MadLab Athlete of the Month: James Dare

In 2013, James Dare was in a serious traffic accident that resulted in four surgeries and more than 120 hospital, doctor and physiotherapy visits over the course of the next few years.

“My inactivity and repeated injuries caused my weight to balloon, and I was really struggling with any form of recovery as my activity level was severely restricted,” Dare said.

Then came November 2015. Dare had just turned 40, and he made the decision to take matters into his own hands; he did this by walking into Chichester CrossFit —a MadLab member gym in West Sussex in the UK

He was skeptical what might come of it.

“I never thought I would be able to recover any decent level of fitness again,” Dare said. “But I felt like this was my last chance.”

When he first arrived at his new gym, he weighed close to 235 lb. 

In the first month, he lost 18 lb., and by the end of the third month he was down 45 lb.

“I now weight 83 kg (182 lb.),” Dare said. “I’m under 10 percent (bodyfat) for the first time in my life.”

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Dare’s coach Archie Cunningham—who meets with Dare once a week for personal training—has high praise for his pupil.

“He has become one of the most respected athletes,” Cunningham said, adding that in the last year Dare has gone from needing a green band for pull-ups to being able to do sets of chest-to-bar pull-ups unassisted.

“He’s a regular face in the 6 a.m. class, and always shows up loud and clear. He has made the more competitive masters athletes suddenly question and worry a little bit as he has been catching up to some of the better guys recently,” he added.

And he’s a pleasure to work with.

“Having him as a client makes me want to make the gym better with more to offer him…He has been a great friend over the last year and I feel very lucky to have someone like him to work with.”

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But more importantly, Dare has inspired others to make better choices in life, Cunningham said—the way Dare has. 

For Dare, the first fews months for him involved a lot of “undoing bad habits.” The challenge forced him to take a close look at himself.

“This is about being honest with yourself and really understanding what you want to achieve. You need to have measurable goals,” he said.  

Dare said he credits a lot of his success to having Cunningham as his coach.

“Archie is key. I have trained on and off my (whole) life, but this is the smartest I have ever trained. We went right back to the basics and effectively rebuilt me from scratch, each month reviewing my diet and performance, revising my program and setting new goals. Considering last year I was under the impression I would never walk again correctly, it has literally been life changing, “ Dare said. 

“(I have been able to) recover the three years of my life I lost, and I have now surpassed my level of fitness pre-accident. I am the fittest I have been in 10 years.”


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