Jim Bathurst: Coaching, self-awareness, and getting started

Episode summary

Jim Bathurst (250)
Jim Bathurst

When Jim Bathurst first began his fitness blog in college, he never imagined it would lead to a successful career as a personal trainer and coach. He shares his journey from athlete to coach, and how he approaches helping people. Jim discusses setting and achieving goals, recharging his energy, and music. He reflects on changes with Beast Skills and Nerd Fitness, and recent challenges he’s faced.

Jim Bathurst is an acrobat, weightlifter, personal trainer, head of Fitness at Nerd Fitness, and the creator of Beast Skills. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the NSCA and has been coaching people for 15 years now. During that time, he received the award of Best Personal Trainer in Washington DC, as well as the award for Best CrossFit Gym while he was Director of CrossFit Foggy Bottom. Jim brings his experience in gymnastics and calisthenics to his work outs and tutorials, breaking down difficult bodyweight exercises into manageable progressions.

Highlight [0:00]

Jim (00:00:04):
People just get caught in the same habit loops over and over again. We were in the same situation a month ago, a year ago, whatever it might be. And you did this, this and this well now, same, same situation. And you did a little bit better than before this. This is progress. And they Don even realize that, you know, like as a coach, you’re, you’re watching all these steps, you’re watching all this progress and they don’t even realize it. So it’s absolutely important because if you are just waiting months, years, whatever, to hit a PR and then, Hey, that’s the only time I celebrate. That’s not sustainable either. You know, , that’s a really terrible way to go. It’s just like, oh man, I, I, I don’t celebrate for years at a time, you have to celebrate all those little steps along the way.

Intro [0:41]

Prioritization [2:09]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Prioritizing training, rearranging, getting creative
  • Affects of friends and family on training
  • Societal and social pressure around “healthy” behaviors
  • Building awareness of automatic behavior

Beginning to Coach [13:09]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Jim’s journey from athlete to coach; starting Beast Skills
  • Finding clients motivations, building rapport
  • Gaining energy from people

Recharging [18:54]

Connecting with clients [24:04]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Celebrating the small moments in between larger victories
  • Noticing the changes, progress; importance to sustainability
  • Energy of juggling many clients, balancing out connections
  • Learning each clients baseline, noticing changes and challenges
  • Importance of communication

Storytime [35:38]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Story of personal growth or trying new things
  • Trying out an electric surfboard; saying yes to new things, giving it a try without fear
  • Pushing his comfort zone

Video [39:45]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Current project with Nerd Fitness; video creation
  • Being on camera, putting yourself out there
  • Editing vs live streaming
“Yeah, just be bold about it. I think with that as well too, putting yourself out there with content, if we're talking about content, there was some saying—I'm gonna butcher it—but it's like, you think that everyone is caring about you and like judging you or whatever, but in actuality when you first start off, no one is even listening to you, and that's not a depressing thought. It's more, just a, should be a liberating thought. Like, you know what? Yeah, exactly. Don't panic. Just do what you can put stuff out there and just grow from there.”

Jim Bathurst

Jim (00:45:49):
Oh, there’s, I mean, there’s so many people with so many different things to share in the movement community, in the physical, you know, culture community, and now it’s, it’s easier than ever. Let’s be serious. It’s easier than ever to create stuff and get things out there, you know, and distribute it a lot more than it was in the past. And yeah. A lot of times people are just, they’re not doing it because again, they’re a little bit afraid. They’re a little bit never

Craig (00:46:08):
Done it before. Right. Exactly.

