This bodybuilding father starts training his kids in the gym at 2 years old!

James Townsend (@thejamestownsend) is a father, CrossFit athlete, and owner of The Brave One Gym, who trains kids as young as 2 years old. Townsend lives a lifestyle driven by a deep understanding of the importance of physical fitness, and he instills his values of confidence and bravery to his young pupils, helping them prepare to take on life in and out of the gym.

“My overall goal for my kids is to just be brave, strong, and confident,” says Townsend. “Mentally, physically, anything—when it comes to preparing for a play or writing a book report, you’re confident. The main thing is just instilling in them the core values that me and my wife would love for them to have. Just to help make this world a better place.”

Townsend played college football and had a brief stint with the Chicago Bears before he shifted his focus to CrossFit, but even as a kid, Townsend “was able to do some amazing stuff.” In 2013, when Townsend had his daughter, he was quickly able to realize that she was showing the same physical prowess that he showed as a youth. 

“I was like, ‘Alright, let me see the things that she can do’ because she started crawling at 3 months and walking at 7 months,” says the trainer. Townsend, who lived in Los Angeles at the time, was “in the gym 24/7,” and because day care in Los Angeles was so expensive, he would bring his daughter along to his workouts.

Townsend first started posting videos of his daughter working out “because it was fun,” but after a video of his daughter doing 10 straight pull ups got some attention online, Townsend quickly started to build up a following. “Every post after that just started getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” he says. 

Townsend’s passion eventually grew into a business, and he founded The Brave One Gym to help expand his influence beyond his own family. As for the name? “If I can make you brave in the gym, just imagine how brave I can make you outside of the gym,” says Townsend. “Imagine you taking the authority over your mind and saying, ‘You know what? I can do this. I will be brave in this moment.’ Not just in the gym, but outside of the gym. Because the world is a beast, and that’s where you need to be brave the most.” 

Townsend says the youngest kid he would train at his gym is his 2-year-old son, but he feels that all kids have a built-in blueprint for peak physical fitness and training, and starting training young is a great way to ensure that that blueprint is utilized through adulthood. 

“Kids are born with a natural ability. The natural form,” says Townsend. “If you pay attention to kids’ forms for when they squat or for when they’re watching TV, and they’re just sitting in a squat and their chest is up, it’s like, this is what we need to keep because before they get older and get into a 9-to-5 job, that’s when they lose all the form. But if we can keep them starting at a young age, like my son, all the way up to until they’re 21, and keep them active, America would be in a better shape than they’re in now.” 

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