Like so many of his clients who were trying to lose weight, James was upset about his appearance. At least one of his clients found the journey humbling and inspiring.
"When I initially started training with him he was full of ego, very energized and as he started to pile on the weight he became more lethargic," said gym client David Mega. "It definitely allows him to understand his clients better and it also allows people like me to see that anyone with any fitness level can actually let themselves go."
James now is five weeks into his program to reshape his body, armed with the new insight from the first six months of the year.
When James finally did make it back to the gym to begin an exercise regimen, he couldn't do what he used to do. He had so much extra weight on his ankles and knees that he couldn't run because he was afraid of injuring his joints and he was unable to do a set of sit-ups.
"I don't want to claim to totally understand what it's like to be overweight," James said. "But hopefully my journey encourages people out there to take their own journey."
ABC News' Sarah Netter contributed to this story.