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001 – Interview With James Wilson

To hear the full interview, simply press play button below (make sure your volume is turned up).

Or if you prefer to read the transcript of the full interview, see below –

Rod: Great. All right, just like to welcome everyone. Rod Bucton here from sports adventure here today with our new interview series where we interview inspirational people from around the globe to share their expert insights on mountain biking, good nutrition and a good life. Really pleased to kick off this series with someone I’ve been following online for a while. He started into Strength training systems to help spread the word about what real mountain bike specific training and conditioning is. He’s trained top range of mountain bike riders from world cup races, international champions, to week in Murray, Downhills and marathon races. He’s been featured on many sites and magazines including Define, Pinkbike, Mountain Bike, Men’s Health and many others. On that point I’d like to welcome MTB strength coach James Wilson. Welcome James.

James: Well, thank you I appreciate it and yah… just listening to your intro I guess if you stick around long enough to bound to accomplish few things than dentist for a while…yeah, I know…I’m happy to be on the show and yah, glad to share some information to you today.

Rod: Terrific! Mate, As I’ve said I’ve been following you online for a while and you’ve got a slide of invite that you put out on line and your video series and the training and things, you do some amazing stuff mate and that’s some great results there. Can you talk a little bit about that?

James: Yeah, yeah…I mean I just really like to share information with people. I’ve actually had a few… other, you know professionals on the cycling and mountain biking industry telling me they just get a little crazy and how much stuff i just give away as far as like, you know, exercises that are helpful for certain aspects for riding or you know training strategies that i found helpful but..You know, for me it’s just really trying about how you spread the word because strength training really helped my mountain biking a lot. And so it’ helped me a lot in general just you know from a big figure stand point but you know just being able to share that information with people, so yeah, on my website at I’m always trying to you know share stuff trying to get people think a little bit. Question the status quo because there’s half of truth and myths of mountain biking and you know how it get better watching me to be a good rider and so just trying to help people enjoy riding more is really what’s it all about so it’s just been my mission since I think 2005 when I had the idea for interview strength system had been you know, the really reason I started it all is because back in 2005 there wasn’t any really good mountain bike specific strength conditioning information.

Rod: True.

James: And so I did it more as …you know, I was looking for information. Stuff that I was seeing as a former triathlete like track and field; you know they have good strengthening conditioning stuff. Like there’s those types and so I knew what strength training for athletics was and I knew that what i was seeing was not it. Like 3 sets on the lake brass and legs extension, leg curl and say not the mountain bike specific program, I’m like, “No. No. No. No, that’s not what athletes do”. So it was more, me applying the stuff that I knew from my time as a tri-athlete and also as a strength coach working with other athletes to what I was experiencing as my demand of trail riding and then one day just thinking like, ah you know I wonder if other people would be interested in what I’ve been doing as well. So As I’ve been training few clients and they’ve been having a little bit of good results as well so put up a website and I still have no clue where the first people would have gotten my news letter came from and how they found my site or what they came from but yeah, it’s a…it sets back 2005 threw out the first website and sort of have people sign up for my newsletter and so yeah since then been really trying to work hard. You know, one pro myself and get the best information I can have for myself and then share it out with other riders. So…yeah guess that’s kind of in a nutshell.

Rod: No, that’s superb. And your background, if we can go on to that. Is… Do you have a background in coaching specifically for…any sort of sports science or anything like that?

James: No man. To be honest with you, I’d probably the least qualified person in any room. I went to… one year of college and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up and so didn’t finish that. I mean I got certified as a trainer. At one point I was working for a company called International Sports Science Association. One of the larger personal training certification groups and so I worked for them for a couple of years and had a lot of their certifications and high level certifications and stuff. But I also got to see the other side of the business side certification industry and I realized it’s not always necessarily about education… So I…It really a lot of it is self education like I was very lucky to get turned on to some good sources early on. And so people again, like you now, people look around the strength training world now and we forget, we take so many things for granted today. back in you know 2005 the early 2000’s really in the 90’s when i start first working out the only information you could get was like waiting for the new muscle and fitness and flex is the newsstands right?

Rod: Right. Uh-huh.

