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The body/mind Transformer

James Duigan

Australian-born James Duigan has transformed a grey spot of Notting Hill pavement outside the west London branch of his Bodyism gym into something more like a Bondi beach enclave, complete with seemingly imported sunshine and bodies fit for the beach. Inside, and amidst the jokes and coffees, he’s serious about fitness and working with his staff to help make the world a fitter, better place.

Famous for his ability to motivate all around him to be happier, healthier human beings, when he’s not on a plane to one of the many other Bodyism destinations around the world, he’s winning judo competitions or at home with his wife Chrissie, and three small children.

For Ikigai, he will be sharing his sense of gratitude for all the good things in life, and hopefully teaching us how to make a mean smoothie.

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What gets you up in the morning?
My children and my beautiful wife. They are my greatest joy. To be a loving husband and father is the greatest life fulfilment, everything else is just details. My favourite part of every day is when the kids run into the room at 7:30am for family cuddles.
If you had to describe what you do in a sentence…
To listen, observe, and remind people of how powerful they are so that ultimately I can help change people’s lives.
What makes you an expert in your field?
I’ve been doing what I do every day for 20 years, I’ve written books that have been bestsellers and founded one of the most well respected wellness companies in the world. And I’m still learning. I’m not an expert. And for what it’s worth, don’t trust the experts. Our clients can be their own guru, they have all the answers…they just need better questions. My job is to show people that they are more powerful than they could ever have imagined.
When and how did you receive your calling?
When I moved to London I had nothing.  I was homeless and saw on the floor of the place I was staying in, a book written by a guy named Robert Ingersoll.  On the cover it said, “We Rise by Lifting Others” and from that day forward I knew that was my purpose. This statement is at the core of Bodyism; alongside Kindness, Love and Gratitude.
What is the most misunderstood thing about your profession?
Some trainers and wellness professionals take themselves incredibly seriously, whereas in my experience, when you take yourself too seriously, the joke is on you. People think it’s our job to yell at people to train harder, and then drink green juices on a hill… but it’s not about that! It’s about listening to your body and being kind to yourself.
If there was one thing you could pass on to everyone, what would it be?
At the risk of getting too philosophical, follow what feels true to you, because that’s the part of you that really knows and will take you to where you’re meant to be.

“Don’t believe the hype, it’s a scandal.”

What one thing should we stop doing now?
‘Don’t believe the hype, it’s a scandal’. No I’m not a Public Enemy tribute band. But to me this says: question everything, no matter what it is. If it sounds crazy, if it feels wrong then it is wrong! 
What one thing should we start doing/do more of now?
Self acceptance and being kind to yourself is the fastest way to lose weight known to mankind. Any change that happens in your body, happens in your mind first.

“Self acceptance and being kind to yourself is the fastest way to lose weight known to mankind.”

What is your “ikigai”?
My children and my wife. Always. I want to make the world a better place for my children. I want my daughter Charlotte to grow up in a world where she is known for her intelligence, not her body fact percentage.

To learn more about James Duigan, visit: club.bodyism.com

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