James has been involved with sports and physical fitness since childhood in Baltimore, Maryland. In high school he was a three sport athlete, playing football, wrestling and running/throwing for the track and field team. After high school James moved on to college, but after a few semesters the lure for physical challenge proved too great and he enlisted in the US Marine Corps in April 1999.
He was trained as an infantryman and reported to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines in Twentynine Palms, California for duty in the Fleet Marine Force. Constantly wanting to push himself further physically and mentally, he participated in and passed the indoctrination test for Scout Sniper platoon, and shortly thereafter reported to Scout Sniper school. After completion of this training, James was reassigned to the 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. After a short tenure with a regular infantry unit, he was selected to become a member of Small Craft Company, a special operations riverine infantry company where he served as a boat captain and infantry platoon sergeant. James is a multi-tour combat veteran, having served in Iraq and various other locations globally. After 7 years in the US Marine Corps, James reenlisted with the US Army, where he still serves on active duty today.
The years of contact sports and service in the infantry took its toll, and James began suffering from excruciating back pain. He was diagnosed with Spondelolisthesis, and after failed attempts to recover via physical therapy and medications, it was determined he needed surgery. Not wanting to go under the knife, James found his way to CrossFit, having read a multitude of success stories online. To this day, he has not had the surgery and does not plan to. James is a CrossFit coach having taken the Level 1 certification course, and is currently training athletes at CrossFit Milwaukee along with serving as a trainer for US Army Reserve and Active duty soldiers in the greater Milwaukee area. It is his goal to one day run his own affliate in Baltimore, Maryland, and also to participate in the CrossFit Games.