James: And so it…geez, kind of lost what I’m trying to thought there…what are you we talking about? With the…

Rod: Back in 2005, with your –

James: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. So people forget that back then things like training movements and not muscle groups. Like everybody still training biceps and triceps and so I remember reading Ian King which he’s actually an Australian strength coach.

Rod: That’s true.

James: And he was one of the first guys to start to talk about training movements instead of muscles and things like tempo. You know, measuring how long is your Ecentric, the pause and concentric. So a lot of those things were really like, they were new. They’re brand new concepts and very few people on the strength training world were really turned on to and I was very lucky to come across those resources early on. And so, you know, that’s…it’s really kind of been like my background it’s just like pursuing these other experts like trying to find out [Inaudible] what they are doing and come back and figure out how it’s supplied specifically to mountain biking… but yeah…it’s been really been kind of … in a natural obsession like it’s funny when I tell people like I was the guy in high school I remember sitting in the back of the classroom in Math class like not paying attention to the lesson because I’m trying to figure out how to design the perfect, you know, split for you know, like I read every body building magazine I could get my hands on. You know, when I would just always program has always been just something I was something into and fascinated with how you can manipulate, exercises, steps and wraps and things to get the body to do different things and so for me it’s just been a lifetime of pursuing that passion and then you know specifically applying it to mountain biking for the last, gees man, 16 plus years that I’ve been riding but yah…yah. I mean there’s definitely a place for education in school but man I tell you, especially in the strength training arena, Man you’re just likely to be held back by a formal education and strengthening conditioning world as you are to be advanced by it. Because there’s a lot of just stuff that’s hot or either outdated or you know, not nearly as effective as what’s really being done in the trenches today. And so, you know, staying in the cutting-edge, what’s happening in the trenches is…something that people really need to do and you’re not necessarily encouraged to do that and in the academic setting is much kind of learn what your teachers are teaching you and so anyways like I said there is a yin and a yang with that but I don’t necessarily consider lack of formal education in that area detriment- [Crosstalk]

Rod: I certainly agree with you there mate. I’ve noticed then in some of your materials to ride specific cycle training and there’s a mountain bike cycle training and the difference is between the two, I’m interested to hear you talk a bit more about how you evolved your training to be more mountain bike specific from what the guys were teaching the riders for so many years.

James: Yah. yah I think again it just comes from me not coming from a cycling background, like being a track athlete in high school and you know went to number one college and run track and so that was my background my mindset so coming from mountain biking I wasn’t necessarily brought up in this culture of, you know, this is how *** do it and…You know just kind of being sit tall, this is the way to do it. So when I came in, you know, kind of questioning the things that were part of my nature I guess off the bat and you know just specifically the fact that riding mountain bikes it isn’t take a while riding mountain bikes to realize, like, man, there’s a lot more going on here than just cardio endurance-

Rod: Yeah. You bet.

James: Especially peddling base cardio endurance like that’s the thing that really gross people off cause they don’t understand that there are actually ways to track your cardio system than just peddling and you know the specificity principles, specificity training principle tells us that you you know, your body is going to adapt specifically how you train it and so focusing almost exclusively in peddling base cardio is going to make you really good at peddling your bike and handling the cardiovascular demands of peddling.

Rod: Uh-huh.

James: But mountain biking requires so much more than just peddling. Especially when the bike is pointed downhill, you’re not peddling much at all and yet you still, for anybody who’s done, you know, spent a day at the least, downhill and you know you don’t have to peddle a lot to be you know, to be breathing really hard. And so…you know, my own experience with you know seeing advocates way more to this than necessarily you know peddling base cardio but that’s what the road cyclist are. People forget, again you know, this is coming from my track background like; track athletes don’t run to improve their endurance. You know, to improve their cardio. That’s not why they run. They run to get better at running. Because running is [Inaudible] and it’s the same thing with road cyclists. That’s where we get lost as mountain bikers because we forget that riding a road bike is a sport. That’s why they rode a bike so much it’s not that that’s how you build massive endurance. You don’t look at road endurance. You don’t look at roads and say they have massive endurance they ride the —- bikes all the time therefore, it’s a factor riding a road bike or doing a lot of peddling base cardio is how you build endurance. Like no. no. no. they’re practicing a sport a lot that’s what they’re doing. They spend shit ton of time to time practicing their sport. So, I hope this is a…

Rod: No. I got you mate. Okay, you’re all right. No worries mate.

