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My Fitness Journey: Natalie Brown

When I was 6 years old I told my Mom and Dad that I didn’t want to play soccer anymore because “I hated running!”  This was a very interesting way to start my fitness journey. For those that know me now, times have changed. I love to run now. However, my 6 year old self did not want anything to do with it. Thankfully my parents did not force me to play a sport I hated just because they thought that I should.

As I got older I was always involved in sports that I loved: basketball, volleyball, and softball. When you are a part of a team sport, workouts are a part of your daily routine, year round. I didn’t love every aspect of our practices, especially those 2 a day conditioning workouts in the middle of a hot and humid Michigan summer, but I did love sports and I always wanted to do what it took to get better. For me that meant coming in early to lift weights, or staying late to practice my defensive skills on the volleyball court.

Once high school ended, I could no longer count on a daily mandatory practice to attend. I had to find a way to implement this into my daily routine on my own. I was lucky, sports had made it so that working out was mandatory, but with this change in routine, I had to find a way to move.
In college, I found the easiest thing to do was to run. All I needed to do was put on a pair of shoes and head out the door. In college I ran a lot. I never timed myself or entered any races, it was my way to keep active. There were times that I was very disciplined about my routine and other times when weeks would pass without any workouts.

In 2006 I was living in San Diego for an internship and I joined a gym near work. I started taking the group exercise classes that they had there and I loved them! I fell in love with Turbo Kick, a class that was kick boxing choreographed to music. This was also the first time I had ever been exposed to Yoga. That summer was a turning point for me.

It took me another 2 years, but I eventually got certified to teach Turbo Kick and was hired as a group exercise instructor in Ann Arbor Michigan. I was having a blast! I was also coaching volleyball at my old high school at the time and would do a lot of the conditioning work with the girls. It was around that time that I realized my true passion for not only my own fitness, but my passion for helping others become fit!

Soon after I became a group exercise instructor, I made a huge leap and went back to school to get my Masters in Exercise Physiology. This was a field I had absolutely NO experience in. I was doing well in a very safe career in Corporate Education. I knew I loved training & coaching people, but I was primarily doing this in the field of organizational behavior. Making this change was going to allow me to train people in the physical sciences. I loved my degree! The classes were so interesting as well as challenging.

During the 2 years it took to get my Masters degree, I realized that I didn’t really know how to lift weights. Sure I had done it here and there, but I had never really trained in this way. I decided that if I was going to BE a trainer, I needed to HAVE a trainer. I worked with a trainer for about 6 months before I took over my own programming and workouts. Lifting opened up a whole new world of fitness for me.

I discovered that I LOVE to lift weights. I love the feeling of strength that comes from lifting something heavy.  It is a different experience from the strength I felt when running.

Since then, my dive into the fitness field has been amazing. I have learned so much from all of my co-workers, clients and fitness conferences that I have attended.

I love all of the amazing changes that I made in my life because of the risk I took on my passion for fitness! My life is better in every way because fitness is a part of it. While I am happy all those years ago I was not forced to play a sport that I didn’t like when I was young, I sure am glad I gave running another chance!

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