Issue One: A Look Inside the Leaders of the Pack
Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with JUST TRAIN Cleveland gym owners, and our beloved coaches, James Abrams and Michael Blue. I had the chance to ask them some questions to find out how they got to where they’re at. Check out our conversation…
- Chad Abraham
Q: I’m aware that the both of you had somewhat of a different path in fitness. How did you both get involved with Crossfit?
James: I became interested in Crossfit with Concierge Training in New York. I got my meals prepped by Kettlebell Kitchen who were based out of a box called Crossfit Spot. The athletes there were some beasts! The men looked great and they were doing some amazing things. After that, I moved back to Cleveland and began working at LifeTime Fitness and was chosen to lead the Alpha program, which is Crossfit-based. That ultimately led me to create my own box. Blue: It was a progression, to say the least. I’ve always been a fan of tough workouts that challenge you both mentally and physically. One day, I was scrolling through Groupon and saw a deal for a Crossfit gym in Mayfield Heights. I told Coach Cleve we should give it a shot. The rest is history.
Q: I understand that you both knew each other years ago. How did your paths cross years later, and ultimately lead to working together now?
Blue: After some time working people out at Temple WorX [previous to JUST TRAIN], I started noticing some of James’ workouts on Facebook. I decided to show up and support what he was doing at what was then, Go Train. Since then, he’s become a big brother whom I love and value dearly.
“…he’s become a big brother whom I love and value dearly.” -Blue
Q: Now James, some of the Pack may not know that you had an impressive athletic career before Crossfit. Mind sharing about it?
James: I played high school football and earned a Division I scholarship to play at Hampton University. That led to me playing Arena Football for Chicago and Columbus.
Q: Now just because you both are Crossfit coaches, that doesn’t mean you don’t have your favorites and “not so” favorite workouts. What would you say is your least and most favorite workouts/movements? James: My least favorite: wall climbs. My favorite has to be snatches. Q: How about you Blue? Blue: OVERHEAD SQUATS! They’re my adversary. As far as my favorite, I love anything that proves how strong I am mentally and physically. My nickname is Melvin because I move weight.
Q: I’m sure a lot of the Pack will take note of these answers in future WOD programming. Just a few more questions for you both. Do you have a memorable moment from a competition you’ve competed in? Blue: Absolutely. We competed in a comp in Chagrin Falls. My partner and I took first place, but that wasn’t the biggest highlight. Everyone [from the Wolf Pack] was working together and cheering for each other. Then we all drank Tequila and beer. People there were astonished and very encouraged by our behavior. Pack life baby!!! Q: I have to agree with you on that. It was definitely a sight to see! Last question for you both before some Rapid Fire Questions. I’m sure coming to work, beating up your body and pushing your limits daily can be a lot to deal with. On top of having a family and personal life, what keeps you both coming to the gym every day? James: For me, it’s my desire to change lives and get better as an athlete and coach. Blue: My desire is to “Every Day Get Better”! That, and understanding my personal “why”. I love the people I have the opportunity to coach. We have a special bunch. I depend on them and them on me. Plus, I don’t have a clue about sitting still!
Gentlemen, I appreciate you both taking the time out to give your Wolf Pack a deeper look inside your lives. Before we go, I do have some Rapid Fire Questions. Ready? Let’s go!
Q: Who is your favorite artist? James: Drake Blue: J. Cole, Jay-Z, Jhene Aiko and 70’s music!
Q: First car you ever drove? James: Lincoln Continental Blue: Buick Skylark
Q: If you had an alias, what would your name be (I have a feeling I know what answers I’ll be getting…)? James: Ranch. Because I be dressing. Blue: I’m too cool for shit like that, lol.
Q: I saw those coming from a mile away, lol. Last one, and maybe the most important one. What is your favorite “cheat meal?” James: Chicken and Pineapple Pizza! Blue: IDK. I like food too much to pick one thing.
Well there you have it. Stay tuned for future issues of Pack Talk and to see who from the Pack will be featured next!!!