James: But anyways, my point is, just looking at the realities of trail biking versus what I saw being passed of this training information for mountain bikers is what led me to…you know, start putting these other stuff out there and kind of start questioning the status quo of like, this is how you train to be a mountain biker. So…so, really like I said it was just kind of my own experience with riding and then again just my own experience as a track athlete and knowing kind of importance of strength training. That’s one of the things that I also knew was little bogus just like man, strength training is extremely important even if you’re not looking at it from direct performance enhancement standpoint, from an injury prevention in a long [incomprehensible] standpoint, it’s important and so you know, seeing that it was not really emphasized much at all and in mountain biking is not a through endurance score, you know as it usually done like a cross-country races, it’s usually less than two hours.

Rod: Yes.

James: I mean Enduro races, they take places over the entire day but you’re only getting judge on you know 5 to 10 minutes stages. And so, a true endurance sport is more like a triathlon or marathon where you have this consistent power output over this very long period of time. And so mountain biking is more of a strength endurance sport than a pure strength sport. Or pure endurance sport. And so it’s…you know again, just kind of recognizing some of these realities in mountain biking versus these programs that are pretty much cut and paste from road cycling because we assume that road cycling and mountain biking are pretty much the same things. So, you know, we can just swap the programs there…but, yeah. Yeah. Hopefully that answers the questions. But yeah they’re totally two different sports.

Rod: Yeah.

James: Like completely different sports when you look at it from a movement and energy systems demand standpoint and strength demand standpoint. Like the only thing that has the same is that we’re on something that’s on two wheels and that you, you know, pedal the power. But even that’s different. A mountain bike got a different geometry. It weighs, you know the weight is more- you got to deal with suspensions. So even the specific of the weapon that we are using in battle are sort of different and so you know, just assuming how you train with one, is how you’re going to train with the other, is a balance. Yeah, I think people today, understand a lot better. There’s still a lot of people that train too much like roadies but I think their understanding is like, mountain biking is not road riding on dirt and we need something different is a lot more prevalent today and which is great. Because I mean, back in the day, I mean there was nobody at all doing these and today you know, there’s not just me, there’s guys like you, there’s you know, I know several guys around the world that are now doing, you know, mountain bike, you know strength conditioning stuff and applying these good training principles to the specific demands of mountain bike with you know, which is awesome but you know again, back in 2005, it just didn’t exist. Like there’s no one doping it. And so, you know thought I just kind of, I was doing it for selfish reasons, learning myself and progressing myself but then just want to share with other people as well. But…yeah that was kind of the evolution of it. It’s just personal experience and stuff like that.

Rod: Yeah. Now I think that’s superb mate. And think… the amount of time that you’ve been passionately been involved with this and building your knowledge base and applying it to yourself, applying it to others and refining it and…letting it evolve as, it really put you at the full front of strength training for mountain biking and made particularly and I, years and years ago did a little bit of triathlon, did a bit of mountain biking at the same time and always at a road bike, at a mountain bike and thought I could get a…some extra legs for a bit more time on the roadie and then apply that on a mountain bike. I always felt that something was always missing. Something wasn’t quite in the tank there. And I was… I always hated the gym. I’ve never been to a gym my whole life except for probably…18 months ago I first I started. And for me personally, the benefits in my leg strength, probably my core strengths and upper body strength but it’s come from that and how that now relates to your enjoyment on the bike and your performance on the bike, really blows my mind. I can’t get over how much better, how much more confident, how much more inspired i feel on the bike. Just from some additional strength training and certainly not the quality training the quality mountain bike specific training that you provide but just something that I’ve been doing yeah, at the local gym myself.

James: Yeah. Yeah. It definitely makes a difference with that stuff. So…I tell you you’re cutting a little bit in and out there so I was kind of catching most of what you are…were saying there. But, yeah…the… you know it doesn’t…the strength training definitely makes a difference. It doesn’t take long doing it and it doesn’t have to be like a super complicated routine to start making a difference. With the…you know, your performance on the trail and how you can just feel instead of its- your mountain biking it requires so much core strength and…Your, really movement capability-

Rod: Uh-huh.

