James Mooney

James Mooney


Fitness hasn’t always been a giant part of my life. When I was younger growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was always the super skinny/lanky kid who couldn’t gain a pound. When I entered high school, I was 6’0 and 150 lbs. Just a rail. I couldn’t even bench the bar. That’s when I fell in love with football and my love for football eventually led me to the weight room, which is where I became addicted to fitness. I would easily spend 3 hours in there, every day after school. I would stay until they closed and they would have to kick me out. By the time my senior year rolled around, I weighed 210 lbs. Injuries my senior year led me to not getting any serious college offers, so I went to a local junior college after graduation. Despite tearing my ACL my second season of junior college, I still ended up with a scholarship to Division 2 powerhouse, Delta State University in Mississippi. After college, I tried to continue my career in the NFL & CFL. I had several tryouts over the next several years, but was unsuccessful. While I was trying out, I played high-level club rugby to stay in shape. During this time period, I was working as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Southern Oregon University for their football team. I did this for two seasons before transitioning into the private sector.

Around this time, some co-workers encouraged me to try my first NPC Men’s Physique show and over the next couple years, I would do several. I did well and became Nationally Qualified. While doing the shows though, I began to not like that my body was becoming less athletic. I took a break from doing shows and transitioned back into sports performance. After meeting Mark Bell, he convinced me to compete in powerlifting and I did a few meets in 2016/17. I’ve taken a break from competing to focus on my company, Gunsmith Clothing Company, which I started back in 2015 with my friend Rob. We founded the company with the motto of “Build yourself into the ultimate weapon.” This basically means to become the best version of yourself to deal with whatever life throws your way. I was able to open up my own training facility in the middle of 2017 thanks to the brand, and am in the process of expanding my facility at the moment. I still train people in person and online, although my clientele has changed from soccer moms and weight-loss when I first started, to mostly athletes (high school through professional) as well as First Responders & Military Personnel.

The gym and fitness has had such a large impact on my life, from allowing me to develop confidence and pride in myself, paying for my education, giving me a platform to build my business, to introducing me to thousands of people who I would never have had the opportunity to meet without it. Fitness is one of the few opportunities in life where you are truly able to see the results of your hard work come to fruition right in front of your eyes and it is the only thing, that no matter who you are, you can’t buy it. You HAVE to put the work in.

James Mooney - Deadlift
James Mooney - Curl

As much as I love to see my personal growth, I think I love seeing the people I train grow and change the most. When I can take a client who is 240 lbs and can’t even perform a bodyweight squat, and transform her into a 160 lbs woman who squats 320 lbs… the impact that I was able to have on her life is PRICELESS. The confidence and happiness that she experiences from that type of change is unreal and makes this job so damn rewarding. My philosophy on training is to become HYBRID; the total package and ready for whatever task is ahead. Being able to run, jump, lift, climb, AND look good while doing it…I want to help as many people achieve that as possible!

Professional/Fitness Experience

  • Bachelor of Science - Health & Physical Education
  • National Strength & Conditioning Association Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coach
  • EXOS Tactical Training Systems Certification

Birthdate: October 29, 1986
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 240 lbs

Grants Pass, Oregon, USA