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Unwinding James McMillian, Head Coach at Tone House

James McMillian has been involved in sports since he was five. Now a NASM certified personal trainer and one of the head coaches at Tone House, he uses his expertise to help others with their fitness. We chatted with James to learn more about his work at Tone House and what else he does to take care of himself.

What is the most important thing you’d like people to know about Tone House?

There is an athlete inside every one of us and Tone House is the place that will unleash it! We pride ourselves on team spirit and team support which leads to lifelong friends and family!  The greatest opportunity for our clients is that if you’re new to fitness/sports you will learn the skills and technique your favorite professional player utilizes on the field. If you’re a former athlete you will regain the feeling of being part of a team while pushing yourself on the Turf.

How did you begin working at Tone House?

I was introduced to Tone House by the creator Alonzo Wilson. Years before Tone House opened, Alonzo discussed with me that he wanted to open a gym, a gym where people of all shapes, sizes and athletic backgrounds can train together like their favorite athletes. Alonzo stated not everyone had the opportunity to play sports growing up. This is our chance to show them the exact feeling and commitment it takes to be an athlete, because there is an athlete in all of us – it’s our job to help you unleash it!

What is one interesting thing about you that your clients wouldn’t know?

I suffer from asthma. Clients see me challenge myself in and outside of the gym and dominate fitness competitions, but they rarely know that I am doing all this while fighting asthma. I don’t train so hard to look good, I train hard to stay above my asthma so I can be strong enough to fight it, before it fights me. I also train at the level that I do so that there is no excuse: I do not want my asthma to be a reason I fail at something so I push myself to stay ahead of it.

Did you have to change your routine to stay healthy and well during the COVD-19 pandemic?

Yes, during the pandemic I found myself needing to stay creative with keeping myself healthy. I ran more during late nights when the city was empty. I would run the Williamsburg bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge and back, going through Brooklyn and Manhattan. This was such a peaceful run and time; just me, my music and my legs turning. I also enjoyed the home workouts I would design for my clients; it kept me in top shape during the time. I was reminded that you don’t need much space to train yourself, we are spoiled with so much fancy equipment that we forget the truest form of strength and endurance is what you can do with your bodyweight. A push-up can take you a long way! So my routine changed from heavy lifting and sprints, to long runs and body weight exercises. I benefited in many ways from this: my muscle and lung endurance improved and I became shredded. I even launched an On Demand platform called Tone House TV, Tone House’s virtual training program. This platform gives everyone the opportunity to train at the level of Tone House classes in their homes. Check it out!

What is one myth about fitness that you wish would go away?

A myth that I wish would disappear is the idea that strength and conditioning cannot be accomplished together when they actually compliment each other. Your favorite athlete is not only strong, lifting a tremendous amount of weight, but they’re also fast and agile with great endurance. I say this to say going for runs will not hurt your lifts, and lifting will not hurt your speed. Do both – it will help you in the long run.

What is the one health product you think everyone should own?

This is going to be a bit of sarcasm. But WATER. You should have water everywhere you go. From a bottle, from a sink, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK. No tricks, train and hydrate.

You can find more of Tone House here and here.

About the author

Charlotte Moy is a freelance writer and researcher. Trained as a historian, she specializes in producing high-quality and well-researched content on a variety of topics. She loves the opportunity to interview interesting people and learn about new things. You can learn more on her website:

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