When did you get into the health and fitness industry and why?
I got into becoming a PT when I was 24, so about six years ago. It was something that... You know everyone always has their kind of little teen fitness phase, where they're like, "Oh my God, if I count my calories I can be less fat. Oh my God, I'm starting to build muscle." And I really enjoyed that, but I realised on my little journey, that so much of what I was reading and so much of what I was learning about wasn't really true. And I was like, hold on a second, these were all promising quite a lot, like a tub of branched-chain amino acids promising that I'd get amazing gains.
I started to see some discrepancies between what people were saying and as I discovered in the two years before becoming a PT it kind of pissed me off a bit. I developed a bit of a chip on my shoulder, I'd say, because I really could have done with the information in a no nonsense fashion when I was a bit younger. And I then remember being a kid and at school, being in the canteen and asking the dinner ladies what was fattening and what wasn't and no one could give me a definitive answer. So being a slightly overweight child as well, I think I kind of developed a bit of a chip on my shoulder to misinformation quite early on.
Yes, it probably did get a bit stronger over time. A lot of what I portray now... for the majority of my time as a personal trainer, I was just the PT on the gym floor. So I've been only online for about two, two and a half years. I spent nearly four years teaching people in person. There never was that approach, if that makes sense. So I was a friendly personal trainer, where I'd motivate my clients and try and drum things into their heads. But the kind of approach that people are now exposed to on social... I've only really started putting stuff out there for the last two years. I've not been there with my clients, shouting at them or anything (laughs).
Probably about two years ago. It would've started off just posting good, informative content and then drilling into people when things were daft. I've often jokingly said in some of my videos, if you wouldnt get your dog doing it I don't think you should do it. People are going to subject themselves to all these detox teas and I said, "Hold on, if your dog or your nan's dog wouldnt, you wouldn't do it yourself. Having and developing a bit of a following, it means you get some kind of weight behind what you say. So it was using that while I was like, hold on a second, a lot of other branded influencers can't say what they want and because I just run my account, I've got my own business, I don't have to keep any sponsors happy. I don't have to keep any brands happy. I'm not going to have Adidas calling me saying, "All right, take that down."
I was like, do you know what? I've got a voice that's loud enough now to call out misinformation and literally point the finger to these companies that I feel have got malicious intentions. It wasn't so much an agenda where I was going, "I can't wait to get a big following so I can call them out." It's more so that I'm in a position now where potentially saying to people, this doesn't work or this isn't going to help you, I could reach more people with that message than the company or the product could with theirs.
I am a bit of a feminist at heart and sometimes I get a bit of pushback where people go, "What do you know? You're a man." So sometimes I feel like some people, that rubs them the wrong way, but really as far as getting heat, there's not one that I can think of in particular. They don't seem to really get that much negative feedback as what people would think.
Everyone's got an agenda, whether it's keto, veganism, fasting protocols, and what annoys me is that there should be enough of a reason to do these things without having to lie to people about it. So, the ketogenic diet, its promise that it's going to get superior results in a short period of time just factually isn't true. Or, fasting for certain hours is going to allow you to live longer, now I've seen so much mainstream stuff saying, intermittent fasting can help you live longer and that's not factually correct. Health as a whole is such a subjective thing, it annoys me that people now are saying, "Give up meat and you'll be healthier."No one's asking the questions, "How's your sleep? How's your stress? How's your relationship? How much sunlight do you get? When was the last time you ate vegetables?" If we eradicate meat from someone's diet, we don't then actually intrude to the parts that are important, like the sleep and the vegetables. We just eradicate something that wasnt a problem. When people are like, oh, you need to go keto, you're taking away carbohydrates that aren't inherently bad for that person. They're probably the main ones.
Well, the first thing would be about setting a realistic expectation. Now, I said this in my interview with Mens Health before (Ed's Note: stay tuned for an upcoming feature), is that one of the biggest criticisms I have about Men's Health is the glorification of physiques that are unobtainable. My first thing, my first conversation I have with men is to set an objective to have an attainable physique. Because unfortunately, without having a dig at 99 per cent of your cover models, most men aren't going to be able to obtain that because they've got real jobs and they don't get all their meals sent to them for free and they don't have the external pressures of not getting paid should they not be in shape.That's my first thing, because taking someone from nought to seven is ultimately going to be better than taking them from nought to 20.
Then, just being active, weight training and monitoring food intake, should they need to. We're very proactive in balancing our books after we have a big night out or, when we wake up the next day are we're hungover, we check our balance, what we spent during the night, but we don't ever think it's rational to check the amount of calories that we consumed for that week period or whatever, so keeping calories in check, setting protein target, weight training and being active.
The reason I call it Not a Diet Book is that I think that there are enough of those out there and I don't think they're really helping anyone. The main objective of the book is for everyone to understand that all diets work the same way by creating a calorie deficit.
