A frail child, Jim began learning the effects and values of exercise at age six. His brother, Bill, began his early training in running, calisthenics and various sports. Such training continued under many excellent coaches, including Duane Barrows and Max Andress at Columbus H.S. (Indiana).
At Indiana University, Jim lettered on the amazing I.U. Swimming team under legendary coach, James E. (Doc) Counsilman. Hobie Billingsley, “the world’s greatest diving coach,” tutored him to an AAU National Junior Diving Championship. Jim also lettered in Gymnastics under Dr. Otto Ryser. His trampoline coach, Arthur J. Canning, helped him win the L G. Balfour award for gymnastics.
The values of exercise eventually turned his interests toward fitness. His first venture into the field of fitness was his book How to Flatten Your Stomach. It sold 2,000,000 copies world-wide, going to #1 on every best-seller list.
Three media tours included radio, TV, and newspaper interviews in each of 10 major U.S. and Canadian cities. Tom Brokaw interviewed Jim on the Today Show and both he and Jack LaLanne appeared together on the TV show Omelet, interviewed by Hugh Downs.
Jim’s Belly Burner commercial played consistently on various network and cable channels for a year, selling 100,000 units. His jump rope program, the Lope Rope, was featured on the cover of Family Circle magazine. His programs appeared repeatedly as cover features in Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, and other major periodicals. Jim wants to help people make exercise a pleasant, productive part of their lifestyles.