This is the website of a ‘FFB’ (former fat boy) who’s experienced every spectrum of the health and fitness rainbow. I have been borderline obese and borderline anorexic.
I didn’t see my abs until I was 22 years old. Yep, not even as a kid! As a teenager I tipped the scales at over 100kg and had a 38 inch waist at one time. My daily diet was 3 square takeaway meals EVERY DAY & would often guzzle down TWO LITRES of Dr Pepper per day!
By 2013, at the age of 22 I weighed a measly 60 kg at a fraction under 6 feet tall. To put this in context, in the photo above I weighed 82/83kg.
Like you, I wanted to change but didn’t necessarily know exactly how. Although common sense told me if I worked hard enough, regularly enough, something would happen. So, I embarked on daily cardio while reducing my food intake and slowly eradicating the ‘crap’ foods/drinks in my diet – largely the takeaways & the full fat soft drinks.
We had a treadmill in our garage that was classically unused which I deployed in my war against my 21 year old ‘beer belly’, as fittingly coined by my sister at the time. Running faster and further each day, 6 months went by and my weight literally FELL off me. At one point I think I lost over 7lbs in a week!
None of this phased me and I loved feeling lighter and seeing my new found ‘definition’ and ‘muscle’. The questions about my well being were just down to others’ resistance of me making a change and them not being able to, so I told myself……….
In the end, I saw sense and was tired of being a slave to cardio and fearing a rest day would send me right back where I’d just slogged so hard to free myself from.
I knew it was time to try and gain ‘good weight’ (muscle); my arms had gone from 15/15.5 inches (albeit in a fat condition) to barely 12.5 inches! Again, for context, they’re virtually 16 inches today.
I invested in a home barbell set and did the classic 5×5 barbell routine. I stuck to this militantly but suffice to say, it didn’t produce the superhero 30-40 lb pure mass gains in your first year the marketing rogues online tout……..
By Late summer 2014 I weighed 70 kg on the nose and had starting working professionally in fitness. It was bittersweet in many ways as I had to give up on my initial ambitions of being professional in the world of cue sports (pool & snooker). I’d lost in a big tournament that spring and with it, had ran completely out of money.
My dad, bless him, was willing to carry on supporting me as he has done throughout my whole life but I knew I just couldn’t keep on like this anymore; I had to call it quits, alas. Funnily enough my initial drive to get fit and shape up was to benefit my pool & snooker playing. I hypothesized that I would be able to concentrate better if I was fitter and be more confident generally if I was happier about the way I looked………
(On holiday in Malaga, Spain (September 2018) – weighing in around 84/85 kg & holding a ‘Front Lever’; well into my calisthenics journey at this point)
By the beginning of of 2015 I was working as a personal trainer and gym instructor in a mainstream gym. I continued there and went on to self employment in mid 2018, where I still am now.
Despite working full time in the industry my passion never faded. I still loved being around fitness and doing my own training. Obviously I had days where I’d second guess my results and seek a deeper meaning for everything but even as of late 2020, I still train as much as I can and still genuinely love training people one on one and in groups.
The Calisthenics Era
Over the years I began getting more and more into calisthenics and bodyweight training (the full story behind that can be found in my interview with bulkhackers.com) and I can honestly say this style of training has led to more progress strength wise and aesthetically than weight training ever did! You’ll see the trend shifting on this site from mid 2017 to now, where most of my content is more orientated towards this style of training, although you’ll also see I’m not dogmatic about it and use all modalities with myself and clients.
The last few years have led me to getting guys their first ring muscle ups in less than 6 months, getting girls their first dips and chin ups, coaching guys in their 60s to more strength and mobility than ever before, as well as all the regular gym training I do with clients and the online/remote coaching I do specifically for calisthenics.
I’m currently a personal trainer & movement/strength coach, specialising in calisthenics & bodyweight training, working among the fitness industry in the U.K. and I’ve worked with various people overseas thanks to online coaching/programming.
I hope you enjoy reading through the near 300 articles on my site. Incredible to think it’s been over 6 years since I started this ‘blog’.
Below you can find my academic qualifications and below that you can find my REAL WORLD qualifications 😉
- Level 3 Personal Trainer
- Level 3 GP referral qualified
- Indoor cycling instructor
- Kettlebell instructor
- Pilates trained
- TRX/Suspension trained
- Les Mills’ Body Balance trained
- Trained in Olympic Weightlifting
- ICG Indoor Cycling Trained
- Attended Emmet Louis’ Modern Methods Of Mobility Seminar (2017)
- Attended Tom Merrick & UlrikOnHands’ Hand Balancing & Bodyweight Skills Workshop (2019)
- Attended Keegan Smith’s Functional Movement Seminar (January 2020)
- Enrolled in Flexibility Research’s Master Trainer Course (current)
- Taught hundreds of fitness classes including Yoga, Pilates, Circuit Training, Spinning and more recently calisthenics/gymnastic/handstand based classes.
- Worked with hundreds of people one on one & online, with results spanning body transformation, injury rehab, posture enhancement, strength/muscle gain & most recently coached numerous people in the realm of Calisthenics/Bodyweight & Gymnastics strength training – with many clients achieving muscle ups, back levers and getting far stronger across the board.
- Building upon that, I’ve co-delivered two Calisthenics & Bodyweight Strength Training Workshops at GAIN Fitness (Norwich, UK) alongside Ollie Brown of Redevelop Movement – one in November 2018 & another in January 2019.
- Delivered various handstand & arm balance workshops across Essex from 2019 to present
- Written articles for unmeasuredfitnes.com and bodyweighttrainingarena.com
- Been a guest (twice) on The UnmeasuredFitness Podcast (LINK)
- Was featured in an interview for bulkhackers.com – https://www.bulkhackers.com/james-ruckert/
- Was a judge at Lee Wade Turner’s End of year class calisthenics championships (December 2019)
- Ran a busy weekly Calisthenics class for CastlePoint Leisure (April 2019 – March 2020 – Only stopped due to Covid 19!)
- Currently run a weekly Calisthenics class for Southend Street Gym (August 2020 to present)
- Currently run a weekly Calisthenics class for Island Gym (May 2021 to present)
- Currently cover Lee Wade Turner’s Recession Proof Body Calisthenics Classes at Kennington Park when Lee’s away (July 2021 to present)
- Delivered a Calisthenics & Gymnastics rings workshop for Castlepoint Leisure (November 2021)
(A 25/25 strong turnout for our Calisthenics & Bodyweight Strength Training Workshop, November 2018)
(Action shots from many calisthenics classes coached for Recession Proof Body at Kennington Park)
With Lee Wade Turner, Greg Cornthwaite & Terry Sherwood (@turboreps) as part of the judging for Lee’s End Of Year Calisthenics Class Championships (December 2019, Crossfit Aldgate East).
Phone – 07944745338 (UK mobile number)
E-mail – email@example.com (I am now available for personal training (in the UK), online coaching, guest blog posts, interviews and more. Just send me an email and we’ll go from there!)
Instagram – @straight_talking_fitness
Thanks for stopping by. Shout your own blog out down below if you’d like.