Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by D Risley
Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
I am Julie Germaine, and I am a proud Canadian. I’ve been a fitness expert and online personal trainer since 2005, and a Pro fitness model for 12 consecutive years.
My competitive career was fantastic. I won my first show, and have never placed outside of the top 10, usually capturing a podium placing.
I won the title of Miss Fitness Manitoba in 2008, turned Pro and earned two International Pro Championship crowns in 2013 and 2014. I was runner up at the World Championships, too.
I have not competed since 2006 because I was blessed with my little angel, my daughter Mia.
Going back to the beginning, my favourite childhood activity was dancing. I enjoyed tap, jazz, some ballet and hip hop.
When I chose to stop due to my school, work and social schedule, I started exercising at the age of 17, in my grungy high school gym.
I had always had an interest in fitness magazines and taught myself how to weight train because I was not into team sports and knew my family genetics was working against me if I wanted to keep my slim figure.
I also had incredibly low self-esteem, and even faked a cholerine allergy to get out of taking swim class in high school. Can you believe that? It’s crazy to think that now I strut on stage in high heels and sparkly bikinis!
My healthy routine of lifting never stopped, even during university and at my jobs as a graphic and web designer, I always found time to get to the gym during my week.
Throughout personal challenges, sweating out my stress was a godsend. I don’t know how others cope without fitness.
My artist side always dominated my life choices. I loved drawing and painting, and was accepted into university as a Fine Arts major, before switching into a Graphic Design course and entering the work force.
I believe that my passion for beauty of the human form drove my desire to sculpt my own body for competition. My physique became my masterpiece. I loved working every day to perfect it and celebrate my health.
Travelling around the world to meet other fitness-minded individuals for competition and expos was fun (and exhausting).
Exploring stunning locations to do photoshoots with my talented friends provided me with many amazing memories and experiences.
I enjoyed many great sponsorship relationships and have my supporters to thank for my many trips and competitions. Without everyone who believed in me, I would never have had the success I did.
Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by Envision Photography
Describe a typical day of training
I am very consistent with my training and believe that this is the most important factor in success. Show up every day.
I personally sweat daily, usually a few times a day. It feels amazing to boost your metabolism with a workout and stretch out your body.
I admit that not every work is an epic one. Sometimes, I go to the gym and just do stiff-legged barbell deadlifts (my favourite exercise) and stretch between sets, and that’s it!
Other times I warm up on the stepmill, crush legs from every angle and finish with plyometrics and stepmill sprints.
It’s important to listen to your body and try to push yourself without overdoing it.
My training split always includes two to three lower body days, with one or two that are dedicated to glutes. I train core two to three times per week and stretch everyday to maintain mobility and aid recovery.
Now that I have my daughter, it can be a challenge to get in intense cardio every (my preferred being spin), however I am able to take her in my sport stroller and go rollerblading, biking or for a brisk walk, and that’s enough for me right now.
In my competitive days, cardio had to be fat-burning – the kind that leaves you in a puddle of sweat!
My priorities have changed, so I am happy to get a little sweat going until my baby is older and I have more free time. She won’t always want all the mama cuddles and I love spending every second together with her.
Though my weight always fluctuated from off-season to on, I was never overweight/out of shape.
My early 20s had me skinny-fat, until I learned how to eat properly and allowed myself to gain nearly 20 pounds. It wasn’t until then that I finally showed abs.
I get ripped for competitions, so my weight drops to about 115 lbs. I typically sit at 125 lbs.
The difference is eating a strict, low carb, high fat diet and sticking to a cardio and training routine that burns calories and builds muscle.
When I was carrying my daughter, I lifted every day as usual, though my workouts lacked umph! I told myself they still counted and was proud to be riding my bike uphill outside at 36 weeks pregnant.
It is amazing what you can accomplish when you are fit and conditioned for exercise. (Most pregnant women should not follow this regime. I have a Babybuilding fitness program available that is everything an expecting or new mom needs to navigate a healthy, active pregnancy and postpartum period.)
That said, I did gain over 40 lbs during my pregnancy, and though I was approved to resume exercise two weeks postpartum by my doctor, I took a horrible injury when Mia was 17 days old and was on bedrest for two weeks, followed by no exercise for 4-6 weeks, which I accepted without pause.
I decided this was a time to focus on my baby and relax for once. I took a full year off from weight lifting, and was a little too slack on my diet, but I don’t regret a minute of it.
When I got back to lifting after my daughter’s first birthday, I had a renewed enthusiasm for training and quickly am getting my shape back.
I did start walking with Mia in my baby carrier and rollerblading or biking with her in the sport stroller in the spring, so that helped to drop the babyweight and prepare me for a photoshoot we did together at the beach around her birthday.
This is a testament to the positive effects that physical activity has on pregnancy and how much easier recovery is for new mamas who make an effort to include it before and during pregnancy.
How do you keep going and push harder?
Finding the motivation to eat well and be active is a daily battle for everyone. Honestly, I am thankful that the routine of going to the gym is ingrained in me now, so I don’t even question it and *have* to exercise every day.
