Today we’d love to share with you an interview from an Australian bodybuilder widely known as one of our best amateur athletes, James Potter. James’ competetive history stretches back well over 15 years and we asked him a little about what has motivated and inspired him over his incredible career. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, his competetive history is impressive to say the least:
- 1992 IFBB Coral Coast Teenage – 1st
- 1992 IFBB Nth Qld Teenage – 2nd
- 1995 IFBB Coral Coast Teenage – 2nd
- 1995 IFBB Nth Qld Teenage – 2nd
- 1997 IFBB Coral Coast Juniors – 1st
- 1997 IFBB Coral Coast Under 80kg – 2nd
- 2001 IFBB QLD Titles Novice – 1st
- 2004 IFBB QLD Titles Under 90kg – 1st
- 2004 IFBB Australian Titles under 90kg – 1st
- 2006 IFBB Australasian Titles under 100kg – 1st
- 2009 NABBA QLD Titles Short class – 1st
- 2009 NABBA QLD Titles – Overall Winner
1. Why did you begin bodybuilding?
I began weight training in February 1992 – I had just turned 14 and I went with a friend from school one afternoon per week. I was a skinny teenager at the time weighing around 54kg and just wanted to be a little bigger. One afternoon my mate could not make it, so I had to go by myself which was a little daunting but after that first workout by myself I decided it was ok and began training 6 days a week! To pay for my first months gym membership I sold my beloved Nintendo to my brother which was a Christmas present from the year before. The proceeds paid for my first month membership and enough left over for a tin of protein powder! A few months after that while training the owner of the gym (Frank’s Gym in Innisfail) came up to me and asked if I wanted to compete later that year, I said yes and after cutting out lollies for a month and tanning up I won my first teenage comp in Sept 1992 just 7 months after starting. I remember walking home the day I bought my first protein powder, it was Nutra Life’s MASSIVE and Terry Mitsos was on the label my friend and I could not believe how big he was. I said to my friend “I’ll be Mr Australia one day.” 12 years later I was…and on two protein powder labels myself thanks to my sponsors Body Ripped.
2. What’s the biggest physical (or emotional, financial etc) set-back that you have had to overcome during your bodybuilding career? Did bodybuilding enable you to cope with this set-back better?
The Bodybuilding lifestyle has given me focus. It will always be part of me and the training is a great stress relief. It helps you become goal orientated and makes you strive for excellence – this carries over in many other aspects of my life.
3. Those of us who have competed, or watched a friend or loved one go through the dieting/competition process know it takes a whole support team sometimes to get them there. Who has been most instrumental in helping your along your bodybuilding career?
My Dad is the main reason I have achieved what I have so far. He gave up a lot to help fund my training and diet in the early years and always encouraged me no matter what. He was always very proud.
Another is my wife, Belinda, who is a champion IFBB and NABBA Figure competitor. I met her in 2002 when we where both sponsored by the same company and I was living in Sydney at the time. I only knew her a few weeks then moved back to Cairns, we stayed in contact via email every now and then for about two years. Then I was in Sydney for the 2004 IFBB Australian titles and she helped me the whole weekend by driving me around helping me at the comp and even getting me cheesecake! I won the show then went back to Cairns only to return to Sydney 4 weeks later to ask her to marry me. That was over five years ago and since then we have both won numerous shows and supported each other in everything we do and will do in the future.
4. Who inspires you?
There is no one person in particular. I find anyone who has overcome adversity to get where they are to be inspirational. With regards to bodybuilding, my role models are those that present the “complete package” being good business men, well-rounded and family oriented competitors.
5. If you could give some advice to people just starting out in their bodybuilding careers, what would it be?
Live the bodybuilding lifestyle but don’t live to be a bodybuilder.
Thank you so much for your time, James.
James and his amazing wife Belinda can be found in Cairns working in their new Sumo Salad shop, located in Cairns Central. Although we here at Activewear Online have been trying to convince him to get back up on stage for the new IFBB 202lb class, James will neither confirm nor deny any plans to compete in the immediate future. Regardless, it is clear to see that James truly is one of Australia’s premier amateur bodybuilders – both in thought and deed.