James Shaw is a Professional Volleyball Player currently playing Setter for the US National Team, which he joined in 2014. He has also played professionally in Italy for the two most recent professional seasons, last season for Sir Safety Perugia as part of their first ever Italian Championship-winning team.Prior to playing in Italy, he was a four-year starter at setter and outside for Stanford University (2012-2016) where he was a two-time AVCA All-American and led his team to the NCAA championship match in 2014.
James has been a part of the National Team for five consecutive years, where he has competed for playing time at the setter position. He has been named to the FIVB World League roster, this year’s Volleyball Nation’s League roster, and perhaps most notably, was named an alternate to the 12-man roster for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In the 2018 summer season, James will compete for the red, white, and blue in the USA’s series of friendly matches against Argentina as well as the Pan-American Cup in Veracruz, Mexico – both in August.
James has been dairy-free for three years and counting, pescatarian for one year. His passions off the court include cooking plant-based, sustainably sourced meals, studying all things human body and performance optimization, and educating younger generations on the importance of fueling one’s body mindfully in order for them to blow past their ‘potential’. Go check him out on instagram @jwalkershaw, his website: jwshaw.me and on twitter @jameswalkershaw.
Get To Know Me
What motivated you to pursue a healthy/balanced lifestyle?
I quickly found in my introduction to college athletics that they way I was currently fueling was not going to cut it. At the end of my freshman year at Stanford, I flipped the switch on my diet and began to see immediate results in how I played, how my body looked, and most importantly, how I felt day-in and day-out.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure food?
I don’t know if I ever feel guilty about feeling pleasure from food, and all foods can nourish the person in some way – whether it’s physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.. But if we’re talking about foods that might not make me feel so great after I eat them? I love a good white pizza loaded with cheese and olive oil, without red sauce, and a little bit of black truffle on top.
How do you like to start each day?
I like to start each day by writing in my 5-minute journal, then snapping a picture of myself either naturally or forcedly giving a smile, making my bed, then sitting for 20 minutes in my zen meditation practice. Following this, to prepare for training, I’ll make myself a high protein breakfast to get myself fueled up for lots of energy output. I know that after this series of small actions I’m always set up in the right way to attack the day feeling alive and present.
How do you like to end each day?
I like to end each day with my face in a good book and by playing a little guitar. I like to use my blue-blocking glasses to start the melatonin production process around 8, so that I start to feel tired around 9 or 10, my typical bed time. I’m a grandpa already…
Tell us a bit more about your journey with volleyball? What’s next for you?
My journey with volleyball has been a story of adversity and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, it seems! I have battled through my fair share of major surgeries and torn ligaments, but what is an athletic career without a little of that? I have responded well to that type of adversity and I believe that’s exactly what got me to this level. I continue to keep my head down and work through the struggles – nowadays those struggles are perhaps even larger and more daunting as I’ve come up against the almighty depth chart battle. Being the third setter on a team that only travels two setters is difficult, but nothing new in my career. Just the next hurdle to find my way over!
How do you stay motivated? Any tips for our readers?
I stay motivated because of the people around me, supporting me on a constant basis. I look around at the village it truly took to help me be in the place I am athletically and I feel such love and support from them and for them. I couldn’t possibly do anything but give everything I have into my craft for these people. More generally, I stay motivated by competing against my self from yesterday. How can I be just a little bit better than I was the day before?
Why is protein such an important part of your diet?
I start the day, finish training, snack throughout, and end the day with protein-dense foods and supplements like those from Sprout Living. In order for me to reach anywhere near to my goals physically, I have to have the right macronutrient balance. To sustain my energy, build muscle, and recover from long training days, protein has to be the main component in the way I fuel. Sprout Living products have become a staple in my training days and off days, as I have been dairy-free (milk protein powder-free) for three years.
What’s your favorite Sprout Living product and Why?
I am a simple guy, who is very easily pleased. With that said, the sprout powders have opened up my eyes to the world of sprouts in powder form as my absolute favorite smoothie supplement. Any of the three mixes are absolute staples in my diet.