James Gantt is a health coach, fitness expert, and nutrition consultant. He provides all the services and information anyone needs to know about leading a healthy life. James is an Amazon bestselling author and the founder of Simply Fit, a company that specializes in personalized fitness and diet coaching. His holistic fitness center helps people identify the best organic diets, types of exercise, and workouts that they can apply to their life to be fitter, feel better, and live a healthy and active life.
James’ podcast – Healthy Living With James, is a popular health and fitness podcast. The weekly podcast focuses on promoting fitness, clean eating, and a healthy lifestyle that everyone can practice. He is the author of 2 books, is a columnist for Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness, and a fitness advisor for several athletes and celebrities. His work has been featured in many popular magazines and TV shows.
James’ father moved to the USA from Australia 40 years back. James got inspired to clean eating and healthy living very early and decided to take it up as his profession. He did a Master of Professional Practice in Dietetics from Iowa State University and started his career as a personal trainer and a health coach in 2000.
In 2010 James founded his fitness and wellness company Simply Fit and later started online programs to encourage people across the globe to follow a healthy and clean lifestyle. He has recently collaborated with nutritionists from Korea to curate a wellness program tailored for Asian lifestyles and eating habits.
James has been involved in charity and philanthropy for a long time. TJG Foundation aims to provide food to underprivileged and malnourished children in Africa and Asia.
Where did the idea for Simply Fit come from?
My father moved to the USA from Australia and we settled in a neighborhood where people had kitchen gardens and they used to eat organic homegrown food. This inspired me toward clean eating and healthy living very early. I came in contact with a health and fitness trainer when I was a teenager and I decided to take it up as my profession. I did my Master of Professional Practice in Dietetics from Iowa State University and started my career as a personal trainer and a health coach in 2000.
In the first quarter of 2010, I started online programs to encourage people across the globe to follow a healthy and clean lifestyle. That became an instant hit and I decided to start my fitness and wellness company Simply Fit later that year.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I do what I preach. I follow a simple and healthy lifestyle. Early to bed early to rise! I wake up before sunrise and do my daily workout. I prefer a clean and organic diet. I go to my office around noon. Before going to the office, I spend my time doing research, recording weekly episodes of my podcast, taking part in its editing process, etc. Apart from being a nutritionist and diet coach, I am a very good chef. I cook for my family and friends. Whenever I feel less productive or less motivated, I turn to yoga for improving focus and regaining my energy. I sleep around 9 pm.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life is a complete process. Starting from research to discussion to validation to execution. But what helps bring any idea to life is the ability to take risks. I believe risk becomes your best friend when you give birth to an idea. If you can submit to this fact, you will approach the process with a lens that keeps your ambitions and dreams in perspective and on track. Things mess up and don’t go as planned but one needs to stay focused on one’s mission at hand. Never allow disruption to set you backwards. Risk is normal and will keep you looking forward.
You must have heard that “working hard” is imperative to bring ideas to life. But in fact, it is the most crucial commitment one must make to accept any form of risk management.
What’s one trend that excites you?
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one trend that continues to shine every year. HIIT workouts involve short bursts of activity with periods of rest. The benefit of HIIT training is that you can get in an intense workout in a relatively short period of time. The good thing about HIIT is that you can use bodyweight exercises and don’t require any special equipment. Most of the time, HIIT workouts can be customized to fit your range of abilities. A style of HIIT training known as ZUU is also an exciting thing. ZUU is inspired by the animal kingdom and delivers a tough full-body workout.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Following a set routine! Routines help me prioritize what’s important and knowing what I am doing each day helps me block distractions. My habits free up energy for more important tasks, boost my creativity and drive me forward.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn to take calculated risks! One must develop a system for assessing risk by writing out a list of all the pros and cons. Moving past the fear of failure is the key to success. Think about the upside of change and find ways to take on incremental risk. One must also seek advice from calculated risk-takers.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Confidence is overrated!
Instead of convincing yourself that “You can do everything!”, it’s better to be honest with yourself: “I don’t know how I will do — I am new at this — but I can try.” Contrary to what people tell you, it’s totally fine to feel shy, that you are not fully confident! It doesn’t mean you have a lack of confidence but you are realistic and honest with yourself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Networking! It is a must for an entrepreneur. The people you meet while networking may help you with all aspects of your business. I treat networking as part of my job requirement and allocate time in my work schedule to make connections. Scheduling it into my work day ensures that I make time for it, just as I would allocate time for a client meeting.
I use the old-fashioned shoe leather approach for networking. This means I put my feet to the pavement and get out there. Social networking and social media definitely have their place in small businesses, but so does face-to-face contact. I try to put a face to my name so that people can remember that. My name and my face is my brand. I have fun while sharing my enthusiasm about growing my business with those I meet.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I collaborate with other industry experts as a growth strategy. It helps my business break into a new market, and expand my customer base.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I started SimplyFit, I signed a contract for procuring fitness equipment and didn’t cross-check the vendor. That deal turned into a disaster. I had to invest a lot of time and energy to take up the matter legally to secure the refund but it was a serious mistake on my end.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Mobile fitness units or franchises are a great way to take your services on the road. This all-in-one model will help you reach larger numbers of clients and tow and stow an array of equipment from pull-up bars to bungee ropes. The novelty of this fitness model alone can generate a lot of interest.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently donated some bucks to TJG Foundation. TJG Foundation is a charity organization that aims to provide food to underprivileged and malnourished children in Africa and Asia.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Nudge Coach! It helps me manage my clients effectively. Both Android and iOS apps are available. It comes with several different features, including nutrition plans, reporting functionalities, fitness plans, and client management.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Ignite the Fire: The Secrets to Building a Successful Personal Training Career by Jonathan Goodman! This book actually ignites the entrepreneur inside you. It provides a clear road map to starting a personal training career and building a clientele. It shares the secret of establishing a great reputation and boosting income.
What is your favorite quote?
“We don’t need to be perfect… we just need to get started.”
- Learn to take risks
- Follow a routine
- Networking is the key to business growth
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.