We had the good fortune of connecting with James Deirmendjian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Just a few years back, when I came back from a brief stint of training with the US Army that didn’t go quite as I’d planned or hoped, it became abundantly clear to me just how inadequate fitness training is within the United States Military as a whole. To be more specific, even though I excelled at PT, I ended up injuring myself 3/4 of the way through Initial Entry Training. I saw the dream of a lifetime shatter before my eyes when I chose to withdraw from training, so I could get the care it seemed to me that I needed, and which also seemed to be lacking from within the training environment. This experience also turned me on to an understanding of just how woefully underserved the tactical professions are in this department. Standards are outdated and inadequate, and even recent changes and more progressive attitudes from leadership are, to my belief, largely inadequate. I put myself up to the task, then, of filling in this gap. From August of 2018 onwards, I made it my singular goal to form relationships online with junior enlisted Soldiers, Marines, and Deputy Law Enforcement Officers, with the intent of providing them with good strength and fitness coaching remotely. I came to this new task, accordingly, having this one thought as my mission: that I would do better than what had been done for me, as a provider, mentor, coach and friend, for all of my brothers and sisters in arms, within the official capacity of a coach. Having this sense of purpose has been overridingly the backbone of my efforts. I love working with this population, knowing that what I’m doing is helping people who protect and serve the public to feel good about themselves, to grow in confidence and pride, and to truly embody the ideals they’ve sworn to uphold. The most important factor to my success, accordingly, I would say was having this sense of purpose, and having had the will and determination to churn through the slog to find the absolutely exceptional individuals who have permit me to help them — and who have generously offered up their results for me to put back out there, to let the world know about it. Without their tremendous efforts and desire to help, I wouldn’t have been able to have any impact whatsoever, whether for them or my civilian clients.
What should our readers know about your business?
As of 2020, my business is a 100% online boutique tactical, martial-arts and sport performance themed fitness coaching service. Accordingly, I provide premium strength and conditioning regimens for people who are into this sort of thing, most notably, junior enlisted Soldiers and Marines, with some police officers, medics and just average joe civilian clients in the mix. I have also helped a few martial arts competitors and athletes of other stripes. What sets me apart from others? For one, I believe that I have a firm grasp of the needs of the populations I attempt to serve. The demands of the tactical professions, for instance, are austere. They need to be able to run, jump, leap, bound, strike, punch, grapple, kick, and maintain a level of freshness or “frostiness” all the while. Since as early as the 1960’s, the demands of this profession have only gotten harder, in terms of the amount of equipment that has been piled on their backs, as well as the increasing standards for fitness that they must live up to. All of this spells a recipe for disaster, in terms of both their physical and mental well being — even perhaps their very lives — if they can’t display extraordinary levels of strength, athleticism and endurance. For two, I have a fairly firm grasp of the science involved, as well as some common sense things you would think everyone understands, but of which many, if not most don’t. For instance — increasing someone’s squat or deadlift can be a far more effective, efficient and sustainable way of increasing their running speed than having them increase running volume until they’re injured. Positioning myself to where I can serve these folks properly has been an absolute GRIND. I’ve messaged literally thousands of people. I’ve received unenthusiastic responses from many, assuming I’ve been answered. It’s been a process of refinement, whereby I’ve gradually begun to understand what it takes to influence, connect, sale and serve them, oftentimes from thousands of miles away. The results, however, have been astounding. At this point, I’ve rendered service to nearly 100 people since I’ve been home, to some degree or another. Of those 100, there have been at least a few dozen who have stuck with the plan, completed the program, accepted my guidance, and whose lives have been changed for the better. The harsh reality of being in this business is just this — it’s a game of attrition. The real ones, however, will shine through, and their success make it all worthwhile. If there’s anything I want people to know about my brand and story, it’s just this. Whatever success myself or my clients have had has only ever been a function of one’s willingness to push through resistance. This holds true, whether it is one’s own psychological resistance to change and growth that we’re talking about, which is the most conspicuous force against which we have to work, or the literal physical resistance that goes hand in hand with training. There is no worthwhile victory that comes easily! That said. If you’re intelligent about your approach, it certainly makes things less onerous and strenuous.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If someone were to come out and visit with me here in the Conejo Valley, a few things I might do to keep them entertained might include going out to eat. There are a number of really good authentic pho places all around Los Angeles and Ventura County, and that would be the first thing food wise that comes to mind. Besides that, I really enjoy the local beaches in Malibu. Certainly, if you’re into Strongman or Powerlifting, you’d want to check out the Training Hall in Newbury Park, my home gym at the moment. If you like the combat / contact sports, you’d do well to train at the Gracie Barra in Thousand Oaks, right next to my house, or 805 MMA, owned and operated by my old boxing coach Martin Gillitt and training partner Julian Baez.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It’s been a crazy year for everyone. At one point, I was incredibly worried that my business would flop, on account of the COVID-19 Crisis. That said! By volume of business, gross income, and most importantly, IMPACT, this has been one of my very best years, if not my best yet. I also have been fortunate enough to lay a foundation for 2021 and beyond. None of this would have been possible without the coaches and mentors that I’ve worked with over the course of the year. First and foremost, I’ll give a shout out to Odd Haugen for running such an incredible gym at The Training Hall, and for offering me help, mentorship and guidance as a late comer to the Strongman scene. The Training Hall, as the Conejo Valley’s one and only true Strongman and Powerlifiting specialty gym, is truly a gem in a sea of boring, blase and trendy fitness studios that center around everything mediocre. If you’ve ever been pissed that you can’t listen to hard music while slamming weights during your workouts, The Training Hall is your place! For marketing and business chops, and for just helping me to keep my head on straight and communicate better with prospects, I’ve got give a shoutout to my people at the Online Trainer Academy, notably Amber Bonem and Andrea Maxwell. For sales skills, overall confidence, and helping me to build my brand, Yegor Adamovich gets the prize. If you’re thinking about taking your fitness service online, I would highly recommend the original Online Trainer Academy product, which you can look into here: https://www.theptdc.com/online-trainer-academy-certification Beyond that, the incomparable Andrew Clayton was my acting fitness coach this year. I’ve learned more about specialty barbell, strongman and other strength and conditioning techniques from him than I imagined I could in four months. He is truly a wizard when it comes to this stuff, and is just a very involved, animated, lively, and caring guy. If you like the thought of training with someone who can run a sub 6 minute mile and is also a multi-contest winning strongman at 220 pounds, Andrew is it. You can learn more about him here: https://kabukistrength.com/andrew-clayton/ Lastly, of course, the various Soldiers, Marines, LEO’s and others I’ve worked with, to include my civilian clientele. They’ve all done incredible things in terms of accepting my help graciously and improving their quality of life, and making the world around them that much brighter on that account. That’s what makes me want to wake up every morning and do good work.
Zak’s Transformation — 40 pounds of fat loss, nearly 10 pounds of muscle gained. Karen’s Transformation — 20 pounds of fat lost, around 5 pounds of muscle gained. Joshua’s Transformation — 15 pounds of lean tissue gained, with resistance bands only.