Retired meathead. Old hockey goalie who still loves the game. Training geek. Movement quality freak. Fitness-fad pessimist. No-sleeve-tattooed pancake master. Nineties-rap-loving trainer-at-heart turned fitness business owner making the transition to entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur Jim.

I started my career as a personal trainer in January 1990. As a 1-on-1 trainer over the next 22 years, I perfected my client-relationship skills—the skills that help clients cut through the bullshit excuses that prevent them from reaching their goals regardless of their limitations.

In 2013, I ventured out on my own and began a business—Small Group Personal Training. This new business venture allowed me to express my creativity in a way I wasn’t able to as a training facility employee. I enjoyed the freedom and successfully built my clientele by word-of-mouth as a one-man show. My motivation: If I didn’t work, I didn’t get paid.

In April 2015, I opened Catalyst Strength and Functional Nutrition. This allowed me to expand Small Group Personal Training as a business with employees, systems, and memberships with monthly electronic funds transfers (EFTs). I was able to grow my client base from 20 to 80 clients within the first 12 months. But, with the help of fitness business mentors, Thomas Plummer, Frank Nash, and the Secret Trainer Society, my client base grew to 180 clients (near maximum capacity) within the following 12 month period allowing me to shift my focus from “gain clients” to “retain clients.”

Trainer Jim.

In September of 1987 at the age of 18, I was run over by a wagon full of people. I’d fallen backwards off of a hayride and run over by the wagon and all of its weight. With a ruptured spleen, a punctured lung, and a broken collar bone (among other injuries), I was pronounced dead. Luckily, they brought me back and I began attacking life with a purpose.

My original reason for training was to rehab from the accident, but I quickly fell in love with it and the sense of power it gave me. It transformed me from defenseless and frail, to completely capable. I devoured all of the fitness information I could get my hands on. I fell into bodybuilding and competed (drug free) from 1989 to 2003. At my last show, Show Me Naturals Bodybuilding Championships, I won both the heavy weight and over all titles.

Following that show, I retired from bodybuilding because I realized it wasn’t healthy for me. That’s when I met Mike Boyle and Grey Cook who changed my perspective on training. I’d been hyper-focused on aesthetics, old school training for size and hypertrophy, and I trained my clients using the same perspective. But when I met Boyle and Cook, I realized not all clients move like I move.

This was a revelation and it changed my training perspective. I embraced Boyle and Cook’s quality movement-based training style and applied it to my clients by first looking at their movement patterns, then building their programs from there with the primary goal being to improve movement. Boyle and Cook quickly became my training mentors, as well as Mel Siff, Thomas Myers, Dr Stuart McGill, Andy O’Brien, and Cal Dietz, among others.

Today, I employ a multi-disciplinary approach to training that shifts depending on the client in front of me. It’s not a one-size fits all approach.

This is the heart and soul of my business.

I’m eager to help other trainers make the jump to business owners and entrepreneurs with the podcast Masters in Fitness Business.