Online PT James Smith talks all things fitness

The personal trainer and author is part of Dubai Active where he will host a show on how you can build confidence by embracing failure and not necessarily success


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Fri 28 Oct 2022, 9:25 AM

Starting this weekend, Dubai is set to be the place for all fitness enthusiasts. The city, as part of Dubai Fitness Challenge, will host several events and activities in a bid to promote a healthy life among its residents.

One of the events kickstarting the fitness month is Dubai Active, one of the region's largest celebrations for fitness and wellness. Held alongside the famous Dubai Muscle Show, the event brings together the best brands, studio classes, celebrity trainers and expert speakers in the international fitness industry.

And among the invitees is James Smith, one of the world's fastest growing online personal trainer (PT), and 3x Sunday Times bestselling author. James, during Dubai Active which runs for three days starting today, will be a part of meet and greet and host The C Word Live, his first-ever live show experience in the Middle East.

James has hosted the shows before in Australia and the UK. He tells City Times he is incredibly “flattered” to be able to come to Dubai and host with hordes of people in attendance.

Visitors to the event will experience some of the most "compelling" lessons from James' latest book How To Be Confident. The lessons will be brought to life via a live show, which can be more engaging, entertaining, and interactive than a book. "It is a great opportunity," he tells us during a Zoom conversation ahead of the event. "I will bring in some funny, comical kind of things with a very serious take-home message from the talk."

James' latest book is about getting people to embrace failure, and understanding that confidence comes from the relationship with failure, not so much with the relationship with success. "Often with failed attempts, comes experience and competence," he said. "And if we can get people to embrace the most cherished things not always going right, we can build up the resilience required to get that confidence."

"It is also about getting people to appreciate that maybe they have a lack of confidence or maybe they need an excuse as to why they're not picking a path of action in life. A lot of people, if they continually don't pick a path of action, whether it's on a professional or personal level, ultimately they need an identity to wear. And I think a lot of people are wearing the identity of 'I am not a confident person.' And the book is about calling people out on that and getting them motivated to take a path of action instead."

For James, confidence is a "byproduct" and not a "precursor."

"It is not something you get when you accomplish," he said. "It is something you build in accrual with evidence over time. So if things go wrong, I know that I need to change things. If things go right, then I know I need to be more consistent with it. It is really the building of those foundations over time that bring you confidence as a byproduct."

"So many people out there are waiting for confidence as a reason to start when really confidence is what comes after that," he added.

In addition to the above, James also lists out why getting started can be hard. There are lots of biases, says James, whether it is the impostor syndrome which makes people think they're not worthy enough, or doubts and pessimism. The book arms people and empowers them, says James, to understand all the different things that will come up in their minds as to why they think they can't do it, and then try to overcome those.

Fitness myths

There are countless fitness enthusiasts in today's world. And if a certain practice works for one, or a few, it is not necessary that it may work for the other. Additionally, there are also certain fitness myths. For example, blood type diets, eating alkaline, excess sugar, or not using phones after a certain period of the day.

"There are so many things," James said. "But also a lot of things are blown out of proportion such as intermittent fasting. For some people, not eating in the first part of the day is a good idea, especially for people that eat too much throughout the day. It is the first step of many to reduce their food (calorie) intake. But then people become charlatans within that field and proclaim that it is the best thing ever and it is the only thing that's going to help people. But the danger (of intermittent fasting) is that it gets people to take their eyes off the bigger picture and the other things in their life that are also equally important such as sleep, stress, relationships, and all of these things. There's also lot of misinformation on the internet in regards to the exogenous ketones or the keto diet. It is like if a million people believe something stupid, it is still stupid."

Personalised online PT

To reiterate, James is one of the world's fastest growing online PTs. He functions like most certified PTs do, by hiring coaches to help the clients. James has a team of eight personal trainers who put together programs for clients. The programs are tailored for clients as per their day-to-day activities. If there are any changes, they are made and clients understand why such changes have occurred in their tailor-fit programs. It helps clients become capable of following a similar regime on their own. The personalised aspect, however, is that if clients need to talk with a coach or have any contact with them at any point, they can connect and get the education they need.

James lists out quick daily habits to lead a healthy life

*Step counts. Focus on non-training activities, like always take the stairs, don’t use the lift. These are essentials.

*Take work calls and meetings on the move if you can. Don’t park in the parking spot closest to the supermarket door.

*Prepare and plan your meals to track your calorie intake.

*Have a gym routine, follow a program, start a hobby, play sports like squash or tennis on days your’re not training in the gym.

*Join a martial arts club, take boxing classes. Ensure that you’re active and doing your best to make sure you’re not unhealthy.

*Make sure your sleep is prioritised, eight hours of sleep per night is probably the biggest hack that not many people are aware of.

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