James: …than road riding does. And so…you know yeah, doing some stuff off would like to help focus on that. I think that’s, that’s one of the problems that a lot of new riders have is you know, we have this set entire society and so we have people who are coming to riding and they don’t move well, they don’t have good the core strength, they don’t have, you know, good body wherein in somebody’s fundamental things that really go into you know, being able to effectively ride your mountain bike and so there’s – you have to kind of do some things off of the bike to fix those things. And, you know… that was actually, I had an epiphany one time told a story bunch of times, written about it but you know being in the skills clinic one time and watching the coach trying to help someone getting it to get body position and I just had this epiphany like, man, I got to- I couldn’t get off the bike and touches his toes.

Rod: Yeah. True.

James: Like, there’s no way he’s going to be able to slide his hips back and lower his chest while keeping his spine neutral and get it into a good, good low attack positive for body position so you know, that was when I realized, like what this guy needs to do is get off of the bike. You know fix the hip hinge, strengthen the hip hinge and the you can get back on the bike and start up applying the slip inch to the specific skills of body positions and other things on the bike and in other things on the bike. but as long as you’re on the bike, that’s not going to fix his hip hinge and just going to keep applying you’re trying to figure out how to work around this bad hip hinge and so…you know, that’s the thing, you know it’s …it’s kind of like self image people would always throw out like “oh, can’t you just eat a perfect diet, and you know, and good clean food and you don’t need supplements. And it’s like, ‘yeah theoretically yes, you can’ right? And it’s like same thing with strength training like what you really need to strengthen and it’s like blah blah blah blah. Well theoretically, you know, if you came into mountain biking and you were really good mover and you had a solid, you know, background with you know, with strength training already or, some sort of variety of sports. Basically if you didn’t have movement dysfunctions coming out of mountain biking, no, you probably don’t need strength training. But the vast majority of us have movement dysfunctions. And so fixing those and the other thing is keep on a bay. You know making sure that you continue to move on especially as you age. And it becomes vitally important as you get older to hang-on to your strength levels because, man, those were like that’s your fountain of youth. Like you strengthen your mobility is your fountain of youth. And when start to lose those things that’s when, you know, when you start to feel and really act old. Act your age so to speak. And so…you know, yeah…it’s just ton of benefits for riders for doing the strength training but you know, like you’re saying, it doesn’t necessary take that very long and it doesn’t have to be- i think, I used the term mountain bike specific mainly because that’s what people are looking for.

Rod: Yeah.

James: I’m able to frame what I’m doing in mountain bike terms. But the reality is, all I’m doing is I’m a movement coach. I’m a movement coach that speaks mountain biking. It’s really all it is. And I tried to help people move better. Help people move better. I tried to teach them move better. I try to give them a mindset that expands their world a little bit beyond just mountain biking. And to, like big picture, like how you move off of the bike is going to affect how you move on the bike and vice-versa. And then just let people run with that. And I think that’s really the heart of what I try to do. And the power of what I do…is that, but yeah, so its…it is a powerful stuff.

Rod: Yeah. I think that’s superb. I think listening to the news this morning; a report was just released in Australia. We have a population of about 25 million and report release was …I believe it’s around 11 million are now obese in Australia. So, that’s a pretty scary statistic when you run figures you’re talking about almost a half of our population is obese. And… hence one of the things I’m so passionate about here is trying to get blokes to improve their health through exercise, good nutrition and dude, that mountain biking and eating well. and a lot of things you touched in there really yea, hit a corn with me and so that in mind what would you suggest to kick off to get started for someone that’s in late 40’s, early 50’s look to themselves in the mirror and said, “Man this isn’t good I’m not feeling real well anymore. My body’s letting me down I’ve got to do something about there and get things back on track otherwise it’s a…it’s going to be a down hillsborough from there.” What would you offer James, just to…to give some a bit of a kick start?

James: Yeah, that’s a really good question man. Because it’s, your probably right, like a journey of thousands steps begins with the first one.

Rod: Uh-huh.

