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November 13, 2017 4 min read

This week we interviewed James Lancaster. He is a Crossfit athlete based out of the Central East. He is a Regional athlete with big goals for 2018!

Besides Crossfit, James is focused on making a big impact in his local community. Read more below.


Tell Us Who You Are:

My name is James Lancaster. I live in Memphis, TN and I am a full time crossfit coach at Crossfit Hit and Run. I am also starting up a nonprofit called Kings of Grit while doing some nutrition coaching as well.


What Is Your Sports Background? 

My sports background is in football. I played college ball at The University of Central Arkansas and played 3 years professionally in the arena league. Football prepared me for a lot of things.

I became driven with football and pursued my goal alone. Training alone was quite the norm if you wanted to be the best and climb the ladder. I learned very early on how to create my own motivation and find my why.


What Is The  Most Challenging Aspect Of Being A Competitive Crossfitter?

In my personal opinion, it is resources. This is a full on sport now. The sport of fitness. We're basically buff endurance athletes that specialize in unspecializing. With that said, a lot of our money for body work, supplements, food, training, travel, etc. is self raised. But, it's all about that ROI. What are you willing to invest and go through to be great?

Relationships can be made and a smoother day to day life can be made, it's just the willingness to find that. Because we all can't be the full time athlete that doesn't work. There aren't as many of those as you might think.


You've Had Some Adversities In Your Career, What Have You Learned From Those Challenges?

I have had 3 knee surgeries. I tore my ACL playing ball, I waited on a donor meniscus list for 1.5 years, had a maniacal allograft done, unfortunately the stitching came off during rehab, I  then had a third surgery to reapply it. So, I have started over 3 times.

I waited and waited and waited for my time. I watched all the highlights in bed. All the behind the scenes from regionals and the games. I knew football was not an option anymore after I had my first surgery. I wanted something. I wanted that void of competition filled. I wanted that challenge of proving to myself I could continue my life as I once had it being an athlete. I had unfinished business.

I learned after being stripped of my identity, or what I thought was my identity, that I can't covet a sport. I made football my idol before God. It was an eye opening experience and mentally one that I will never forget.

Through all of these trying times I now have a mental edge on people that have not and will never go through what I did. I don't worship Crossfit and I don't worship success. I am here to serve people. I no longer grip the sand in my fist so tightly it runs out between my fingers but rather gently hold it with an open hand.


What Are Your Goals With Crossfit?

My goal is to make the crossfit games. Im not here to ride the merry-go-round and eat cotton candy. Thats not how my heart and mind works. Its not the end-all-be-all but it would be ridiculous to be so realistic that I remove my capability to dream. Then all that's left is a compromise from what I truly want.


What's Your Favorite WOD?

It used used to be anything short. Now, I want something long and mentally draining, something like a 5K row.


What Utzy Supplements Do You Take And Why? 

I currently used the Essentially-U. It helps me keep the foundation to my nutrition by making sure I get my micronutrient needs filled.


Can You Tell Us About Kings of Grit? 

Kings Of Grit is an upstart nonprofit that I run out of 201 Poplar, known by Memphians as the downtown jail. I teach young men, through fitness, the importance of being relentless, teaching the next man, showing grace, and having unity. These core values are what change lives and prepare you for life after. Any corporation or small business has core values and a vision.

We split up into teams and compete for prizes and our names on the plaque. The winners get a clean t-shirt, socks, underwear, and a bar of soap. We also establish different men to teach the class during certain weeks. Public speaking, being prepared for a presentation, commanding the room, all of these things are important to learn so we're successful outside of those walls.

My job is to love them. Their job is to love each other. Simple as that.


How Can People Find You - And Support Your Work With Kings of Grit?

You can find me at @kingsofgrit and @_jlancaster_

I am currently just raising money and accepting prayer. The nonprofit process is lengthy but will be worth it. I am raising money for more equipment. I have to carry all these medballs from the gym in a military bag I have.

If I can raise $8,000-$10,000, I can have rowers, rings, medballs, jump ropes, and kettlebells. I normally teach 30-35 guys each Thursday, so having more equipment is helpful. I can change my city for the good.

The good outnumbers the bad here and I am here to serve my community and give these men hope that they too can do the same.

Regardless of where you fit in this grand puzzle we live in, everyone is watching and waiting for someone to do the right thing. More than you realize. Its as simple as picking up that piece of trash you walk by every day. The seemingly insignificant things create the masterpiece.


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