James Sprague is a 20-year-old athlete from Snoqualmie, WA. Sprague first stepped into the CrossFit world in 2016 watching his dad compete in the Master's division at The Games, and he made his first appearance at The Games in 2017, finishing 4th in the Boys 14-15 division. Since then, James has been a rising star in the sport, steadily improving and rising up the rankings year over year.
James turned heads in 2022, finishing top 20 in the United States in the Open before breaking out at the 2022 Syndicate Crown Semifinal. He is a well-rounded athlete and prides himself on empowering others through his company Next Gen Performance. As a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Sprague serves as Head Coach and provides science-based professional exercise programs to help clients reach their fitness and lifestyle goals.
We saw your awesome support system in person at the Syndicate Crown, but what else helps to motivate you both in training and competition?
My relationship with Christ is a huge motivator for me, I know that I was placed here for a reason just like everyone else in the world. My reason was to help show people that they can come from any background, any place in life, and always become better. Believing in myself and pursuing the best version of myself in order to honor the Lord is a huge motivator. I also really love seeking my fullest potential and Crossfit allows me to improve upon that on a daily.
How have you evolved as an athlete and competitor since your first introduction to functional fitness?
I have gained so much confidence in myself physically and mentally. I try to be a student of the game each and every day to learn something new. My goal is to never stop improving and so far on my fitness journey I can surely say that I have been putting in the work to be where I deserve, it’s a timely process to become good at this sport and you have to truly pursue it with full heart each and every day.
Who are your closest friends, competitors, or training partners in functional fitness?
ALL my training partners here in Naples Florida are some of my favorites to train with. I have friends from back home in Snoqualmie Washington who come throw down with me in my home gym when I come back and visit. I also love training with my Dad because we started this journey together first and foremost. I love being around like-minded people training because I know it makes me better.
How does your work with Next Gen influence your own personal training and preparation?
I love learning new concepts in my own training that I can apply to my clients and athletes. It fills my heart to give back and help others pursue the best versions of themselves. There is nothing better than helping aid someone in doing something they never believed they could do. Seeing my clients' success makes me hungry for success of my own as well, I believe a good personal trainer practices what they preach and I make sure I hold myself to a high standard of fitness and holistic health!
What do you enjoy most about training and competing with AIRWAAV?
It helps me gain a mental edge on my competitors, knowing the benefits it has on my respiratory rates and cortisol levels and having that extra edge in training and on the floor helps boost my confidence and makes me feel that much more ready for any challenge that comes my way. I also love having something to clench down on during heavy lifts so I keep my jaw in line and don't grind my teeth! The AIRWAAV is not one bit intrusive and allows me to breathe well and fit even better.
What is the best piece of advice you have received in your functional fitness career, and what advice would you give to other young athletes?
The best piece of advice I have received is to enjoy the journey and not just the end goal. Another thing I think about and try to practice a lot is having balance and making sure I never define myself by my success or downfalls, this sport will have lots of ups and downs in my career and I want to make sure that I define myself by how I treat people and the hard work I put in. The advice I would give to younger athletes is to HAVE FUN and if you are serious about the sport, find something every day in the gym that makes you happy and helps you enjoy the process more, ALSO don't burn yourself out, when you feel like you need a break, TAKE A BREAK and listen to your body!