Now, I don't think that people eat too much because they're gluttonous or they're lazy or they just love being overweight. I don't think that's true. I think there's a lot of underlying causes that need to be openly discussed. So, sleep and relationships and generally just being happy in your work life. The book really delves into those things and it's more of a self-help book. It's more of a self development book on these aspects and is built across all the conversations that I've had with clients over the years, but weren't to do with their lifting. And it wasn't to do with the vegetable intake or their protein targets. It's about how they were with their partner at home, how their relationship is. It talks about sex, it talks about the importance of sleep and how that plays into then your sex life and then your muscle mass and then all these areas that people don't think about but need to be discussed.
James Smiths debut book Not a Diet Book is out January 20, 2020 via Harper Collins Australia. Head toMJRpresents.comfor more information about his speaking tour.
- 35 Best Podcasts In Health & Fitness - Men's Health - February 26th, 2020
- 5 Reasons Men Over 40 Should Try HIIT Training Workouts - menshealth.com - February 24th, 2020
- PA Raiders and Western University looking to promote men's health - Mash Viral - February 24th, 2020
- 5 Reasons Guys Over 40 Should Try HIIT Training - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 22nd, 2020
- P.A. Raiders and Western University looking to promote men's health - paNOW - February 22nd, 2020
- The Bodyweight Workout That Will Send Your Metabolism Soaring - Men's health UK - February 20th, 2020
- Mens health: Overactive bladder and its burdensome complications among ageing Malaysians - Malay Mail - February 20th, 2020
- This Full-Body, Gym-Free Workout Will Add Muscle, Burn Fat and Build Mental Grit - Men's health UK - February 6th, 2020
- Joey Sasso of Netflix's The Circle Talks Keto & More in New Interview - menshealth.com - February 1st, 2020
- Henry Cavill Has Finally Addressed Those James Bond Rumours - Men's health UK - February 1st, 2020
- 5 Reasons to Buy the March Issue of Men's Health - Men's health UK - January 30th, 2020
- Vionic Morris Active Sneaker - MH Certified Review - Men's Health - January 30th, 2020
- Henry Cavill Explains How He Built Muscle and Burned Fat Simultaneously for 'The Witcher' - Men's health UK - January 30th, 2020
- This Full-Body Workout Builds Lean Muscle Fast and Only Needs One Piece of Equipment - Men's health UK - January 30th, 2020
- I worry for my teenage boys the beauty standards for young men are out of control - The Guardian - January 30th, 2020
- Gardner Minshew named Snickers 'Hungriest Player of the Year' - Jaguars Wire - January 30th, 2020
- How Getting Shredded Helped This Trans Man Find His Confidence - menshealth.com - January 27th, 2020
- This Man Gained Almost 20 Pounds of Muscle After Plateauing for Years - menshealth.com - January 27th, 2020
- This Couple Eliminated Nearly $100K of Debt in a Single Year - Men's Health - January 27th, 2020
- Try Using Kneeling Biceps Curls in Workouts to Grow Your Arms - menshealth.com - January 24th, 2020
- This 200-Rep Dumbbell Workout Spikes Your Fat-Burn and Builds Muscle - Men's health UK - January 24th, 2020
- 7 Intermittent Fasting Benefits That Aren't Weight Loss - Men's Health - January 13th, 2020
- How Stan Wawrinka Stays At The Top Of His Game - Men's Health - January 13th, 2020
- 5 Conventional Lifting Rules to Break to Build More Muscle - menshealth.com - January 12th, 2020
- Workout Finishers: 4 Short, Sharp Workout Finishers to Add To Try - Men's health UK - January 10th, 2020
- Getting the Bachelor's First Impression Rose Isn't That Important - menshealth.com - January 10th, 2020
- The Bodyweight Home Workout That Crushes Calories - Men's health UK - January 9th, 2020
- What You Need To Know About Muscle Dysmorphia And How To Overcome it - Men's Health - January 9th, 2020
- A Letter From The Editor: How Football Can Change Hearts And Minds - Men's health UK - January 9th, 2020
- The Ultimate Men's Pants Style Guide - Types of Trousers for Men - Men's Health - January 4th, 2020
- This Guy Lost 80 Pounds With a Little Help and a Fitness Tracker - menshealth.com - January 4th, 2020
- Male health: The serious challenges with which boys and young men contend - Open Access Government - January 4th, 2020
- Rich Brian on Diplo, Yoga, and Being a 'Meme Rapper' - menshealth.com - December 24th, 2019
