being brought up in a professional environment I managed to stumble across Enterprise Fitness. I had no clue of the reputation of this place in the slightest.
When I first met Mark I honestly thought to myself, ‘This guy is a dick,’ but how very wrong I turned out to be. I was offered a job within 2 weeks and this is where the journey started. I believe the attributes I had gained from my time as a professional played a big part in being offered the job. I had the confidence to approach Mark which, I think, surprised him a little. I was just a 20 year old kid who had decided to pack up and move to the other side of the world. But this ultimately resulted in him taking a risk on me – what would be the start of my mental and physical growth under Marks guidance.
The physical changes I have made since being at Enterprise Fitness are also exceptional. I started as out as a skinny, 78kg soccer player who thought he was doing all the right things to be the most athletic player on the field to help give me that edge. It wasn’t until Mark became my strength coach that I realized I was very wrong. In just over a year’s time Mark got me from 78kg up to 90kg. You may think that’s heavy for a soccer player but that’s where you are wrong. I haven’t sacrificed anything to get to that weight in a performance sense. I am faster, stronger, more agile, more powerful all because I have learnt how to train the right way specific to soccer. Before I even start a game I know I already have that physical edge over the opposition. This then let’s the more technical aspects come to the forefront.
“Start unknown, finish unforgettable”
Writing this after a year and a half as an Enterprise Trainer really makes it sink in how much I have grown since being here, not only as a trainer but also as a person. I see Mark as a mentor, friend and father figure. He has provided me with countless opportunities which I will always be grateful for, the biggest of which – offering me sponsorship to stay in Australia as one of his staff members. Now you can see why I was wrong to think that he was a dick… This guy single handedly changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined!
My journey has seen me have a lot of knock backs from a young age, playing the sport I only dreamed of playing as a young boy. But looking back I achieved what I wanted regardless of how short a time it was for and who’s to say I won’t get another opportunity in the future. I never let anyone’s negative words or opinions affect me, which is how I have managed to achieve what I have so far. But this is just the beginning for me as a trainer. I have so much more to learn and so much more to achieve.
Life is a process and everything you do on a daily basis is part of a greater outcome. It’s designed to test your resolve as a human being and see how you respond to events and circumstances. How you respond and learn from this will determine how things happen along the journey. I never give myself the opportunity to look in the mirror and say I could have done more. I always give my all to everything and if it’s not enough then so be it. I will endeavour to try harder next time.
If you would to enquire about training with James, email info@EnterpriseFitness.com.au or call 1300 887 143.