Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I’m Maddie! I’m 23 years old and live in Minnesota. I graduated from Indiana University in May 2017 with a degree in apparel merchandising and business and currently work as a personal trainer. I know, people always think it’s so random when they hear my major and career change! I absolutely loved my major in college, but the second I stepped foot into a gym, I knew that eventually something I wanted my career to deal with.
In 2011, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. For those of you who don’t know, Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune disease and causes inflammation in the digestive tract. In 2011, I had two emergency surgeries and one planned. Crohn’s disease is definitely not something I would have imagined having, but in some ways I’m thankful for it. First and foremost, it’s what ultimately led me to living a healthy lifestyle. A big reason I eat healthy and workout is to keep myself as healthy as I can. It also has become such a learning opportunity and taught me how to deal with hardships.
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
I love fitness because I love the way it can transform your life, which is a big reason I became a personal trainer. Fitness not only can transform your outer self or appearance but your mental state as well. I love watching people fall in love with fitness and loved the process of falling in love with it myself.
How long have you been into fitness?
I swear I played every sport when I was little but wasn’t very great at it. Then in high school, I did lacrosse and competitive cheerleading and realized I was actually *decent* at some things.
Aside from sports, I started out doing Kayla Itsines BBG at home guides my sophomore year of college, but I honestly didn’t love it. I found the gym shortly after that and have been lifting seriously since November 2016.
How did you get into fitness?
I remember stumbling upon Nikki Blackketter on YouTube. She was the first female I discovered who lifted weights and introduced me to the world of bodybuilding and weight lifting. Then after joining a gym solely for the treadmill and watching a ton of her videos, I decided I wanted to be strong like that. I dove into the world of fitness on YouTube and walked into the gym the next day… into the weight section. The first thing I ever did was squats on the smith machine and I thought I was a bad ass! I will never forget that feeling. I also, as mentioned earlier, wanted to live my life as healthy as possible while dealing with my Crohn’s.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
The moment I started feeling STRONG was the time I realized “Wow. I could really fall in love with this”. I had always been skinny my whole life, but never strong. I swear when I first started, I could only lift 5-pound dumbbells for my bicep curls! When I started going up in weight in the gym, I got addicted to the feeling. Then, starting my fitness Instagram, I discovered what an amazing and encouraging community that could bring.
How has fitness impacted your life?
Fitness has taught me so much. From empowering others, to loving myself to helping others. Fitness has taught me so many life lessons, has provided me an outlet for stress and has made me discover the career path I want for the rest of my life.
What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
JUST GO FOR IT! When I first started going to the gym, I felt so intimidated by the buff guys and strong girls in the gym, but you know what? We all started somewhere! Everyone was a beginner and to be quite honest… no one really cares about what you’re doing in the gym! Just go in, do you, and make it a great session.
Also, never compare your chapter 1 to someone else chapter 15. Like I said, we all started somewhere.