Jim (00:46:09):
I can do that. Yeah. And I mean, I mean, when I started and, and it’s one of those things, like you just, you do whatever you can and then you start growing and building from there, you know, no one ever just comes up with a finished product. So like again, when I, when I started back in oh five, it was the, the free blog. Was it blogger, blogger.com? I

Continue reading…

Craig (00:46:25):
Think it blogger was many years ago. Was that on my brain’s like, I can’t do math like 16 years,

Jim (00:46:30):
16 years. That’s what I’m saying. 16 years ago. This last year. Yeah. Boy. So with that, that was, yeah. The Beast skills.blog spot.com or something. If that was the original. Yeah. Sorry. Anyway, the point is like, it was just like, Hey, I’m just gonna make posts. I’m just gonna make really like, just simple posts about my training or whatever it might be. I wasn’t thinking about the end result. I was just thinking like, what am I doing right now? And then can I do a little bit better? Cuz I think also, and then honestly this goes, even with just people’s practice as well, they see a lot of people’s end results. Mm-Hmm and they see a lot of people’s like PRS, but they don’t see the start. They don’t see the process. And you need to realize that, you know, just start wherever you’re at and then take that next step forward that next step forward. Don’t worry if it’s not, if it doesn’t look as polished in terms of like content creation, you know, don’t worry if it’s not as polished as someone else’s it’s it’s not going to be it’s it’s gonna have to start easy. Or if you’re doing a handstand, you know, maybe you fall down, it doesn’t look really good. It’s not a good straight line, but like have fun with the process and realize it’s just, it is just a process, you know know. So yeah.

Craig (00:47:30):
I, my Craigs, there’s something wrong with me. My brain is weird. I’m chuckling because I scrolled backwards through your Instagram account. Mm-Hmm blank last night. And I, what I love to do is I just like the, just go way back, you know, there’s the do some deep cuts? No, the, the meme of the, I forget which character just from south park, it’s the little kid and he’s sitting on the bus and his feet, aren’t touching the floor and he’s like, I’m in danger. Yeah. You know? Right.

Jim (00:47:53):
It’s I knew exactly what you talking about. It was Ralph Ralphy hands,

Craig (00:47:57):
No room to fall and you’re losing your balance. yeah. It’s like the meme is perfect. I’m in danger. What could go wrong? yeah. Yeah. But that’s that like circles back to putting yourself out there? I think, I mean, maybe don’t do your handstand, the traffic on the median, like okay. But, but yeah. They’re but

Jim (00:48:12):
Yeah, just be bold about it. I think with that as well too, putting yourself out there with content, if we’re talking about content, there was some saying—I’m gonna butcher it—but it’s like, you think that everyone is caring about you and like judging you or whatever, but in actuality when you first start off, no one is even listening to you, and that’s not a depressing thought. It’s more, just a, should be a liberating thought. Like, you know what? Yeah, exactly. Don’t panic. Just do what you can put stuff out there and just grow from there. And yeah, I guess same thing with just your practice as well, too, in terms of your training, like, you know, if you’re at the gym and you, you know, I’ve done plenty of silly things at the gym where I’ve knocked my with a barbell or falling over or whatever, like things happen, you know? No big deal. Yeah. You don’t worry about it because again, most people are gonna forget about it, you know, the next day. So yeah.

Podcasting [43:48]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Conversation, riffing back and forth
  • Just starting the process, in podcasting or anything
  • Everyone is focused on their own journey

Music [49:00]

Nerd Fitness updates [51:15]

Craig (00:59:36):
I’m just watching the time. So I mean, I’m good. I do this. Yeah. Yeah. anything else jump to mind of like, cuz you really did bring a list, so yeah, sure. Yeah.

Jim (00:59:47):
Let’s see while we’re talking about just various projects and whatnot, so yeah. So nerd fitness has been a blast and, and kept nerd fitness coming up in terms of Beast skills. So I’m currently, and I thought, I think this is, this has also been good this past year, year and a half of being able to back up from stuff with beast skills and really try to hone in on my message that I want and hone in on what it’s going to look like. That’s hard. Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s definitely hard. I’m working on a site revamp right now. I haven’t, I haven’t redone the site in years and years and years it’s been, it’s been, you know, it’s a side project, you know, so cuz I’m putting a lot of effort or fitness, but doing a site revamp on that one and refocusing it and like, what do I really want it to be?

