Cameron started working with me in January 2020. He transitioned into trail running over the past two years, but was looking for more guidance on how to progress. Still in his 20's, Cameron is a big tall guy and still early in achieving his endurance potential. I have definitely noticed a lot of changes in Cameron since he started, around 15lbs lighter, a lot stronger physique, no injuries, and excellent consistency with training. I'm sure in the coming years he wil be right up there in the mix if he keeps at it. Here is his testimonial:
I started working with James at the beginning of 2020 to dial in my running training to progressively become a more efficient, faster and injury free athlete. Since then, I’ve tracked my resting heart rate, weight and runs/workouts daily under James’ professionally structured tracking tools. It has been enormously insightful to review my trends and adjust workout plans as we progress through the training weeks and stages. Lately we’ve also looked at nutrition, analyzing what I’m putting into my body to become leaner and healthier.
I had race plans for the Diez Vista 50k and Squamish50 50 Mile events this year, but the pandemic derailed these. In lieu of an organized event, James thoughtfully devised a race route that he dubbed the “North Van Traverse”. We ran this 43km route together in May, and James even filmed the majority of it for us to review how it went - plus it was a pretty incredible memento for me to reflect on a tough but rewarding day. It was an invaluable opportunity for me to have a coach see how I race, as his analysis provided exceptional feedback on how I can further improve moving forward.
James’ training structure, methodology and support has been nothing short of incredible. I couldn’t be happier with how my running fitness has come along under his coaching. Not only is the quality of the program phenomenal, but his communication is fast and comprehensive, and he’s an all around awesome guy. I’m very excited to see where I’ll go with his coaching support over the years to come!
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, Cameron had his races cancelled for 2020. Instead, Cameron and I decided he would participate in a solo race across the mountain trails of North Vancouver - from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. The course is an extremely challenging technical trail at times with 43km with 2200m of vertical climbing and descent. Cameron did exceptionally well to finish this gruelling course in a time of 6:15.
The solo traverse gave me as coach the opportunity to run with Cameron, film his journey and give an insight into how he approaches his pacing and strategy in races. My role was simply to provide navigation support and filming and I gave no advice during the race to simulate a real race experience for Cameron. We both learnt a lot from the experience and I will be able to tailor Cameron's training to strengthen his weak areas and build his self-confidence with all the positive aspects of the day.
Update (End of 2021): It’s now been almost two years of working with James at Couch to the Summit as a trail running client. This year James supported me in doing two 50km efforts (one casual home-made effort and the Squamish50 50km race), as well as getting a 5 minute PR on the Grouse Grind (33 minutes) and two performance efforts for a “Fastest Known Time” on Coliseum Mountain and Wedgemount Lake (third overall for both). Through James’ coaching approach, we’ve spent considerable training time in low aerobic heart rate zones this year, which has been unbelievably beneficial for my active lifestyle with running and hiking. I’m able to do long days in the mountains, covering substantial distance and elevation changes with minimal soreness and zero injuries to date!
I really like how James lays out the training plan - no detail is missed with tracking and workout descriptions with suggestions on how best to get each session executed. It’s easy to follow and intensely motivating. His response time for questions is rapid and he provides exceptional written packages for effort/race debriefs, nutritional analysis and training progression planning. Late last year I experienced a health issue with persistent fatigue - James was able to guide me through to get testing and supplements to combat what was diagnosed as iron deficiency. I’m incredibly pleased with my progression since becoming one of his athletes and so stoked for what next season holds with his support. I couldn’t recommend James more.
Rene started with me as a beginner level athlete looking to lose weight and become healthier in general. He was just transitioning into more outdoor activity, mostly hiking with some shorter bursts of running. Rene has come a long way in the first six months and I enjoyed running with him in the North Shore mountains just a few months into his training and he impressed me on the trails with his commitment to the process, his drive for a healthier life, and being patient with a long-term outlook. He should be really proud of what he achieved in such a short time and we're only getting started!
I started out last year February (2021) with hiking the North Vancouver mountains. This was always something I just wasn't into, but things had to change. Following a doctors checkup with bloodwork and an ultrasound of my liver in early February for my 46th birthday i had to make choices and change my habits. Everything was high from blood pressure at pre hypertension levels to the cholesterol way outside of normal healthy levels and to top it off a fatty liver. I was 300 lbs at 6-7.
Things had to change.
I started hiking from the house in Lynn Valley up the hill making my way up to Princess Park and that was tough just to make it to the park. I had to stop and catch my breath several times before getting to the park. I kept at it and next thing I was making my way past the park and getting on the lower trails of Mount Fromme. I kept at it few times a week rain or shine for a few months. Then I started to want to run so I started with little bits of that training around the suspension bridge area in Lynn Valley. I kept at that for a couple months and started to research trails running online and came across James and his youtube channel. I found James website and started to read what hes doing and his approach.
The timing was right. I have alot of injuries from the years and I knew if I', going to keep this going and do things right James is the guy to help get me there so I emailed. James got back to me and sent me his intake package with questions about my goals and what I'm looking for. I listed off my issues and my goal. I want to run the knee knacker 50k before I', 50 is what I told him.
