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Military veteran uses physical fitness to make a difference for others

Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 07, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. --- One man has taken his love for physical fitness to the next level. Now, he spends his time helping others reach their goals.

James Coley spent time serving in the military and playing pro-basketball. However, he was still unfulfilled. Then he started sharing his love of physical fitness.

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“When I first met James I weighed 316 pounds and now I’m a cool 175 and it’s all because of him, he means the world to me,” Joy Felton, a client.

Felton said she was on the verge of giving up. She had gone through three personal trainers and saw no progress. That’s when she met Coley.

“It’s almost like he sees something in you that you don’t see in yourself,” said Felton.

Coley has been training his whole life, serving in the Air Force before playing professional basketball in the Dominican Republic. However, he knew he could do more.

“When you find out what you are supposed to do with your life and you do that, it makes life worth living,” said Coley.

He started helping out a few friends at the gym and soon realized this was his calling.

“There are some people out there that have some serious health issues, so if I can do something to kind of thwart that problem and make a difference in this world that’s more fulfilling to me,” said Coley.

“I was well over 400 pounds and now I’m at 255,” said Gloria Ortiz.

Ortiz said in the beginning, she didn’t know what to expect of Coley. She wasn’t looking for a drill sargent or an arrogant athlete. What she found in Coley was an understanding teddy bear.

“(I) called him and on the phone with him for a straight hour and I mean he just listened and I just cried, talked to him about what I was going through personally, and I just said, ‘I need help,’” said Ortiz.

Coley has operated in a lot of missions and played in a lot of basketball games, but it’s this part of his life that has made the biggest impact.

“When I see where they’ve been and where they are going and know they are getting their lives on track in the right way that’s why I do it,” said Coley.

For more information on James Coley’s training, and history, click here.