Continue reading…

Jim (01:00:27):
And like what do I want it to grow as, because this is kind of swinging back to your, your conversation about like a journey. When I first started at 2005, again, couple years outta college, I wanna share some experience, you know, and I wanna share my training and I, you know, put out the information there and I put out the tutorials and just pushing out information and how to do like how to articles is good, but there’s, there’s the same information out there in a thousand different places. So you need, you need that underlying message. No, no, I think yours

Craig (01:00:59):
Just pretty unique, but sorry. Keep going. No, no.

Jim (01:01:02):
And I appreciate that, but like to really get something, to really stick with someone like they wanna be able to identify with the underlying message mm-hmm the underlying ethos. So I I’ve done a, I’ve done been doing a sort of, a lot of reflection over this past year of like, okay, yes, I do a handstand and I do this and that, but why am I doing this? What is like, so of my overall training again, ethos and like, how can I convey that? And then what does that mean for the site? What does that mean for like my messaging and what I offer and things like that from B skills. So a lot of that, it’s not just a matter of, oh, make the website look pretier it’s like, what does the website now convey? And I think that, especially the one trap that I was definitely fallen into, I’d say decade or so ago is I was giving the tutorials and again, great information, but I was making it almost too much about myself and I had run a site B skills. So I must always be able to do all these skills and I must be the best at these skills. Whereas I don’t want that to be you the case. Right. I don’t want it to be the case. Right.

Craig (01:02:05):
Yeah. You want your clients to

Jim (01:02:06):
Surpass you, right? Yeah. And, and I want to yeah, I, I wanna, I wanna be able to push a message rather than just the Jim show, you know, as it were, I don’t know if that’s a complete ramble, but I guess, I guess the thing is just really trying to crystallize the message and, and what is the website going to be able to do for other people as I relaunch it and as I revamp

Craig (01:02:24):
It, so I, I think that’s, I was gonna say, that’s the hard work. Like, you know, the hard work, the good work, everybody should do that work, but it’s also, you can’t do that work on day one. Right. You have to, you have to like, like I have a blog and it’s been going every day, over 10 years and there’s over 3000 posts. And like, sometimes I go back and look at the beginning posts and I’m like, oh my God. You know, like maybe I should delete that. No, it’s all, you know, leave it there for the, the sedimentary record. Yeah. And I, I think there’s no way that I could have imagined, I don’t know, actually we’ve stopped numbering the episodes, which is a whole different Diri we don’t even know what number this is. Yeah. But with something like a hundred and, and I’m like, I had no clue where this was going.

Craig (01:03:03):
Yeah. You know, and this there’s a hundred other episodes in other shows. And I had no idea where I was going with this. So I think you make a great point about like, it’s clear that it’s something I was gonna say you’re struggling with. I don’t mean it in a negative way, but you’re like really struggling with what, what, what should my site be? Like, what should, and how do I like me? I’m like, yeah. And how do I make a podcast that like brings people on a journey if they’re only on this episode? Yeah. Like not, oh, like you dive in. You’re like, what is going on here? I don’t understand. Correct. Maybe that’s the case, but like there’s a real difficult project that I think everybody eventually gets to about. Yeah. Here’s my journey. So yeah, there’s a scrapbook aspect to it, but also how do I help people like, oh, here’s cut the corner, like go from here. And like, you can save yourself eight years kind of thing. Yeah. And I really, I applaud your efforts to like, do that level of physician healed by self, like looking at your own work. Cause that’s really hard.

Jim (01:03:55):
Oh, it’s, it’s definitely tough. And, and realizing that you have to do that, realizing that you have to reflect and say, okay, okay. Yeah, what exactly am I trying to say? Like, yes, I would still love to put out, you know, tutorials and things like that, but you know, is my site going to be like, I’m not going to be necessarily pushing seminars cause I’m not doing seminars right now. I’m not necessarily going to be advertising online coaching cuz I’m not really pulling in, you know, new clients for online coaching. So what else can I kind of do, you know, on the site and what else can I kind of highlight on the site that will beneficial.

