049 – The Art and Science of Fitness Coaching with OPEX founder James FitzGerald

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On the podcast today we are very lucky to have James FitzGerald! James is the founder of OPEX Fitness, an amazing coaching platform and James’ progressive and steadfast approach to health, strength, and wellness is truly an inspiration. A major tenet of OPEX and James’ vision is longevity and they put a lot of focus on fitness in the long run rather than short term goals. In our conversation, we cover James’ early work as a fitness coach and how this eventually led to the founding of his company. We discuss Jame’s evolving belief and understanding of fitness and exercise and he even gives us some of his hierarchy for what makes a good coach.

We talk about blind spots, habituation, and assessment framework and James makes a great argument for the need to walk, breath and meditate, something we agree with wholeheartedly! The second half of the show is spent talking about OPEX, its grounding principles and the way they approach training coaches and then training clients. We unpack programming and more at the gym, all of which fit into a really foundational and sustainable model. We finish off considering the usefulness of bodybuilding as a way to achieve excellence in all areas of your life. This is an episode you are not going to want to miss, so make sure to listen in!


  • How James fell in love with working in the trenches and the essence of his work. [4:27]
  • The genesis of OPEX and how the company built out from a simple idea. [7:58]
  • James’ own health and fitness journey and how his perspective has evolved. [11:27]
  • Coaching blindspots and the importance of understanding motivation. [15:14]
  • The order of fitness process according to James; getting the big rocks in first. [17:35]
  • James’ suggestion for building fitness habits into your life. [22:26]
  • Breathing, walking and meditating; the foundation for everything we do. [28:19]
  • The decisions around first impressions of an OPEX gym. [32:43]
  • OPEX’s assessment framework and the foundation for their methods. [36:07]
  • The three pillars approach that OPEX uses with their coaches. [39:59]
  • James’ personal approach to exercise programming. [42:38]
  • The array and breadth of exercising during the motor learning phases. [53:26]
  • A redefinition of bodybuilding and a more integrated approach to its systems. [59:27]
  • And much more!

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Ben Pakulski

Ben Pakulski

Since first lifting weights as a teenager, Ben has been on a mission to do whatever it takes… …to become the most muscular man on the planet! On the eve of The Arnold Classic, he confronts the dark realities of bodybuilding… And his own future! Follow him on his journey…

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About the Podcast

Formerly the Muscle Expert Podcast. The world’s top authority on intelligent muscle building and fat loss gives us a simple to understand deep dive into the complex world of building a body you love, and living your greatness. Weekly interviews with leading experts in a vast number of scientific fields focusing on health optimization (nutrition, sleep, hormones, mindfulness and mind set), strength, (both physical and mental), and muscle hypertrophy. Learn proven strategies for optimum life performance, whether it be in the gym, the board room or the bedroom; this is the blueprint for becoming the upgraded modern man. Ladies, this podcast is for you too. The topics, tips, and life hacks covered are essential for every individual who wants to upgrade themselves mentally and physically.

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