About James Fitzgerald the OPEX Founder

Meet James FitzGerald
OPEX Fitness Founder

OPEX Fitness Founder and industry-leading educator, James FitzGerald, has dedicated his life to bringing honor to the coaching profession. OPEX Coaching Education and Gyms Licensing Programs provide coaches with the tools needed to professionalize their passion. The OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) reflects his 25 plus years of coaching expertise and is set apart by providing comprehensive coaching theory as well as practical application of its principles. OPEX continues to educate thousands of coaches around the world each year through a dynamic digital platform and live courses. In early 2019, James achieved another career milestone with the release of Mixed Modal, a groundbreaking course specifically designed to educate coaches on the long-term development of competitive functional fitness athletes.

About our Founder

James’ fitness journey began while playing competitive soccer in his teens. During his collegiate years, James spent a great deal of time training, studying, and researching fitness. His investigations led to the publishing of multiple studies in “Physiology Canada” and “The Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology”. After University, James proceeded to apply his knowledge coaching general population clients and competitive athletes.


After years in the trenches, James built a thriving coaching business and launched Optimum Performance Training (OPT) in 1999. James became widely known as “OPT”. His astute commentary around fitness and training led him to create the “Big Dawgs Blog” in 2005. The Big Dawgs Blog was a haven for coaches and athletes who loved investigating fitness and it gained huge momentum around the world because of James’ educational training methodologies.


James stepped further into the public spotlight through the personal application of his methodologies as he was crowned The Fittest Man on Earth, winning the inaugural CrossFit games in 2007.


Looking to spread his knowledge and create a system around his methodologies, James began coaching athletes remotely and spearheading the individual design programming movement. James believes that individual design programs are the only way that a coach and client can build the relationship and trust necessary to progress a client’s fitness for a lifetime. Through the rapid growth of OPT and the Big Dawgs Blog, James realized that he needed to share his coaching methodologies on a larger scale.


In 2009 in freezing cold Calgary, James kicked off the first live CCP Courses (Coaching Certificate Program). In 2011 James moved to sunny Scottsdale, Arizona to build the next phase of OPT, and OPEX Fitness was born. James continues to teach his methodologies through the various courses offered by OPEX Fitness along with keeping a watchful eye on the reincarnation of the Big Dawgs, an athlete-specific remote coaching resource.

coach with client