In his personal health & fitness journey, James Atkinson has experienced it all: he has been overweight and unfit, skinny and weak, a long distance runner, competing bodybuilder and personal trainer. Through personal experience, Atkinson has learned the importance of good diet, smart training and metal strength. As our Author of the Day, he tells us about his latest book, his journey and the motivation behind it.
Please give us a short introduction to what " Health And Fitness Tips That Will Change Your Life" is about.
This book was actually inspired by readers of another book that I published in 2016 called “Fitness & Exercise Motivation”
Being motivated enough to start a fitness, health or new lifestyle plan is one thing but harnessing that motivation is what makes all the difference.
Health & Fitness Tips That Will Change Your Life” is a yearlong plan designed to be a realistic approach for any beginner or anyone who is struggling to achieve weight loss or other fitness goals. The book outlines small changes to mind set, diet or exercise that can be made every two weeks. There are also some personal stories and anecdotes relating to my own journey.
How did you remain motivated enough to go from overweight and unfit, skinny and weak to being a long distance runner, competing bodybuilder and personal trainer?
Great question! This subject is at the heart of my message and resonates throughout my entire work. First, I had a goal and that goal was fashioned because I had a reason.
Motivation to hit any goal, in fitness or otherwise is a powerful tool but without a reason to get motivated, it won’t even be there.
I had different reasons for each type of physical change that I have made, but my reasons were all very powerful. I have actually now grown to enjoy the personal challenge that comes with such a project and the feeling of achievement that waits at the end.
How important is diet in maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
In my opinion, diet is one of the more important aspects of health and fitness as it takes more effort, planning, education and time than exercise and mind-set. Compared to exercise, diet is something that needs to be actioned multiple times per day, every day, whereas exercise is normally a “once per day” thing for maybe an hour.
But as mentioned in my book, diet is only the first part of the picture, you should use mind set and exercise as well to make the true masterpiece.
If you could summarize it in one sentence, what is the main secret to achieving long-term weight loss and fitness?
Look at long term plans, make it a lifestyle not a fad, always progress and challenge yourself, stay consistent, get back up if you fall or are knocked down and most importantly, NEVER give up!
What reaction have you had to this book so far?
I am always nervous about putting a new book out there but I actually had some great feedback from the proof reader. He was very sincere and this gave me a big confidence boost. So far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and I have already connected with some new interesting people.
Some of my already loyal readers have actually told me that this is my best yet. I really enjoyed writing this book and I am very pleased that they are so happy with it too.
Do you have any interesting examples of people who used your guidance and turned around their lives?
It is becoming more frequent that I hear from people telling me that they have used the advice in my books to change things and it’s such a great feeling that my guides are making a difference to people’s lives. I always welcome feedback and contact from readers and have made many new friends. The story of one guy that contacted me last year springs to mind – He was in his mid-forties and had become out of shape due to lifestyle choices and circumstance. He had found one of my audio books and after listening to it, he made a plan and set about putting it into action.
He is now training regularly, is in great shape and has taken to hiking.
This is an amazing transformation and we still keep in contact. He is a real inspiration!
If you were to start from the beginning today, how would you approach this?
This question is actually the question that “Health & Fitness Tips That Will Change Your Life” answers directly. If I was in my mid-thirties (as I am today), had sat around playing computer games, eaten what I wanted, never trained and paid no interest to health and fitness in my entire life. I would follow the exact steps in this book. Fortunately, I took a different path, and I have the knowledge and metaphoric scars to be able to make some jaw dropping fitness and lifestyle changes. The chapter in the book named “A different path” will set the scene.
How do you feel about cheat meals or cheat days?
Cheat meals are something that I actually use as part of my motivation. I am probably the world’s biggest pizza lover and almost definitely the world’s biggest cheeseburger fan, and when it comes to Chinese takeaway food, I am definitely the biggest enthusiast….. In fact, I love all types of “no no “ foods. But we all know if you make these foods a regular part of your diet, it is not going to be good for you. So every Saturday night is cheat night for myself and “mrs JimsHealthAndMuscle”. We eat very cleanly all week long and as a reward, not only do we see the health benefits of this but we get to enjoy some foods that are off limits.
This doesn’t work for everyone, but the bottom line is to understand that you should moderation, make your diet at least 90% good and you won’t go far wrong.
Why is it important for people to set realistic goals when it comes to weight loss and fitness?
Every small goal that you achieve is a stepping stone to the big seemingly unrealistic goal.
This is why I always say that you should dream big, but you should build solid foundations and have a good long term plan before even starting out.
I wouldn’t tell anyone that their weight loss goal is unrealistic, but their plans and expectations might be. This is where a lot of people slip up.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? How do you make time to write?
I am a very slow writer and it takes a lot of concentration for me to produce anything. This is why I set aside a full day for writing at least once per week when I have a project on. I can only write when I am alone and have no distractions, so I have to take little Lebowski (my little Jack Russel terrier) for a long walk first thing to tire him out so he can curl up at my feet while I spend the day concentrating. Little Lebowski has helped me write every single one of my books and he even makes an appearance in one!
Please give us three good-to-know facts about you.
I have played World of warcraft for over 11 years, I have a qualification in carpentry and joinery, I have been growing bonsai trees since I was 18.
What are you working on right now?
I plan on turning some of my exercise books into video courses as I have been asked if this will ever happen by readers. There are plans already in motion for this but it is a pretty daunting task for me and I will really need to work on my demeanour in front of a camera as I have a face for radio J
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
As well as connecting with me, you can find out lots of info on all things fitness, diet and exercise over at my website – JimsHealthAndMuscle.com
There’s all sorts of stuff here, even a bunch of healthy recipes based on fast food favourites that I invented myself.
I always love hearing from people who have found my books useful and I always try to help where I can.