The Dumbbell Dentist
October 19, 2016

James: Fit for Life

Today we post a long overdue interview about school teacher James Sheppard who is no stranger to fitness. The St. Michael School alumnus participated in a variety of sporting disciplines including cricket, tennis, table tennis and road tennis and has always been active. In 2009 while "messing about" in UWI's gym his direction changed. Read more about him below.
How old are you?
27

What industry do you work in?
Education

How and when did you get started in fitness? Tell us about your journey.
I started out back in 2009 or thereabout, just at UWI's gym messing about. For as long as I've known myself I have always been involved in some forms of physical activity. I met some interesting and quite frankly inspirational fitness figures along the way who motivated me in various ways; sometimes merely by watching them train. I became hungrier for more knowledge and a better physique around 2014 when I chose to enter my first men's physique competition. It has been a steady journey of growth and gains since then. A journey that I enjoy almost daily and wouldn't trade for the world!

What are some of your accomplishments in fitness/sport?
I've competed at multiple men's physique competitions locally and within the region and have also represented my secondary school the St. Michael school, in different sporting disciplines cricket, tennis, table tennis and road tennis to name a few.

When do you train?
Currently I train twice a day. At 7AM and then again in the evening once I'm finished training my various clients.

How many days of the week do you train?
Currently I train 5 days per week. Sometimes because I get involved with my client's sessions at varying points as necessary, I feel as if I train all 7 days of the week. (laughs)

How do you prepare for a workout? I usually stretch for about 3 minutes and sit quietly for another minute or two. Taking time to visualise one's workout and how you plan to target specific muscles while training is a hugely critical part of training which is often neglected.

How do you manage your workouts?
I usually just make sure that I train with an open mind to make adjustments during the workout depending on what my body is feeling and telling me it needs at that given point in time.

Do you prefer free weights or machines? No preference. Sometimes a machine gets the job done in a way that free weights won't do. Sometimes the opposite can be the case so I use all of the tools available to me equally.
shepfit ig

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Do you believe that recomping is possible (gaining muscle while losing fat)?
Most definitely I've seen it happen often so it's definitely not within the realm of impossible.

How do you manage your nutrition?
I try to eat balanced meals throughout the day and again listening to your body and its needs and NOT wants is critical. I also make sure that I have an adequate amount of calories to fuel my workouts and that I don't overdo it when I am not training.

What are your long and short term goals?
Long term I would love to inspire and motivate as many persons in fitness as I can. My daily goal is to influence others to be a fitter, healthier and an overall better version of themselves.

What is your favourite body part/body part that you are most proud of?
I'm not sure I have a favourite one per say. (laughs) I think they all need some work.

Do you have any problem areas?
Doing regular cardio is a problem for me. It is something I struggle with.

What are some of the biggest training mistakes you have made?
Neglecting to train body parts because I thought they would get to big. Boy have I learned from that lesson all those years ago!!

Team Eat clean or Team IIFIYM?
1000 calories of diet Pepsi or 1000 calories of chicken, fish veggies and fruit.....I think I'd take the healthier option. All calories were not created equally.

What are your favourite meals?
Plain rice with seasoned chicken cutlets.

Do you have “cheat meals”? What are your favourite ones?
Not a fan of the concept of a cheat meal. It makes eating healthy sound like punishment or a hard test that needs to be cheated on. However, a favourite meal of mine is the spicy beef nachos at Cafe Sol! !

What supplements do you take if any?
Fish oil...fish oil more fish oil and a multivitamin. I take the occasional probiotics as well to ensure good gut health. I like to keep it simple with the supplementation.

When eating out, where do you go to find a tasty healthy meal?
Well anywhere really. If I'm dieting and eating out I order things that aren't on the menu to suit my needs. Everyone has veggies at their restaurant. Everyone has protein sources too so I ask for those.

What is the most challenging part of your journey?
Being consistent with my levels of fitness in spite of life's other challenges.

What sacrifices have you had to make?
Time is the greatest thing one has to sacrifice to get and maintain good health and vitality.

What have you learned about yourself and others along the way?
People change all the time, 45lb plates remain the same!

Have you had any negative comments about your appearance or lifestyle? How do you deal with them?
Not as of yet to be honest.....maybe I need to be training harder to get to that level. I welcome it.

What motivates you?
The fact that no matter what I do today as long as I can wake up tomorrow, I have a chance to be even more awesome than I ever was before.

Who inspires you?
Well there's no one person. Cancer survivors really deeply inspire me. Their will to fight for their lives literally and when they come out on top that is hugely admirable to me.

Favourite Quote?
Making excuses doesn't burn calories

What advice do you have for people looking to get in shape?
Want it for yourself. It won't be easy starting off but knowing in your heart that this is for you first and foremost is one of the greatest understandings one could have about their fitness life and journey. Want to get in shape and be fit first and foremost for you.

Any final words?
I'm really quite honoured for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and feelings. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

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