Virtual with Jim Bathurst

Virtual conversation

Jim Bathurst is an acrobat, weightlifter, personal trainer, head coach at Nerd Fitness, and the creator of Beast Skills. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (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.

Childhood role of movement

Movement played the role of social interaction. Many team sports, soccer etc. Movement was something social, hang out with friends and run around. Interestingly, his movement has become more solo over the years. Movement heroes: Baseball players, Cal Ripkin. High school/college switch to solo, Bruce Lee became an inspirational figure.


Inspiration and should… ‘should’ is a motivation killer. Examine your practice, your thoughts; how can you make it more fun? Enjoyment is a huge factor in continuing to keep up with a practice. Re-framing your thoughts in a more positive light to stay motivated.

Changing gears

Very personal, deciding when to change gears and whether to do it at all. Beast Skills, started as a blog in 2005 while studying to be a personal trainer. Initially just for himself, but it grew into the full website, and then seminars at Crossfit gyms. Huge blast, but eventually switched gears. 2013 became the director at Foggy Bottom Crossfit, focus shifted to building the gym rather than beast skills. 2016 changed again, came on Nerd Fitness full time. Each stage has fond memories, but the path continues. New things to explore. Sometimes very intentional, sometimes simply opportunity. When feeling restless, looking for a new opportunity to explore.

Learning to look back

Important to look back and remember past successes, not only failure. Handstand practice, one arm practice… fun and frustrating. Feeling frustrated in the moment, backing up and looking at the big picture of your journey. Gaining self perspective, getting away from negative self talk. It’s really fun to work with people who are just beginning their journey; bright eyed and filled with wonder. Reminds you of why you do it, refills your joy. Joy needs to be part of your journey, it’s not just about hitting goals, but continuing forward.

Nerd Fitness

Combination of Nerds and fitness is huge, the whole company is nerds. The ethos is empowerment, using nerd-dom. Leveling up yourself and your practice, as you would a character. Making it fun to stay motivated and enjoying the journey. Focusing on successes in other areas and applying them to fitness. Preconceived notions of what fitness is, and trying to change how people view it. Fitness: catch all word. Includes strength, workouts, nutrition, social… everything works together.

Leadership and coaching

Beast skills seminars, foundations classes, Nerd Fitness camp… all teaching rooms full of strangers. Great to take people through various progressions, celebrating the little victories. Empowering people, seeing their eyes light up, realizing their own capability.

Pitfalls of training methods

Often people don’t focus on sustainability; doing damaging things, not focusing on fun… getting injured and having to do surgeries. You can make that sacrifice willingly, but most people don’t realize the damage they do to themselves. Telling people to back off sometimes is so important, when you’ve seen what happens down the line. Making adjustments.

Something you wanted to try

Guitar and base guitar… played in high school, but hasn’t in ages. Started picking up guitar again recently. Nice to have something outside of fitness, to take a break sometimes. Slack lining something fun and different, wants to try high lining. The set up for both is a barrier for entry. Needs knowledge in addition to practice. Craig’s Slackline story, climbing in boulder, slackline over a river. Joy through slackline and training. Jim caught the bug years ago, documentary Flight of the Frenchies , slacklining to parachuting over fjords in Norway.

Three words

Craig’s three words originally from Vincent Thibault; strength, dignity, sharing/community. Changing to discovery, reflection, efficacy. Currently using as a framework, thinking about life. Circling back, in the moment is discovery, and stepping back and changing perspectives part of reflection that helps with motivation. Seasons of life, changing. Jim’s 3 words: Fun, adaptable, sustainable.

Reaching people, catalyzing change

Finding fun, spark, motivation. Many people sit around waiting for the spark; Action comes first, then spark and motivation. 20 seconds of courage, you can do anything for 20 seconds. The hardest part is breaking the inertia; so just get started!

Billboard for the world

“Say hi to your neighbor” - We’re often so focused on our individual pursuits that we forget to connect to our neighbors. Being able to reach out, say hello, ask or give help. Social connection is so important.

Contact and Further info

You can check out Jim’s work at Nerd Fitness on their website (, read free articles, and join the community. You can view Jim’s tutorials on Beast Skills ( You can also follow him on instagram (@beastskills), and Facebook.