James: So. The first step is the hardest one to take…I think there’s 2 things. I think that before you even take that first step you going to have to continue looking at yourself in the mirror and figure out what your priorities are and what they really are and figure out you do some shifting around, others priorities and so, people have said they don’t have time to fit this stuff in, it’s like you know, yoke cloth from a [inaudible] like people are working jobs they hate for shit that they don’t need.

Rod: [laughs]

James: And that I guarantee you that 95 plus percent of people who have that looked themselves in the mirror moment, if the heart of what they’re feeling is both what they’re seeing in the mirror and also what they know has led them to it. And they kind of sold their soul a little bit-

Rod: Yup.

James: …for…for this, you know they made a freaking deal with the devil and they realized that it wasn’t really worth it and so…anyways, my point is, is like, I think a lot of people need to kind of figure out what their priorities are and figure out how to prioritize themselves and their fitness and their lifestyle first, Because if you try to go on that journey with the same mindset, they got you into that, that place in the first place, is not going to work. Like, something has to change upstairs before real change will take hold with everything else.

Rod: Yup.

James: So, that’s my first piece of advice. That really is like start small. I think the big thing, the mistake that people make is they try to bite off more than what they can really chew and they have the best of intention and so what I try to tell people is, you want to set the hurdle so low that you got no doubt in your mind that you’re going to be able to overcome it, right? And so for a lot of people that may be just a spin in 10 to 15 minutes a day doing some foam rolling and stretching and just trying to move.

Rod: Yup.

James: If that’s where you’re at, that’s where you’re at. And that’s your goal and that’s what you do and you build on that. You’ll find at the momentum that you’ve built from just setting…easily achievable wins for yourself is, will add up over the long run. And once you’ve done that for a while, you’ll find that ‘well gees you know, 15 minutes isn’t so bad but I can add another 5 minutes in here and you know, next thing you know, it’s like you’re doing the hour a day that you’ve originally set out to do. But instead of doing it for an hour and only doing 15 minutes a day and kicking yourself in the butt feeling bad, you know, you set out to do 15 minutes and you’re feeling good about yourself. And so a lot of times it’s just how you kind of frame…what you’re doing…you know in your head so, you know just start small, just start with those easy wins and trying to build on those. But the priority is really moving better so I think the mobility is the first thing that people should really try to work on. I think the…as part of mobility kind of bridging the gap between mobility and more strength training crawling comes into play. i think the crawling is, it’s an amazing thing it’s an authentic movement challenge. It’s not like some gym thing and really like, as much I love riding a bike, it’s really it’s a made up thing it’s not a natural thing for our body.

Rod: Yup.

James: And so we’re presenting our body with this unnatural challenge which is great! it would respond to it but I’ve found that when you present the body with authentic movement challenges whether you want it in brain science and talk about how like the neurons are connecting from back you were a kid, you know, whatever it is man, but something about it your body wants to respond to these authentic movement challenges. And crawling is one of these authentic movement challenges that a lot of people don’t take advantage of, because really, you don’t need much space at all you don’t need anything but your body weight and for a lot of people man, that’s strength training and cardio training combined. Just doing like 15 minutes of basic baby crawls and crab walk and stuff like that around the ground will have people just dying. So you know really, it just start simple, start with the basics. I mean the foundation, you look about how the child develops and you know they start with mobility and then they start working on their ability to manipulate themselves and move around on the ground and then they start working on their ability to stand up and manipulate their body weight…while standing up and then they start working to manipulating external objects as well. And so you know, really that’s kind of the spectrum we should always have. Everyone needs to have and maintain all of those you know foundational movement skills if you will or whatever in a…and so you can see where these things you know, things like strength training comes in manipulating external load. You know stretching comes in at mobility you know, so… all of these things a lot of people do but then again we’re running in problems when you either don’t progress things well enough so that – the worst thing that that person could do is go join a crossfit.

Rod: Yeah.