Its been 7 going 8 months training with James and I cant believe how far I have come.
The hike to the park I had to stop to catch my breath, I now power up the hill past the park and right up to the Baden Powell trail then I run across town and back home! I dont stop anymore!
Following James guidance i have lost weight now 255 lbs average and holding that as more muscle is building along with the endurance to power up hills running. I recently did the BCMC trail 2 times in 1 day. That's hiking up and down twice and I couldn't believe I did that. It was a huge accomplishment for me.
My running has extended to half marathon distances and that keeps growing.
I have ankle issues and have had knee and lower back surgery and with James guiding me I have stayed injury free. Thats exactly why I reached out to James because of what he talks about on his website.
Everything is earned and the effort has been worth it for me. James keeps me in check and the results are great for me. I'm down almost 50 lbs and my legs are growing in strength and endurance capacity.
My blood pressure is normal now and I average a resting heartrate of 55. My doctor can't believe my bloodwork now. The levels are optimal.
Its been just over a year now since I started and I'm glad I did it the right way by having James as my coach.
The adventures in the mountains keep growing for me , the best part is I'm having fun.
Matt has been with me since I opened my coaching program in late 2019. He originally signed up hoping to compete in the Multi-Grouse Grind Challenge for 2020 and hike as many Grind's as possible. With the pandemic it was cancelled and Matt transitioned to beginning his trail running journey and has progressed substantially in his running to being able to race hard at half-marathon distances. He is now working towards developing his endurance to run longer distances in the future. Matt originally came into the coaching program with the mentality of feeling like he had to train at high intensity all the time to make any progress to his fitness but has learned to embrace a more consistent structured program that balances training intensities that has led to higher levels of fitness than he has previously attained.
James Stewart has been my coach since December, 2019. Over that time, he has helped me get fitter and stronger for a variety of activities, including hill-hiking, trail running, and biking.
Throughout my time with him, James has been thoughtful and constructive about what kinds of goals I should set, and, once decided, extremely helpful in teaching me how to reach them. I have gotten, since I have worked with him, fitter, faster, and stronger, and his approach to training has kept me entirely injury-free.
James is everything you want in a coach: friendly, approachable, non-judgmental, and effective. I hope to work with him for a long time yet!
Update (February 2023): James is the real deal. He's trained me for three years, both for general fitness and a couple of trail races here and there. Over this time he's built and shared an impressive knowledge-base from both from his own years of training and extensive research. He's used it to provide me with an absolutely monumental training manual as well as good, creative, and varied training plans that are well-suited to whatever goal I've set for myself. I've increased performance on every dimension and stayed injury-free. What I can do today bears no resemblance at all to what I was limited to before we met, and I owe a lot of that to him.
Adam arrived to me as someone recently new to running. Adam's background was almost entirely a sedentary lifestyle until I was 29. About a year ago, he started going for morning walks which eventually led to running. He started running at 280 pounds and only lasted 400m on his first attempt. Prior to signing up to coaching he got down to around 230 pounds and started to run 5ks consistently. After working with me for a year Adam has been able to find consistency with his running and after 9 months of working with me Adam was capable of doing a 25-30km trail run successfully. He's come a really long way in a short space of time.
I have been working with James for about a year now. The first thing that impressed me after signing up was his in-depth Couch to Summit Training Manual. It contained valuable information on everything from running technique, diet & nutrition, mapping routes & more.
During my time with the program, James taught me the importance of running at a lower intensity level. I can now run much farther than before, all while avoiding injuries. He does a great job customizing the training log to perfectly suit my ability. Whenever I have a question for him, he answers it promptly & thoroughly and will add lots of valuable insight.
Whether you are a beginner or more advanced, you will not find a better coach!
Rudy wrote to me and told me he watched many of my videos while in his “Lazy Boy chair”. He is defying the "age is no limit" barrier signing up for coaching at 71 years old. Rudy is learning to trail run and increasing his hiking fitness. He has a strong enthusiasm and passion for outdoor fitness and a love of the mountains along the Sea to Sky highway in North Vancouver. Rudy wants to safely tackle some of the more advanced trails with the fitness to make it home before dark. He said he doesn't see any reason to give it up, he just wants to get better and safer at it.
I got to know James thru watching his “Couch to the Summit” Videos that cover many of our local mountain trails that I frequently visit or have been on some years back. Last summer, James introduced us to Bremmer’s Vancouver VK program on his website. In his article he explained what level of fitness makes it possible to participate. I decided to hike the “Lost Limb” VK4 trail on (Mt Harvey) just to test things out. With one-week recoveries from outings of similar difficulty, I realized that I would need his help to progress. James started Coaching me from October 2021 (9 months ago). His training fits my long-term plans with visible results right during the first month. The weekly training programs are carefully prepared around my personal needs with adjustments and fine tunning as we keep moving forward. James brings a scientific approach to fitness that he acquired on his world travels and while competing along with the word’s elite athletes.