From bodybuilder to businessman, James Ellis is firing on all cylinders. Having won numerous awards for his chiseled physique, including being named 2011’s WBFF Fitness Model World Champion, James has parlayed his fitness dedication into acting roles and, most recently, the development of his own workout video series, accessible on his website, JamesEllisFit.com. In the following interview, James shares some essential insights into how he approaches his gym workouts each day to inspire us all.
Conscious Connection: What first inspired you to pursue the fitness lifestyle full time?
James Ellis: I became serious about weight lifting in 2001 when I was a 20-year-old sophomore in college thanks to some roommates who were big into weight training. A few weeks in the gym and I was addicted to the adrenaline and the challenge of bettering my body and increasing my strength. I loved pushing myself, and my sessions soon adopted the “NO PAIN, NO GAIN” philosophy. I also became addicted to conquering the mental battles in the gym by visualizing success before each set.
It may sound kind of funny, but I often visualize King Kong on top of the Empire State building pounding his chest and then I do the same to conquer my set. Staying consistent with my weight training led me to compete in a couple of bodybuilding shows, namely the Mr. Indiana State University and Mr. Wabash bodybuilding shows, in both of which I was blessed with first place. Winning those two competitions was the key to me deciding to move to California and pursue this fitness lifestyle as both hobby and career.
Conscious Connection: Tell me more about your philosophy of mental, spiritual and physical health.
James Ellis: As you can see in my logo on my website, “Mentally, Spiritually, & Physically” appears underneath “JamesEllisFit” because I believe these three aspects are all meant to work together. When each element is healthy then you will have a much happier and well-balanced life. I placed “spiritually” in the middle because it holds my fit lifestyle together. In my experience, when one of these areas is struggling, it weakens the other areas. And, as the saying goes: “You are only as strong as your weakest link.”
I stay healthy ‘mentally’ by reading inspirational quotes, some of which are taped on my wall and others that are used as a background on my computer or phone. I always stay positive; I will never tell myself that I can’t do something. I write down attainable goals and mark them off as I reach them. To be healthy mentally you need to visualize success, believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who believe in you too.
Now the ‘spiritual’ side might be different for everyone, but for me it incorporates my belief in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I stay spiritually fit everyday by praying several times and reading my bible. I attend my home church on Sundays and go to a Men’s bible study weekly. I seek out my mother, father, mentor, & accountability partner for Godly wisdom when necessary too.
The ‘physical’ part is pretty self-explanatory, as I make sure to eat right, do my cardiovascular exercise, and put in my weight training sessions.
Conscious Connection: What are three things you do on a daily basis to stay in peak shape?
James Ellis: First, I plan and prepare each of my meals a day in advance. Next, I plan my workout time and routine a day in advance as well. It’s like going on a date: when you go on a date you set up a specific time and special plan, right? In general you always plan ahead for what is important to you. I look at my schedule for the next day and pencil in my gym time, and I know exactly what exercises I’ll be performing in that workout. When I go to the gym I mean business and it’s like punching in and out on the time clock like you would do for work.
Finally, I make sure that I am taking ‘good quality’ supplements that will keep my body as healthy as possible. Some examples are a good multi-vitamin, glucosamine, CLA, Omegas, glutamine, branched chain amino acids, probiotics, & protein powder (when needed).
Conscious Connection: What’s your number one goal-setting tip for our readers looking to transform their life?
James Ellis: In general, most people that struggle transforming their lives seem to lack motivation or discipline. Healthy motivation gives birth to great discipline, and the results of discipline keep that ‘motivation train’ fuelled up and running great.
The best way to stay disciplined is, as I said earlier, to set measurable and attainable goals and write them down. As you reach those goals you will want to set bigger and better ones. Again, as I mentioned before, find motivational quotes or pictures and tape them on your wall where you will read them every day. You want to surround yourself with this positivity. ALWAYS visualize success in everything you do; know that YOU ARE A CHAMPION. Every night before you go to bed you should make a list of the things you want to accomplish for the next day. If you want to be a success then you must plan every detail to be a success. The question is, how bad do you want it? Only you know how hard you are working, so don’t cheat yourself, but rather work as hard as you can.
Conscious Connection: How has your belief in God helped you stay disciplined and be successful?
James Ellis: My belief in God is a constant reminder that I’m not in life alone. I can always ask Him to guide and direct me every step of the way as I want to stay on His path of success and do things His way. I am always speaking Philippians 4:13 into my life and believing in it too: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” My power comes from what He chooses to do through me. He keeps me focused, grounded, and humble always and I am forever grateful for all He has done for me and will continue to do in and through me.
Conscious Connection: Any exciting new products or initiatives you’re working on?
James Ellis: I am currently filming tons of videos for the membership section of my website, which I hope to launch in late summer. I’ve been filming cardio stuff, exercise demonstrations, workout videos, cooking videos, motivational talks, spiritual talks, and it’s all been going incredibly well. I really can’t wait to launch the website and that has been my main focus over the last several months. Learn more at www.JamesEllisFit.com or follow me on Facebook and Twitter for daily inspiration and workout tips!