Beast Skills [59:36]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Currently working on website revamp
  • Refocusing his messaging
  • How his vision for it has changed over the years
  • Reflective journey, putting in the hard work
  • Coaching coaches, how that fits in

Superpowers [1:05:12]

“I hear that with, I hear that with clients a lot as well, too, where we will set up a plan of course. And okay. Our intention this week is to eat healthy, or do this workout, or do this training program, or whatever it might be. And it's, it's not a matter of if—it's a matter of when something's gonna go sideways. Like, the whole concept of like, oh, this was so unexpected. If you really think about it, it's not unexpected. It's not a matter of if and when; it's, something's gonna go crazy, you're gonna get stressed, you know, flat tire, whatever it's gonna be. It is, it is 100% going to happen, you know? At some point in a long enough timeline. So one, don't be surprised that something happens and two, don't be upset that something happens. And three, like we should have talked about it in the start. What's what's your backup plan, you know?”

Jim Bathurst

Planning ahead [1:06:43]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Promptness and lateness, Mike Birbiglia skit
  • Planning things out, asking for help
  • Video production, delegating
  • Planning in relation to training; Happy Body program by Jerzy Gregorek
  • Planning for things to go wrong, preparing back up plans
  • Following a program, being coached; outside viewpoint

Craig (01:20:38):
So what are some tips that you can give people who might be thinking I’m really good at something? Yeah. And I want to get into more coaching. Like how do you, how would you encourage them to follow that passion?

Jim (01:21:17):
Yeah. No great, great question. So yeah, you definitely can. So for me, for just personal training, just like straight up personal training, that was a matter of, you know, getting a certification, finding a gym to work at things like that. So that was, I think, fairly traditional in that regard with everything else with beast skills, it’s a matter of getting out there, connecting with people. And I don’t mean in like a sleazy network way, just be like, oh, there’s an event here or someone’s doing something here or just again, talking to people, reaching out to people and maybe asking them a question or two, if you’ve got a question, not hounding them with questions, but just getting information. Yeah. But being able to connect with people like that can really help. And then there’s a lot of lateral thinking like, yes like for personal training as an example, like you could be a personal trainer and then you could be a manager and then you could own a gym that could be a very sort of vertical line.

Continue reading…

Jim (01:22:01):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s a line and for some people it’s great. For me it never was never was really kind of what I wanted to do. But you know, I, I noticed that it, you know, in terms of different ways to like laterally think over the years let’s see. I was a a Lululemon brand ambassador. So I actually taught like handstand classes and like barbell classes at like Lululemon facilities. Mm-Hmm and that was something that like my friend had talked about it and I had a couple other friends in the DC area that done it. So I’m like, this sounds great. I’ll be able to connect with people. I’ll be able to like hone what eventually became, you know, my, my seminars. So this is a good way to just kind of continue doing what I love and connect with people.

Jim (01:22:39):
So I did that. I coached at a high school. I started up, my buddy was a, a teacher there and he’s like, Hey, you know what, there’s a lot of my kids who you know, they wanna like be like, get stronger and whatnot, but we really don’t have any sort of facilities. This is at school without walls in DC. And it’s like, we really don’t have any sort of facilities to work out in any sort of like expertise, you know, would you wanna come in and like help out, you know, like once or twice a week? Sure. No problem. So we went in there, we were able to then secure, you know, bump like over the years, secure bumper plates, secure, you know rings to hang from like the rafters, right? All these different pieces of equipment. And I was getting these kids to do all these exercises.

Jim (01:23:15):
They loved, you know, they’re learning Olympic lifting and handstands and stuff like that. So that kind of taught me another skill set. So, and then I was also for a number of years helping and teach at elementary school in DC oyster Adams. And that was running kids through like little like playground recess sort of exercises. Oh, neat. When their playground was under renovation. So anyway, I, I guess my point is is just continue to look for those opportunities. You know, I think a lot of times people just get stuck on one line, whereas there’s so many other different ways to connect with people and to teach them like what you love and what, you know, and always kind of have your ear to the ground for those opportunities. And not to say you need to over commit, but something that makes you feel like, Ooh, I might be able to do this.

