Julie N.

I’ve always been active: team sports through elementary and high school, played shortstop on a college national championship team, summer fastpitch softball through my late 20s… and then I ran out of ways to participate in competitive team sports (and no, beer league softball does not count). Even though I like to camp and hike, when I hit my early 40s, several factors combined to kick my butt: a sedentary teaching job, poor eating habits, adult cocktail hour, and lack of a support system for exercise that I can enjoy. Essentially, I lost my teammates and any motivation to take charge of my own fitness and health.

In May of 2015, my wife and I visited Ireland, and looking back at pictures after the trip, the “weight” of all those factors hit me. Not only was I unhappy with how I looked and felt physically, I was constantly tired, rundown, and achey. I felt like crap.

A gym ad popped up on my Facebook feed one day. I’ve never liked exercise classes, or wanted to pay to go to a gym to stare at equipment and avoid other people watching me work out. But I thought I’d give this a try, did some research, and picked 2 gyms to shop. Brandon gave his spiel, and a week later, I was taking the intro series of lessons to learn movements. It was hard. It was awful. I was hooked.

Almost three years later, I’ve lost weight, gained muscles I love, and discovered a community of like-minded teammates and coaches, men and women of all ages, sizes, and, interests, who motivate me to show up, day after day, and TRY. I’ve stopped assuming I know my limits… how much I can lift, how far I can run, how many burpees I can do. The limits reset every time I think I’ve hit one.

“Just show up” sounds overly simplistic, but it really is that easy. I just showed up.

WHAT MUSIC DAY PUMPS YOU UP THE MOST IN THE GYM?

I don’t ever notice the music, consciously, but then I’ll be out shopping or driving, and a song will come on that takes me straight to the gym: I love all of it (except Dillon’s country).

(And also, I love to work out to Eminem or P!nk.)

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF WORKOUT?

I don’t love any specific kind of workout, but I do love that every day is different, and whatever recent workout left me in a heap, there’s a next one to focus on that is challenging in a new way. Brandon’s programming LITERALLY teaches me something new every day about my strengths and weaknesses. Even on days when I feel defeated, I leave ready for the next one, feeling better for trying.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE?

In the sweets department, my dad’s homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and a cold glass of milk. Savory wise, I feel like this answer would change daily. Today it would be wavy potato chips in French onion dip.