Jeremy James DC, CSCS
Founder and CEO, GolfForever
Author & Pain Specialist
Interview with Matt Ward
Jeremy James, DC, CSCS spent a decade helping golfers, professional and Olympic athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, and men and women from all walks of life overcome pain and get back to the sports, activities and daily life they love.
He is the co-author of the best-selling Younger Next Year Back Book and the former director of the Aspen Club Back Institute. GolfForever is the digital manifestation of his and his expert team’s proven methods to help golfers of all ages and abilities play without limits for as long as they live.
THE JAMES STORY:
When I was in my early teens I suffered from debilitating back pain. I grew up in a traditional medical household – my father and grandfather are both MD’s and my mom and aunt are nurses – so I went the traditional medical route to address my pain. This isn’t a knock against western medicine – it’s nothing short of a miracle for many serious diseases and illnesses – but it has not been good at treating chronic musculoskeletal pain. I spent years doing various medications, tests, and procedures, all without any improvement in my pain. By my late teens I had become depressed and hopeless.
Out of desperation I went to see a chiropractor. I left that appointment with the first real reduction in pain I had had in years. While that chiropractor did not permanently relieve my pain, he did trigger in me a new way of looking at the human body from a biomechanical perspective. Ultimately this led me to develop a protocol which fixed myself and has now helped tens of thousands of others.
I went on to learn about the body on my own, about how muscles and joints work together and how a lack of strength, balance and mobility can cause chronic pain and how that can be addressed with the right exercise protocol. After years of study and getting a doctor of chiropractic degree and then interning at one of the world’s renowned back clinics I opened my own clinic which I directed for over a decade. After seeing outstanding results for years in golfers in particular, I decided to digitize my program so that people all over the world could experience the same education and expertise that our clients received. The same protocols that relieve pain in golfers also dramatically improve their game and ability to play golf at a high level well into their later years. This is the essence of GolfForever and is why it is what it is today.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
I saw so many golfers in my practice who were given terrible exercise and flexibility advice. This led to many of them spending years in pain and unable to play golf. My motivating principle every morning is to prevent this from happening to as many golfers as possible by promoting and refining the GolfForever program.
What was the genesis for GolfForever?
There are so many golfers that suffer needlessly with pain, lack of mobility/flexibility and lack of stamina to play golf like they want. I saw it first hand in my practice. Most golfers simply need the right exercise instruction and advice and they can dramatically improve their bodies and games themselves. I created the GolfForever program to empower golfers to do just that.
How does your efforts differentiate themselves from others in the category?
Our programs are created by doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors and are customized to each individual based on their fitness level, access to equipment, goals and any pre-existing injuries they may have as determined in the self-assessment they take when signing up. This is as good as – and often better than – working with a highly skilled golf-specific personal trainer.
From a client perspective — what is the approximate breakdown of male versus female and overall age averages on each side of the gender aisle?
80/20 male to female with an average age of 55.
Generally, many golfers don’t have much time when they go to play. Assuming a person has no more than 15 minutes prior to teeing off — what do you recommend they do prior to the 1st tee shot of the day?
The number one thing to do is to prepare your body for the golf swing by getting blood flow and mobility where you need it. We have hundreds of mobility/flexibility/muscle activation drills that are 15 minutes or less that can be done in the home, parking lot or at the driving range.
One of the phrases highlighted on your site is the following — “change comes with commitment.” Define the term and what is the approximate percentage of people who fail to provide the kind of commitment you reference?
We mean that if you want to change your body and improve your game you need to commit to doing the necessary work. This is as little as 20 minutes, 3 times per week to see improvement. Over 90% of our active users use the “Today’s Workout” feature which tells them exactly what to do each day based on their self-assessment.
What’s the biggest misconceptions that golfers — both male and female — have about working out in terms of strength and flexibility exercises and how do you dispel those comments?
First, tightness/limited flexibility can be improved by stretching. Stretching generally only provides short term improvement. Strength training must be used to balance muscles around a joint to permanently end tightness and improve flexibility.
Second, the idea that you need to lift heavy weights such as bench presses in a gym to build strength for golf. If you’re strength training for golf, then your exercise program should be golf-specific. You can’t generally apply rotational resistance with dumbbells as they always default to a downward resistance due to gravity. Resistance bands and asymmetrical bar training – such as the GolfForever Swing Trainer – are necessary to build rotational power and strength.
Justin Leonard promotes your efforts — how did that relationship start and how beneficial has the association been, thus far?
Justin and I both live in Aspen CO and live a healthy lifestyle. We knew each other from around town and both have similar philosophies on health and lifestyle. It was a natural fit. Justin has been great at helping me understand the rigors of the high-level golfer and what it does to the body.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally, what would it be and why?
I want more golfers to embrace fitness/body improvement as a key aspect of improving their golf games. Spend as much time – if not more – working on your body as you do on your swing.
Best advice you ever received – what was it and who was it from?
Startups are one of the hardest things to do in life. What you’re experiencing is normal. Keep at it and keep your head up. You can do this – I have faith in you. Bob Hurst – former Vice Chairman Goldman Sachs and GolfForever Chairman of the Board.
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