Jim (01:23:56):
Like, this is, feels like a little bit outside my comfort zone that, but that’s interesting. Yeah. But that’s yeah. But yeah, but exactly, but that’s interesting. Okay. I’m gonna do it. Like I knew I’d be able to coach high school kids or, you know, elementary school kids. Like it would be different from what I normally did, but I’m going to give this a go and step outside my comfort zone and you just need to continually look for those opportunities and they just build on, on top of each other. Maybe it’s something that you do for a short period and then put it away. Maybe it’s something that grows into seminars and, and whatever they need to do. So,

Craig (01:24:23):
Yeah. Thanks for sharing that.

Beginning coaching [1:20:21]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Making connections, putting yourself out there, asking questions
  • Lateral thinking in terms of opportunity - Lululemon ambassador, working with schools
  • Constant eye out for different, interesting opportunities

Craig (01:24:34):
Well I just wanna be mindful of your time. We’re caught up on an hour and a half. So I, I think as much as I hate to do it, I will just say, and of course the final question, mm-hmm, three words to describe your

Jim (01:24:43):
Practice. So you asked me this last, last year. Yeah. And I we’re gonna check. No, it’s okay. No, I can check the video. No, no, no, no. It’s a, I watched the video just as a refresher, just so I didn’t contradict myself too much. over the past year and a half, you are prepared. I would. No, it’s okay. I would say well, first of all, I watch the video and I watch my coworkers always laugh at me for this, but I watch everything at like two X speed, like two and a half X speed, like in terms of videos, because it’s so great to be able to go super fast through stuff. If I’m like watching a YouTube video or watching things like that. Anyway. But your question for three words, I think honestly, I think they are still the same, which was, might make my practice fun.

Jim (01:25:24):
I still wanna be able to enjoy what I’m doing. So if I ever feel like I’m not enjoying my training, I then step back and think, okay, I’m not having fun. Is that because I’m doing this training because it’s expected of me or that’s, that’s a big thing. I always kind of wrestle with. Like, I need to make sure that I’m having fun and doing it for my own reasons. The other, the ne the second word for my practice would be adaptability still, especially, I’d say over the past year and a half, everyone’s had to be very adaptable, adaptable, very adaptable to their training. And I still think that’s very important, whether, whether it’s a matter of, you know, environmental, you know, changes that you need to adapt to, or whether it’s just a matter of, Hey, you know what? I had an injury or a different interest, and I wanna change things around.

Jim (01:26:08):
So I think adaptability is still important. And then, yeah, sustainability, sustainability, the third word, which again, is a matter of, I love doing this. How do I continue keeping that energy up and how do I continue loving doing this? And anytime, you know, if you’re doing something and then you stop loving it, you’re like, okay, what do I need to do to step back and recharge? Like we talked about earlier, because it’s, it’s really and I’ve, I’ve been in those places myself before where I feel myself or I have gotten burnt out and I’m like, man, I should have, I should have taken a step back a little bit earlier and recharged a bit earlier so that I can keep things, you know, on a more sustainable pace. And yeah, those are the three words. So sweet. Yeah.

Craig (01:26:50):
Thank you so much. No problem. I always joke. I want just press stop when you finish talking, I’m just, we’re just

Jim (01:26:56):
Gonna smash all the equipment and done.

Craig (01:26:57):
No, no, please. Don’t smash. I got SIG more soon. Yeah. But yeah, no, I, I really appreciate your, your perspective taking the time to like do this again. Cause we did this once before. I think we got to a lot of different stuff, I think, than we did last time, but I purposely didn’t wanna watch the video because I always worry about like pre coloring what I’m gonna do. And now I’m like, well, I hope that was as good as I think it was, but yeah. Thanks for taking the time. Thanks for doing the hard work of like coming and finding the spot. Cuz I coming from hours and hours away. Really appreciate

Jim (01:27:26):
It. No problem. Yeah, absolutely. My pleasure.

3 words [1:24:35]

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