CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: JULIE SMITH
Updated: Jan 23
LOCATION: HAMILTON, VA
INTRO FROM EMILY:
Oh, this gal is SUCH a joy to work with. I like her no-nonsense, telling-it-like-it-is approach to life. She thinks I'm helping her, but truth be told, she encourages me just by her presence! Love you girl!
What made you reach out to Emily Ledford Fitness and Nutrition?
I have a precious 18-year-old daughter and an amazing 14-year-old son. Mothering teens takes a new kind of stamina and strength; if we’re real – perseverance and emotional grit – just like heavy lifting. My kids live in a very broken world and it’s taxing to help navigate them. I have a sister who had a stroke at 34 and has had debilitating Epilepsy for the last 10 years. She now lives with my parents. I also have a FIL with stage 5 Alzheimer’s which he contracted it in his 50’s. I fought a year-long battle with both major and functioning depression due to trials I never saw coming – the devastating kinds – one after the other.
I reached out to Emily after hearing about her women's semi-private training program.
I read about her faith and I felt that was a really awesome bonus for the personal state I was in. Reaching out was a last-ditch effort to get out of bed and kick depression in it’s – well you know. It’s been five months since my first training session and I have gotten stronger both in mind and body. I know winter is coming, and I will need to up my game of hyper-vigilance and be consistent both in my workouts and nutrition.
I pray to be a model to my kids who have watched me both in my highs and lows – to never stop fighting and truly living – no matter how many times you have to get back up. Watching their mother get stronger helps them to know their own amazing strength in the battle of this relentless world. Lifting and strength training builds that internal grit that life requires. And, trying new things is exciting at any age – even my age!
What did you do for exercise prior to coming here?
Prior to coming to Emily Ledford Fitness and Nutrition, I tried barre, yoga and Krav Maga as a Level 3 student. I love all of these for different reasons, but there is something about the safety and encouragement of a small group of women that is unique. You learn though struggles may be different, you are not alone. You can engage, listen and push each other with encouragement. Small groups are just easier and more conducive. Emily is really great about correcting form to get the best out of your efforts and her unique workout programs are tangible challenges that keep the routines fresh. It’s good for both the mind and body to try and then accomplish new things. Increasing weights and reps are personally satisfying.
I also love that Emily doesn’t tire of showing me week to week what I have forgotten. 😉
Most memorable exercise event or personal record?
Emily told me I could reach a 185 lb deadlift in one of my sessions. The deadlift is my favorite because it’s the one that creates the most mental obstacles for me to overcome. She was certain I could reach 185 lbs. Five months ago, I started at 95 lbs which felt really heavy and impossible. The bar kept slipping from my hands. My core was not as strong and I was worried about my back. Approximately four months into my training, Emily convinced me to go from 135 lbs to 185 lbs in that one session. I did four or five reps with more in the tank. I shocked myself. Emily took a video for me to watch back. For the first time I saw just how much muscle and definition I had gained– specifically my deltoids and triceps. It was a huge boost that my hard work was paying off.
I am so grateful that Emily believed I could reach that weight. I probably would have waited another year before trying that if I had been lifting alone. It’s been another month, and this week I reached 200 lbs. Five months ago, I would have said absolutely no way could I ever do 200 lbs! Next goal: 250 lbs.
What inspires and motivates you?
The workouts, the new challenges, the small triumphs carry me through the week. They clear the fog, build confidence and motivate me. When everything else in life is out of your control, the consistent effort to achieve personal goals is one thing you CAN control. It is empowering. It also helps encourage better food choices that help my body and mind to function better. I am definitely in a better place.
What is the coolest side effect you've had from lifting?
Prior to Emily’s training, my rear-end was sinking southward and now it is now on a northward trajectory. My daughter took this picture without my knowing, so I guess it is an obvious change to others. And let’s face it, one that makes me happy. 😊
Best compliment you have received more recently?
Recently, someone was telling me I look 30. That might be generous, but at 42 I think that’s awesome!
What would you tell other women who have never lifted heavy before?
It is a challenge like no other. The internal reward is even greater than the external. You can achieve something you never thought possible and you'll truly feel invincible.
Emily: Love knowing you, Julie. You are a blessing! You enhance my life by at LEAST 110%!