Spartan Racer Dr. Alan James Practices what he Preaches

If you see a tall, athletic man singing, dancing, and whistling through the hallways of JNT Natural Medical Regenerative and Pain Center, it’s the 60-year-old owner and founder Dr. Alan James. When it comes to his exuberant demeanor, James explains, “Every morning, the first decision I make is that this is a tremendous day, and I’m in a wonderful mood!”

Even though he didn’t originally envision himself in medicine, his chiropractic practice is his favorite place to be. He started working on the railroad in Humboldt, Tenn. just after high school. Back pain from that strenuous job led him to chiropractic treatment. When his chiropractor suggested he study medicine, his first reaction was to laugh. He told his doctor he had no desire to go back to school, but gradually he changed his mind, enrolled in a program, and graduated near the top of his class.

Decades later, he’s still passionate about aiding the body’s natural ability to heal itself. “My chiropractic practice went in a unique direction,” he says, “Because I now specialize in the world of functional neurology.”

Dr. Alan took his practice down that specific path after his mother started having mobility issues. “In an effort to help her, I began to open my perspective. I ended up taking graduate courses and researching. Once I was able to help her, I started helping others as well.”

When it comes to well-being, Dr. Alan is fully committed to ongoing study and leading his patients by example.

“I’m not 60 pounds overweight telling you that you need to go on a diet. I’m not standing outside with a cigarette telling you that you need to stop smoking. Patients see me because every day at lunchtime I’m outside doing my workouts. My patients see me going for runs in the 100-degree weather. They see me doing all the things I tell them to do, and more. They know that I not only know these things intellectually, but I live them physically.”

Dr. Alan stepped up his fitness program when he fell in love with Spartan Racing, a sport that puts runners through challenging obstacle courses in all sorts of terrains and weather conditions. He is so passionate about this sport that he has arranged his schedule to accommodate his rigorous regime. 

The Workout

His weekly running covers about 24–30 miles. He also creates unique workouts that mimic the conditions he’ll face during Spartan races.

“I mix it up because going into a gym and just training with weights won’t prepare you for a Spartan Race. I practice on monkey bars and climb the 80 steps at Tom Lee Park carrying buckets of rocks or sandbags.”

The majority of Dr. Alan’s training takes place behind his practice during an extended lunch break.

“It gives me a chance to get reinvigorated for the second half of the day, and it forces me to work out in hot, humid weather. When it’s time to race in a challenging outdoor environment, it’s no big deal.”

Among his basic drills are walking on medicine balls to build up balance and agility along with ambitious sets of pushups, lunges, squats, and jumping.

The Diet

Though remarkably lean, energetic, and strong, Dr. Alan’s diet doesn’t include many vegetables. “I eat a lot of chicken, steak, sweet potatoes, rice, and eggs. I enjoy a lot of Starbucks hot chocolate. I eat apples and bananas, and I take a lot of supplements.”

Dr. Alan is an enzyme replacement therapist, which he practices himself. “A lot of the food we eat isn’t as nourishing as we think it is because of the way it’s grown and stored,” he explains. “Slowing down spoilage artificially and the way we fertilize affects the food. The plants grow big and green, and they look good in the supermarket, but by the time we eat them, they don’t have a lot of nutrients.” Dr. Alan is a firm believer that supplements are essential for everyone because of these modern change in the food supply.

The Motivation

He has a simple life and simple philosophies. “I think motivating yourself boils down to a decision like deciding how you want to feel.” Every day he is grateful. “I love having the ability to wake up and go to the place where I love to be. I love helping my patients find answers they can’t find anywhere else.”

Dr. Alan says that his faith and his spiritual life influence everything he does. “When people come to see me, I know that our paths have crossed because they were brought here. God has given me the opportunity to learn things that can help them.”

By Caroline Sposto

Photo by Tindall Stephens

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