- 'Snowglobing' Is the Newest Confusing Holiday Dating Trend - menshealth.com - December 24th, 2019
- Smoking Cannabis Possibly Increases ED Risk - Renal and Urology News - December 21st, 2019
- Men's Health: The modern masculinity bible that goes beyond the pages - Mediaweek - December 18th, 2019
- These Miansai x Fila Targa Sneakers are the Only White Kicks You Need to Own - Men's Health - December 13th, 2019
- Timbaland Explains His Weight Loss and Music - menshealth.com - December 13th, 2019
- Sparrow Caregivers get hairy to win Who-Grew-It-Best contest for men's health awareness - WSYM-TV - December 13th, 2019
- Men hate going to the doctor and that could lead to bigger health problems - WRAL.com - December 10th, 2019
- Andrew Luck and Jason Kander Show How the Strength Myth Crumbles - menshealth.com - December 8th, 2019
- Sports clubs take part in Movember in aid of mens' health - ForgeToday - December 3rd, 2019
- Rebranding Mens Mental Health: The Trojan Horse, A Bathroom Poster And Embracing The Ands - Forbes - November 29th, 2019
- Men's Health Therapeutics Market to Receive Overwhelming Hike in Revenues by 2024 - Montana Ledger - November 29th, 2019
- 12 of the Best Men's Joggers That You Can Wear (Almost) Anywhere - Men's health UK - November 28th, 2019
- Movember: a month dedicated to men's health - Brock Press - November 28th, 2019
- Fitness corner: In November, my thoughts turn to men's health - My Edmonds News - November 22nd, 2019
- Fit To Me T-Shirts Designed for Trans Men Were Created to Crush Body Insecurities - Men's Health - November 22nd, 2019
- Henry Cavill Shows Off 'The Witcher' Poster and Men's Health Images - Cosmic Book News - November 22nd, 2019
- Mens health: Secrets to healthy ageing and longevity for Malaysians - Malay Mail - November 22nd, 2019
- Loowit to host pinball tournament for a good cause - The Columbian - November 22nd, 2019
- Movember and No Shave November Bring Awareness on Mens Health - KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com - November 20th, 2019
- OPINION: Movember is about men's health, not your beard - The Daily Evergreen - November 20th, 2019
- Movember Monday: Mens heart health, minority health - WOODTV.com - November 20th, 2019
- New Jersey Mens Health | RWJBarnabas Health - March 12th, 2019
- Mens Health Magazine on the App Store - itunes.apple.com - November 18th, 2018
- Mens Health Month: Never too busy to focus on wellness ... - June 4th, 2018
- Common Foot Problems for Diabetic People - Men's Health Cures - June 4th, 2018
- Men's Health Month Calendar - Week 1 - SoClean - June 4th, 2018
- Men's Health | womenshealth.gov - March 26th, 2018
- Men's Fitness Books - Men's Health Books - Men's Health - November 6th, 2017
- Here's How You Can Get as Ripped as Chris Hemsworth, According to His Trainer - Men's Health - September 6th, 2017
- How High Doses Of Ibuprofen Can Mess With Muscle Growth ... - Men's Health - September 2nd, 2017
- How Apple Engineered Its Watch to Push You to Perform at Your ... - Men's Health - September 2nd, 2017
- 50% Of Guys Couldn't Find the Vagina On This Diagram - Men's Health - August 31st, 2017
- First-Time Dads Are Getting OlderBut Are There Risks? - Men's Health - August 31st, 2017
- Here's How Oral Sex Can Give You Cancer - Men's Health - August 31st, 2017
- Try This Workout Finisher From 2016 Ultimate Men's Health Guy Jedidiah Ballard - Men's Health - August 31st, 2017
- How Long Can Sperm Live Outside The Body? This Viral Tweet Has Everyone Wondering - Men's Health - August 31st, 2017
- Amazon Just Made Your Erections 43% Cheaper - Men's Health - August 29th, 2017
- Can You Do This Explosive Lunge Variation? - Men's Health - August 29th, 2017
- How to Make a Woman Orgasm | Men's Health - Men's Health - August 26th, 2017
- Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I Love the CrossFit Games But Am Worried Everyone's Doping - Men's Health - August 26th, 2017
- Men's Health Unveils Fresh Look and New Direction - Rodale Health - August 23rd, 2017
- Hate Cardio? Make This Small Tweak to Your Routine - Men's Health - August 21st, 2017
- Our Ultimate Guy Search Finalists Are the #MondayMotivation You Didn't Know You Needed - Men's Health - August 21st, 2017
- Mens Health Network - August 20th, 2017
- Meet the Woman Who Is Always on the Verge of an Orgasm - Men's Health - August 18th, 2017
- People Who Have Cheated Once Are More Likely to Cheat Again, Says New Study - Men's Health - August 18th, 2017
- 34% Of Men Are Still Making This Big Mistake In Bed - Men's Health - August 12th, 2017