Shrugged Collective

Fixing The Broken Fitness System With OPEX Founder James FitzGerald— Barbell Shrugged #381

Inaugural CrossFit Games Champion and industry-leading educator, James FitzGerald, has dedicated his life to bringing honor to the coaching profession. As Founder of OPEX Fitness his Coaching Education and Gyms Licensing Programs have provided thousands of coaches with the tools needed to professionalize their passion. James’ flagship program, The OPEX Coaching Certificate Program reflects his 20 + years of coaching expertise and is set apart by the breadth of coaching theory and practical application taught. In early 2019, James achieved another career milestone with the release of Mixed Modal, a groundbreaking course specifically designed to educate coaches on the long-term development of competitive Functional Fitness athletes

In this episode of Barbell Shrugged, we talk about James’ background, what the system is selling vs. what you actually need, the key components of OPEX gyms, basic lifestyles guidelines, how to fix broken gym culture, creating alignment, fitness for teens,why you are not an athlete, the deeper questions of existence and why we are all here, and much more.


– Anders and Doug

Episode Breakdown

⚡️0-10: James’ background, why he is the person who can change the coaching system, and asking the tough question, what is the point of exercise?

⚡️11-20: The key components of OPEX gyms (hint: it’s not that complicated), what the system is selling vs. what you need, and figuring out what fitness means to your clients

⚡️21-30: The system of OPEX fitness tests, the specific fitness tests OPEX uses, and why personal training often turns into babysitting

⚡️31-40: Leading others toward being self sufficient in fitness, basic lifestyle guidelines, how bodybuilding reps add up to great expression of fitness, the “blackmark” that the fitness world put on James when he started participating in functional fitness, and the broken model that many gyms are operating under

⚡️ 41-50: Creating success for the client, coach and business owner, fixing a broken culture, creating alignment in a gym, and what do you really want as a coach and business owner?

⚡️51-60: Why you are not an athlete, the importance of language, the assessment process in OPEX gyms, and the importance of quality food hygiene practices

⚡️61-70: Changing people’s mindset around nutrition, why intention is king, how building a relationship with your clients creates a successful coaching practice, James’ research on fitness tracking technology, why the majority of the population do not need fancy recovery protocols, the seven fundamental systems  

⚡️71-80: Why health is not the focus of athletes, the recovery protocols elite athletes engage in, the definition of Mixed Modal, fitness for teens and why it’s not a good idea for them to be competing in functional fitness, and the price (health) childhood athletes pay in adult life

⚡️81-90: The STEM vs. physical activity battle, the privatization of physical education for future generations, the new fitness and health education platform for coaching kids, getting functional fitness into the Olympics, and who James has learned from

⚡️91-100: Diving into the deeper questions of life, thoughts on death, hashing out tough topics through conversation, the importance of love, the toll social media takes on young women, and the current state of the world for young women

⚡️101-113: Paul Chek, getting unplugged, losing identity, and where to find James

Connect with James FitzGerald

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

Connect on social: Instagram, OPEX Fitness IG

Resources: OPEX Fitness Website



























Doug Larson Fitness

Doug’s new website is live! Check it out at DougLarsonFitness.com

The Bledsoe Show

The Bledsoe Show (Mike’s personal show) is back! Check out new episodes and the new website at TheBledsoeShow.com

Check out our FREE 50+ page OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING GUIDE! Includes: The Basics, Sample Programming, Links to Technique Videos, and more!


Train smart,

Mike, Doug and Anders



Doug Larson

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