James: I don’t know if that’s like …you know, it’s quite the blithe in fitness community there than it is here. Again, there’s some good crossfit gyms but let’s just be honest with each other, like the vast majority of them are not representing authentic movement and authentic fitness…as well as they could and should. and so, but that’s the worst thing that you could do is like jump to that end of the other spectrum and start working immediately on …you know standing up and doing bodyweight stuff and doing you know loaded stuff without working on your mobility and your ability to manipulate yourself on the ground and some other foundational things that you need, that will lead you to do that. but…you know, yeah, I guess my message is just like, yeah, just make sure you got your priority straight and then start simple and go from there and if you got time for nothing else just keep your mobility levels good and keep your ability to move around the ground like Dan John, is one of the strength coach that I look up to and I get a lot of great stuff from him. But you know he points out that there are 2 statistics really that kind of jump out at people specially when they’re again and one is a lot of people are put in a nursing home at the point where they lose the ability to be able to go to the bathroom by themselves. That’s kind of the point where the kids say you know what that’s it mom and dad, I love you but I can’t do this and so the simple ability for people to stand up walk over the toilet sit down, stand back up and go back, they lose that simple ability, so again as you age, your ability to move becomes so important and 2, statistically speaking if you fall and break your hip and someone else gets cancer on that same day, you are more likely to be dead from that broken hip than the complications from it than you are from the cancer. And so again, your ability to move well, ability to fall to move around the ground, all of these things we take for granted but these are the things that for most people, end up becoming the final straw for them-

Rod: True.

James: That lead to that thing that we fear. We look at old people and like, man, I don’t want to end up like that. it’s like well, you know them and you right now is your ability to move and strength and stuff like that so, the more that you have in the bank you know the better off you are but then again it just translate over to the bike and so…the longer you’re going to be able to ride and enjoy mountain biking you know, you see riders on their 50’s,60’s and 70’s and you still want to be able to join one of those guys and join the riding then you know, that’s a… you got to put the work in up front. But so, yeah, so anyways, hopefully that answers the question.

Rod: Yeah. That is superb. I like how you…how you’ve formulated and approached which can assist people from day one as supposed to coming to you with a…a certain level of fitness or a certain ability which then excludes a whole swag of people that just on that level from as you said mobility fitness, say confidence level but you’ve really pruned that right back to the bare bones to the very, very start point and would be really beneficial for a whole bunch of people to get on board.

James: Yeah. Yeah man. Now it’s a… it’s good that there’s more guys doing these and you know applying these kids stuff to specific needs of mountain biking is definitely something that could help a lot of riders but you know again, at the end of the day, just remember, you’re like a human being first, you’re not a mountain biker, you are no, nobody’s born a mountain biker, everybody’s born human being and they chose to ride a mountain bike so you got to take care of the human being first and then mountain biker will flourish and when you forget that you focus too much on the mountain biker you can neglect the human and all of a sudden you’re wondering “Why I can’t progress?”

Rod: Yes.

James: “Why can’t I get better as a mountain biker?”And so, that’s what it’s all boils down to.

Rod: Now that’s great. And can you pass on some examples of old people that have been through your system of training and how they progressed, a bit of an idea or their commitment, their time commitment? Obviously, they’re… their enthusiasm to take on board what you’ve got to say? And the changes they’ve been able to make through their lives?

James: Yeah. Yeah. Well I mean, you know there’s, as far as like pro-rider, as far as the best known rider that I’ve worked with is Aaron Gwen, who you know, most people on mountain biking world have heard of him multi time world cup downhill champion and stuff and so, I actually started working with him before he was, you know, he has always been Aaron Gwen, but I always tell people, I’ve worked with him before he was Aaron Gwen.

Rod: Awesome.

James: You know, like no one knew who he was and so i was working with him before he got his first pro…deal with Yeti and worked with him through his years of Yeti and stuff like that and so, you know he was a guy that he did…you know, it’s funny man, I’ve worked with a lot of next great thing or you know, next great things people says, this guys is going to be the next great thing in American down hilling and stuff like that and there’s two things that i can tell Aaron that set him apart right off the bat. One, was he never makes excuse, like whatever i told him to do he’s did. You know, there wasn’t like “Oh I don’t have access to this piece of equipment or oh I can’t do..” he was like, he was considered done. and two, just his mind game, that’s one thing I know it’s not necessary part of the question but just for people looking at what makes successful people successful is you know with him, you can’t tell whether he won or lost that weekend, talking o him on Monday, like he is very eager and keen. He doesn’t get super high or he doesn’t get super low, so he worries he does mistakes, he doesn’t get…the ego boost from his wins and so that ability right there was something that I knew right away would be something that would set him apart from a lot of the other riders that I’ve dealt with, mostly freaking’ head cases to be honest with you [Laughs]

Rod: Uh-hmm

James: But… you know so, and I’ve worked with a lot of different pros but I mean for me, you know the pro riders are cool and they’re great. But really those guys, those are the people that kind of touched by the hand of god a little bit right? And-

Rod: You bet.

