Video: Getting to Know Hafid Tyrone James, Bodybuilder of the Year 2017

by Donella Hosten

For the 2nd consecutive year, the Grenada Olympic Committee has awarded Hafid Tyrone James, Bodybuilder of the Year at the National Sports Award Ceremony.

James’ 2017 nomination came as a result of his prestigious achievements throughout the year, which included receiving the highest award in Amateur Bodybuilding, the International Federation Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFFB) Pro Card after winning the Ben Weider Legacy Cup in Aruba.

James was born to Grenadian Marian Bruno James but never grew up in Grenada. However, this has not stopped him representing the Isle of Spice at countless bodybuilding competitions around the world.  He currently lives in Bermuda where he is a personal trainer and coach, and an art director.

Speaking to NOW Grenada about the 2 consecutive awards, and what they mean to him, James commented, “Being honest, not growing up and living in Grenada, I had to understand that there will be some disconnect between myself and the people, [and that] can make it harder for me to reach out and help. But, I sweat and bleed Grenada. So, to be noticed and to win 2 years in a row, makes me feel closer to Grenada, and the work and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.”

Of course, as with any other athletes, James has had his moments of disappointment, none of which caused him to give up. He highlighted one competition in 2013 when he placed 4th, and this changed his entire life. “I know most people don’t like to remember losing, but before that loss, I wasn’t a bodybuilder, I just competed.” According to him, it was on that day he decided to become a bodybuilder and make it his life.

He went on to speak about his first time representing Grenada, which was in 2015 at the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Competition. To him, this meant that there was a lot of pressure on him to win, which he did. “I had to represent Grenada, my coach Carmicheal Bryan and myself.”

In 2016, James was the first Caribbean athlete to win his category at the Arnold Amateur in Ohio. His pinnacle moment, however, remains receiving his IFFB Pro Card. James is the 2nd Grenadian bodybuilder, after Vaughn Francis in 2007, to receive this award.

What can Grenada expect from him in the future? James stated, “Now that I’m a pro, I can represent 473 on a much larger, prestige, global scale.” He will be competing later this year, although no specific date has as yet been set.

Acknowledging that quite a number of persons in Grenada do not fully understand the sport of bodybuilding, James gave a bit of insight into the sport and some of its benefits. “Let’s take out the training, which has its own multitudes of benefits for a bodybuilder to progress…,” because, most times, “as soon as someone is in a gym or competes in a show, they are labelled as a ‘bodybuilder.’ However, this isn’t the case, according to James, as he referred to his experiences competing for at least 2 years before making the decision to become a bodybuilder.

Speaking to some of the health benefits, James said, “bodybuilding absolutely has positive benefits on your health,’ as one must be able to understand the science of food and nutrition in order to be able to progress. “If people understood the science and benefits of eating right, diseases and symptoms like low [and high] blood sugar, high blood pressure, would be greatly reduced.”  A personal trainer and coach, James finds himself educating athletes, competitors and potential bodybuilders. He hopes that they can be positive influences for health and fitness in the respective communities.

In speaking about the potential of Grenadian bodybuilders, James noted that there needs to be a spirit of selflessness, where athletes would be willing to help others. “We should all be trying to better ourselves and the people around us. So, athletes help other athletes, gyms help other gyms…think about your actions today and how it is going to affect your future. We should have one goal, and that is to represent Grenada to the best of our ability.”

What keeps a man like this motivated and driven? According to James, “It is good to have numerous forms of motivation to help you get through. But honestly, ‘feeling’ motivated isn’t everything.” He shared that there will be times when you will not be motivated, “…and you don’t want to go to the gym, work, study…. but if you have a goal and you know it is worth it,” those feelings of ‘not wanting to’ must be ignored, by focusing on the task at hand.

James is expected to be in Grenada to host a series of sessions on nutrition and training from 29 January to 2 February at the Fit for Life Health Club in Grand Anse.

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