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From being weak and skinny to strong and fit, James shares his fitness journey from being a member, PT and now Assistant Gym Manager


We’ve shared some amazing transformation stories from our members but this time we caught up with one of our assistant gym managers’ to share his story, and how he got into fitness. Meet James Kavanagh, assistant gym manager at soon to open PureGym Nuneaton.


Hi, I’m James. I've been at PureGym for over 2 years, 1 year as a member and 1 year as a personal trainer, and I’ve just recently been appointed as assistant gym manager at PureGym Nuneaton.

When I was younger, I really struggled with fitness. Being active was something that I constantly avoided.

I wanted to be in better shape and feel more confident but I had no idea how to achieve my dreams, and like a lot of people, I struggled with the concept of getting my head down and grinding.

My main motivation was to increase my confidence. As I made more progress, I felt more positive about myself, and this motivated me to push myself further in the gym.

Before I started working out in the gym, my exercise and diet was terrible. I ate whenever I was hungry and I would try and run every now and then. Whenever I went for a run, I was able to run fast at the start of my run but within minutes, I would get tired.


To improve my health, I started off by reading magazines, blogs, articles and any bit of information I could get my hands on. I then applied what I learned in my training to see what worked for me. At first I failed to understand the importance of training legs but that soon changed as I began playing rugby and realised the necessity of building power in my lower body. I've not skipped a leg day since! As I learned more about different exercises, I became more interested in learning how bodies moved and how exercises worked.

When I started weight training, my shoulders got broader, my stomach got flatter, and my proportions and body composition drastically changed to adapt to the new and physical challenges I was putting myself through.

I also worked on my improving my diet. Bumping up my protein intake and reducing my carbohydrate intake worked well for me. You don't have to starve myself in order to lose weight.

Since I started training 7 years ago, I've roughly gained 20kg of muscle and I’ve dropped 15kg of fat. In the last 2 years of training with PureGym, I've gained 3kg of muscle and dropped 5kg of fat. I train in the morning at around 4am, which is my favourite time to work out and one of the things I love about PureGym. I can train whenever I want and not have to worry.

I was inspired to become a PT because I have a passion for helping people and encouraging them to achieve their goals. Stepping into my new role will allow me to continue being able to help people in a similar manner, but on a larger scale. It also gives me the chance to personally mentor personal trainers and, by extension, be able to enrich more people through helping my member base. Working on starting a new gym is incredibly exciting as we get to see it become more and more like the home that it will be every day. I love the atmosphere that PureGym nourishes and helps instil in all of their staff. It’s a real company that care about their staff and that becomes more apparent with every day I work for them.


My favourite piece of gym equipment is the barbell. It's one of the most diverse pieces of equipment you could use in the gym. My favourite exercises would have to be deadlifts or squats.

I’m most proud of being able to deadlift 200kg which I managed this year. It took me so long to work up to it and it was a huge achievement for me.


My colleagues are a good support in keeping my motivated. We've all been making progress in our respective goals and it’s been driving all of us to move forward.

The one bit of advice I would give anyone who is struggling with their fitness goals is to Persevere.

You never know how close you are to making a break through and giving up is the one thing that's guaranteed to ensure you won't reach it. You don't have to do everything, just something.

If you don’t enjoy exercising but want to be active, just turn up at the gym and get moving. In an ideal world, every workout would be a great workout but try to bring a more positive feeling to the gym. Set small, attainable goals and be happy when you achieve them. For instance, this might simply be starting with running on a treadmill for 10 minutes without stopping. If you need extra help, don't be afraid to ask for it.

Every gym has personal trainers who are more than willing to help you out and spend some time pushing you towards your goals.

I've got a few things in the pipeline, I'm taking part in a 43km row to raise money for the Blue Cross on behalf of PureGym so I'm heavily training for that at the moment and giving the weights a back seat. My next long term goal will be a 160kg squat which would be incredible to achieve. It's really mind blowing to think that when I started this journey I never thought any of this would be possible and it's becoming a reality.

Thanks for sharing your fitness journey from being a member, a PT and now assistant gym manager James. We wish you all the best in your new role as AGM.

Follow our Instagram for more amazing member transformation pictures to get you inspired to go to the gym.

If you're interested in getting featured, please email: [email protected] with the subject: 'PG story'

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