James: …They’re going to be great no matter what. Like, Aaron Gwen, was going to be Aaron Gwen whether he worked with me or not. I’m not going to say like…I’d like to think that you know, maybe I helped him in some areas and maybe sped things up in a few ways and you know whatever, I just would like to think that maybe i helped him some ways but I’m not kidding myself and say ‘yah, you know I was responsible for any ways for that guy’ and you know you’re biggest job with a pro is not to get them hurt.

Rod: Yeah

James: Really and …Because you know so they can do their thing. But everyday riders is that i really enjoy working with and so just working at my facility and you know seeing…again, a lot of these goes back to one of the core fundamental reasons I became a strength coach in the first place is you know, strength training is one of these areas where, we don’t as a society, we don’t get a lot of opportunities to you know get these really obvious wins in our lives. You know, and these are like physical things you know, we we’re born to move, we’re born to struggle. Like the struggle makes us better. Our body wants the struggle working. You know, it’s actually beneficial and so the, strength training was one of those areas in people’s lived where they’re able to accomplish things that they never thought they’d be able to do it. The first time someone walks into a gym and they see someone doing a Kettlebell snatch they’re like “Oh shit! That was dangerous, I’ll never do that.” And then six months later they’re doing a perfect Kettlebell snatch and like you know the empowerment that they get from that, and so, for me it’s being able to work with you know, more of the average everyday rider and seeing them and hearing their feedback and getting their emails about how this has helped their lower back pain, you know helped them ride something on their local trail that they’ve never rode with. Helped them keep up with the lead guy in the group for the first time, those are the stories that get me all, you know, charged up. Because those are my stories, you know. I’m an average everyday rider myself so you know, that’s more I’m about, but yeah, you know I got some testimonials and feedback on my website. people want to feed more some of the …from some of the people like some of the top pros and stuff I’ve worked with and some other coaches that you know I’ve endorsed what I do, you know, but at the end of the day, it’s like most of us are riding to have fun and want to being able to feel good enough the next day if we want to. And so that’s really what kind of my focus on is more of that. So, yeah, you know it.

Rod: Yeah. I think you’ve-it’s quite on and I can certainly relate to the buzz that you get from helping just the average everyday guy and like you said the pros they’re got to be pros. They are in the unique field those guys and the everyday guys they can turn their life around and you mention the fun factor and for me that’s what mountain biking brings to me, I’ve tried a few other sports throughout my life but I’ve always come back to mountain biking it’s a good workout and it’s good to get out with your mates but at the end of the day it’s a whole leap of fun. And No matter what you do, where you are on a bike, on a mountain bike I should say, I can’t say the same for riding cause riding has ball me tease, but a mountain bike it is always fun.

James: Yeah. It should be. It should be man. But that’s the thing, that’s why I like mountain biking to me it reminds me more of riding a BMX bike when I was a kid. I got my first mountain bike because I wanted to ride my bike, I was living in Santa Barbara, California and the parking I was working… you know I lived like, you now it’s like a freaking 5 minute 10 minute drive from my house and the parking was really bad down town. So I was like, man I would just get a bike and ride.’ And so when I went to the bike shop and I was like, I didn’t want to get a road bike I thought they looked too weenie. And I thought a mountain bike would more like, it would look more like a BMX bike. So I was like, that looked more like what I rode when I was a kid. And so, that’s always been kind of the appeal to me with mountain biking. It is like you know fun. It goes back kind of hard and back when you were just a kid and just you know reaping around in your BMX bike. And that’s how I encourage people to ride. That’s why drive and get on flat pedals because I think it makes the sport more accessible to more people; you know people understand that you don’t need clipless pedals to be a really good rider. That…more people are going to be like, “oh okay, man maybe I’ll try mountain biking.” You now… it also helps develop the skills and stuff like that but…oh man, I lost my [Inaudible] again, I started talking about flat pedals and getting off on that…what are we talking about again?

