There are times in life that life is not fair. You feel alone and do not have a lot of things going right for you. Maybe you did not have a lot of friends in school. Maybe you were the oddball and was left out of activities. Well life is not always fair. But does that mean you give up? Does that mean you just throw in the towel and say “I quit”. No. As the saying goes, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. You have choices to make your life better. You can say I am one of those people that can make something better than what I have now. And this person did just that. Julie Brown could have easily taken the easy road and said I quit. Julie Brown could have hung with the wrong crowd and made life one that she would have regretted forever. But Julie is a survivor. Julie is a lady that changed life and has been changing lives for a long time with the senior citizens and they are joyful for her. Julie Brown is a 53 year old bodybuilder and has aspirations to change the lives of many that she helps daily.
While Examiner was visiting Washington we met up with Julie Brown who is a 53 year old mother, grandmother, bodybuilder and a recent graduate who and is now a Certified Nurse’s Assistant. Julie is one lady that has changed her life and has made a great contribution to society that otherwise could have gone sour. Many people would not come this far to create a better life and those around them. As people know, exercise can change the life of people for the better. If you look at past lives of a lot of people, they have turned their lives around by entering into the family of bodybuilding. One thing you will notice when you are in the gym, maybe walking, or even riding a bike, is people who exercise are some of the happiest and non-stressed people. The benefits you achieve are well worth the time and energy you put into your exercise routine. One of these people that has made a significant change in her life is Julie. She was kind enough to sit with us and chat for a while. The following is the interview between Julie Brown and the Examiner.
Examiner: Where do you currently reside?
Julie Brown: I currently reside in Bellevue Washington. Big change for me as I was from a little country town called Mossyrock Washington.
Examiner: How tall are you?
Julie Brown: 5 feet 8 inches.
Examiner: Where did you go to high school and did you play in sports in school.
Julie Brown: I grew up in a broken home. Since I moved a lot I went to a lot of schools and the last 3 years, I went to Coeurda’alene High School in Idaho. I was considered more of a tomboy than anything. But it was in high school that I started weight lifting. We had to take weightlifting in gym and I loved it. I was pretty skinny in high school but I loved my sports. With the help of weightlifting, my interest in bodybuilding and sports started to take off. I often beat the boys when working out, which helped spark my competitiveness even more. I decided to participate in track and I did the high jump and long jump. Being from a broken family and no father, sports gave me an outlet to feel proud of myself. I got encouragement from other sports families. Sports aloud me mentally and physically to be healthier. Bodybuilding helped me overcome a lot of obstacles and created a positive new me.
Examiner: Did you attend college – if so where and did you participate in sports.
Julie Brown: I didn’t really think I had a chance to attend college. Going through three divorces with my mother, changing schools about twice a year, I’m surprised I even graduated. But I managed to keep my grades up and stay out of the wrong influences. I graduated in 1981 and then my body changed. I began to model for western outfitters. I modeled wedding dresses for wedding boutiques and was featured in a prettiest Cowgirls of the Northwest Calendar. After graduation I got married, had a baby and went to night school and got my Certified Nurse’s Assistant license. I worked at a convalescent center helping the elderly. This was something I loved to do. I’m compassionate and caring so it seemed fitting to become a Nurse. I’ve always love to help the elderly. I have three children now and am a grandmother of 3. I am no longer married but date Bob Stoddard who is an ex professional baseball player who pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers, San Diego Padres and the Kansas City Royals. At age 50 I went back to college. I just graduated in 2014 from Lake Washington Technical College and am now a Licensed Medical Assistant and work at Madison House Assisted Living, doing what I love. Giving back to the elderly. I have plans to open my own adult family Home in the future.
.Examiner: At what age did you start lifting weights?
Julie Brown: I played around a little with weights when I was in high school and in physical therapy. For some reason, life had it out for me so I dug deep and had to just keep pushing. In 2000, I bulged a disc barrel racing. I was disabled for one year. I was told to accept it and to sell the horses. I knew that wasn’t my destiny. I don’t like to be told I can’t. I recovered by walking everyday then gradually exercising. I wasn’t going to quit. Then in 2001, I was told I had cancer and was told to get my life in order. Today I’m cancer free. I have overcome a lot and I haven’t looked back since.
Examiner: When did you take your exercising to the next level and decide to get serious about bodybuilding?
