Athlete of the Month: Jim Beqaj

Nine months ago I walked into the Beqaj household not knowing what to expect.

I kind of knew Jim but really only by reputation, not that he has a big one or anything! For those that don't know, Beqaj is a staple name on Bay Street in Toronto. Some love him, and some find his bold style difficult to work with. So with that perspective I walked up and rang the door bell hoping for the best! Day one, slash month one, I was totally nervous. Jim was a far stretch from my comfort zone client. I was used to the "yummy mommy" demographic, and Jim is far from that!

Admittedly we didn't click instantly. My training style is slightly aggressive; I always over plan and push hard. Eventually I learned that my default approach just wasn't working for Jim. I was beating him up and he never said "no". For the first few months Jim was at a weight loss plateau and a fitness standstill, every trainer's worst nightmare! I knew something had to give so I dialed way back and let Jim do what he does best: drive – while I coached and guided instead of directing him. We started speaking the same language and his improvements were massive from that point on.

Looking back we went on our first run in September 2011 Jim could barely get through a 3-minute shuffle. In his words it was 'pathetic'. After getting his workouts customized correctly, the diet under control and proper footwear laced up Jim steadily began increasing that 3 minutes, to 30, to racing! Yesterday we ran the Sporting Life 10k together in 1h10! Jim rocked it! And I couldn't have been more proud of him.

In working with Jim I've learned first hand he's a great guy and one of the biggest family men I've ever known. For Jim, it's all about his six kids. I've gained a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for him. Jim's been my business coach for the last nine months and every single training session I feel like I'm trained in some way too. I generally leave with a "Jim-ism" or two, even on days I'd rather not!

Jim has lost over 20 lbs to date but most importantly he's gained his life back.

He's a huge inspiration to me and I know this is just the beginning for him.