Rod: We’re riding BMX bikes and…The connection with mountain biking and [crosstalk]

James: Oh yeah. Sorry, that’s it. I know I get off on my tense into my mind and then I forgot how I get on there and so, the fun fact. You know, I like to recommend flat pedals specially to new riders because it makes it a lot more fun for people at first but…yeah mountain biking should be fun man but adults like to take a fun out of anything so-

Rod: Yeah. We’re going to get back to that and I think your reference with flat pedals is a really good one. We’ve all been for a ride, we’ve seen the guys with their new shoes and new bike and pull up at the top of the trail done clip out on time and before you know it they blame it on their shoulder on their arm and they’re bleeding or they’ve hurt something and they’ve broken something. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all heard the stories all the boys had a little bit of a laugh when it happens but it can really knock me around particularly for the new starter, it is not the best thing to try a fantastic sport.

James: Yeah. Yeah man. I think it is. I think yeah, I don’t know. The clipless pedal is a funny subject for me. I think how they’re placed. But I think that unfortunately a lot of the stuff that were told you know, it’s something bout they need to pull up on the backstroke and you know this perfect repeatable pedal stroke and all these things are not necessary true. that are told so, he clipless pedals to new riders is more of the issue you know, more people didn’t feel the pressure to get on the clipless pedals or you know, new riders knew or people known on how to use that necessarily to make the sport a little bit accessible for more people and keeps it more fun. But yeah, like I said, it is as long as they’re having fun.

Rod: Yeah, You bet. I think that’s the number one. Yeah I just would like to wrap up now, if you could just speak a little bit about the service that you can offer guys remotely particularly here in Australia.

James: Yeah…yeah…yeah. I’ve got a couple of different options for people with that…I mean first and foremost the website like we were talking about earlier. I’ve got a lot of free information people can sign for free 30-day workout on my site and stuff so just kind of get an idea of what good strengthening conditioning information for mountain biking looks like… and then…I’ve got some several programs that people can buy 90-day program s body weight, pedal bell, dumbbell, I’ve got my ultimate interview workout program which is a full-annual training plan. 6 month end season and 6 month off season plan there. You should pretty proud of that work out there, it’s been the kind of combination of years and years and years of work put into that. But yeah, I’ve got a group coaching website as well for people that want to get workout of the month have access to me for help with questions and stuff like that in riding. But yeah, you got a couple of different options for people to work with them remotely. You know, that’s one of the things that I love about the internet is that it allows me to…you know expand my reach beyond just people that I can work within my hometown. So yeah, I definitely put some good stuff out there for people that don’t have access to a good coach in their area to still be able to have access to good training program.

Rod: Yeah. Mate, that sounds terrific. Well done. At that point there, I’d probably like to wrap it up and I really thank you for your time today James. It’s been awesome to talk to a few things there and mate, i hope we can catch up again in the future.

James: Yeah, right. I appreciate your time and I apologize again for the technical difficulties but still here talking to a guy tomorrow who’s halfway around the world so I guess we shouldn’t complain too much huh?

Rod: Yeah. You bet yah. Na…Those things happen, mate. It’s all good. No worries at all.

James: Perfect. Right on, I appreciate you having me on and yeah good luck on everything that you’re doing. Like I said it’s great to see other guys…you know, getting out there and helping people at this stuff particularly mountain bikers. So, yeah. I appreciate what you’re doing. I appreciate you having me on.

Rod: Good on yah. Thanks very much James. You have a great day mate.

James: All right. You too buddy. Have a good one.

Rod: Talk to you soon. Thank you. Alright.

James: Bye.

For more information on James’ MTB Strength Training System visit

Keep in touch and see you out on the trails.

About The Author

Rod Bucton, mountain bike fanatic from Mid North Coast, New South Wales Australia…discover the inside edge to become a more confident mountain bike rider and while you’re at it follow Rod on Facebook or Instagram.

Like any sport, bicycling involves risk of injury and damage. By choosing to ride a bicycle, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so you need to know — and to practice — the rules of safe and responsible riding and of proper use and maintenance. Proper use and maintenance of your bicycle reduces risk of injury.

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