Julie Brown: I ran into my girlfriend that I hadn’t seen in months and she looked amazing. She said she lost 20 lbs doing a 12 week fitness program. I was so impressed. She invited me to go watch her do a Bikini Competition. It wasn’t until I went to an NPC show that I got serious. It was like a switch was turned on. I thought it’s never too late to be what I “Might Have Been” I’m 53 years old, I can do this. I followed what motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “If you really want to do something you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” My girlfriend told me about her trainer Annie Lewis. After I looked into who Annie was and how good she is, I signed up to have her as my trainer. With Annie’s help, I weighed 160 lbs and in twelve weeks lost 30 lbs.
Examiner: Do you have a favorite way to kick start the morning?
Julie Brown: I am not a morning person and when I was training, I learned the value of adding nutrition to your body. (I never ate breakfast), but I did learn that you need to jump start your metabolism and eat. So now, I start out with a hot cup of decaf coffee, a protein shake and oatmeal.
Examiner: How many shows have you competed in and do you remember where you placed in the competition(s)?
Julie Brown: My very first show was the Gladiators Classic 2014 Masters bikini over 35 and I took 5th place. My Second show was NPC Northern Classic in 2014 where I placed 2nd place bikini in the over 50 class. I’m now bulking for Emerald Cup 2015 in May.
Examiner: Dieting is a major part of a bodybuilder’s daily routine. If someone spent the day with you what would they see you eating?
Julie Brown: A lot! I am on a bulking plan right now so I’m consuming around 2300 calories a day. The key to this is prepping and packing your food with you everywhere you go so you are not tempted to grab a trigger food. I consume 6 meals a day all weighed out and individually packed. I pack raw yams, chicken, tilapia, flank steak, brown rice, broccoli, sweet potatoes, protein shakes, berries and almonds and peanut butter
Examiner: Have you ever experienced carb depletion before any competition and if so, how have you overcome it?
Julie Brown: Quitting was never an option. You need to be 100% committed with the diet and the workout. I knew that I had to be accountable to my trainer, myself and the people that were going to see me on stage. At the age of 53, it can be very intimidating competing against an 18 year old, so I had better look like I belong there. I gained confidence every week. The more I worked out, the better I felt and looked. Also, the stage kept me committed. I just kept thinking of that prize. Right before a competition, we do what is called peak week. That was interesting, I finally got to eat something other than tilapia. I ate some white rice and drank very little water to make the muscles stand out.
Examiner: If you ever do a max lifting day, what is the most you have lifted and what type of lift was it?
Julie Brown: I don’t do a max lifting day. Right now I’m doing a mini bulk plan so I lift as heavy as I can keeping in mind my back injury. I’m really focusing on glutes and legs right now.
Examiner: When you are posing on stage is there a certain time-frame that you have to hold that position and how hard is it to hold the position?
Julie Brown: Usually before a competition, they have a competitor meeting and go over the posing rules and where they want you on stage. Each show varies. I found that you want to hold a pose long enough to give the judges a good look. They will usually tell you when to take a new pose. It’s very tiring to hold poses. And it is harder than it looks. Most of the girls are shaking. You are popping that booty the whole time, it’s very unnatural.
Examiner: Do you have a posing coach or do you learn posing on your own?
Julie Brown: I started posing by watching videos but I felt I wanted feedback so I hired a professional coach Dianna Becker. She was amazing. Practice, practice, practice. Video tape yourself from a position that the judges will be seeing you. Usually down below the stage. It changes your whole look.
Examiner: If you train others, have you ever had a person that you trained and then they were on the same stage as you competing? Also if this has happened, how did you feel and how tough was it to outdo that person?
Julie Brown: I have never trained anyone but I have found that your rival will always push you to be better no matter if it’s a friend or a stranger.
Examiner: If you do train others, what age would you start working with a person?
Julie Brown: I work in Assisted Living. It feels good to have people come up to me of all ages and tell me that I have inspired them. My coworkers are always asking me to train them.
Examiner: Are you endorsed/sponsored by any company in the bodybuilding industry?
Julie Brown: Not at this time. I’m pretty novice still.
I would like to finish up though with letting people know that if you are told you cannot do things in life, prove those people wrong. If you start a program, keep with it. The results will pay off and your confidence and self-esteem will soar. I can help those that are just getting into the industry. I find that I may not be famous but I am successful. It just took me 50 years to get there. I also hope to inspire those who want to see themselves as a victor not a victim I am not what I have done. I am what I have overcome!