I don’t always *want* to go to the gym, but I don’t struggle with the question of whether to go or not, because I know that I am a happier, more energetic person when I come home, EVERY time.
This habit can be forced and learned, it’s never too late to make a change in your life and I promise you, you can get to where I am too.
Not wanting to eat chocolate for every meal is another story. LOL!! I love sweets and indulge during the holiday season and on cheat meals, without QUESTION!
In order to achieve higher levels of fitness, I have to have clearly defined goals with a deadline.
This is why I was able to get into amazing shape for contests or photoshoots – the pressure to stick to my nutrition plan and crush my workouts was high, given I was about to be on stage in a bikini for the world to see, judged based on my previously high level of conditioning.
Perhaps competing will be in my future again, but for now, I give myself other goals, such as increasing flexibility or strength, and do videos to record progress.
Sometimes I’ve a strange thought, that I wish I was injured so I could stop going to the gym.
It’s such a weird thing to say, because I truly love being active and cherish my health, but at times, you feel like a hamster in a wheel, repeating the same day over and over again.
Then I remember how great I feel BECAUSE I take the time to workout, and how my life would be different if I made other choices and missed training.
I may have chronic pain or low self-esteem, making me an unhappy, grumpy woman. I would have less energy to play with Mia and would not be setting a good example for her – or for my clients.
When I am slipping into a negative way of thinking, I snap myself out of it by reminding myself that I am not a slave to fitness, but have made a choice to work hard to be my best self, and being a fit, healthy mother is a life I really want and am willing to sacrifice for.
I always feel guilty for the hour I am away at the gym. My daughter is on my mind the whole time, though I know she is being well cared for by her loving grandmother.
I hope to get over this mom guilt, because taking that time for myself makes me a better mother.
Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by LHGFX Photography
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today I am doing very well! My life is dedicated to my baby and I love watching her grow up into a beautiful little girl.
My website is AMAZING – having just done a redesign in 2020 to create an exceptional user experience and great membership value.
Tonight I finished a video tour of the website including some of the membership area that you can view here:
I have big goals and plans for my business, Julie Germaine Fitness, and for myself personally. The break from the fitness industry during my pregnancy and immediate postpartum was welcomed, but I think everyone misses me and I miss them!
I created a fantastic fitness program to help women who are trying to convieve, are pregnant or are in recovery from birthing their babies.
My fitness routine has already built back up to weight training every day, and my body is keeping up with increases in intensity with each session.
I want to rebuild muscle mass and then cut down with some photoshoots in mind as a reward for my efforts.
That said, I already feel in great shape – I’m not ripped to the bone or showing ab veins, but my goals are different now as a mother, and finding my way back to this healthy fitness regime is something I am proud of.
This is the routine I am going to follow to make quick progress of getting back in shape and I hope to get men and women signed up to join me on my push to lose the last 10 pounds.
Now that I have Mia, I can’t regret any steps in my life, because changes would not have lead me to her, and she’s my perfect baby.
My journey was not easy, I made mistakes and would give my younger self advice, definitely, but I’m not sure she would have listened.
Hopefully I had give my children that advice instead, and be a strong enough role model that they take it to heart and have an easier path thanks to my experience.
Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by Patrick Seguin Photography
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I have had a few injuries during my competitive career, which came from overtraining. As I was not an athletic growing up, I was not in tune with my body and did not have knowledge about proper recovery.
I used to deprive myself of sleep, put Voltaren on my body to mask injury and didn’t think I had time to stretch.
When I turned Pro, I had a much healthier overall fitness routine. Nearly daily I soak in a hot bath to ease muscle soreness, and I can tell when my body is building up tension that only a deep tissue massage can release.
I change up my supplements when I increase my training with a big goal in mind to take glutamine, fish oils, collagen, BCAAs and more.
I also foam roll and get deep tissue massage to improve my recovery. You can read more about my recovery here.
Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by GW Burns Photography
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My supplement stack has changed throughout the years, based on my goals. Currently I am breastfeeding, so I am barely taking anything, to be cautious for my babies’ sake.
My 5 Week Fitness Program available within my website has one of my diets preshow broken down for easy understanding.
My approach has varied to try different things, but ultimately, low carb works best for me. I tend to eat red meat and loads of veggies when I want to cut down, drink plenty of water and completely cut out coffees or teas.
The only caffeine I have would be in my pre-workout drink, because I find that drinking coffee when following a low calorie diet makes me feel sick, and starving, oddly enough. I get light-headed and feel faint.
I NEVER skip breakfast anymore – I kicked that bad habit in my college days. If possible, I do fasted morning cardio (walk on incline/bike/rollerblade) and then have eggs/spinach/vegs and avocado (or whole omega-enriched eggs).
My next meals are steak with vegs or ground beef/vegs and sometimes I sprinkle lowfat cheese on top or add ¼ to ½ avocado.
I do eat every three to four hours, so doing food prep twice a week is my normal, even now, off-season from contest, otherwise I would be cooking all the time!
It also makes it easier to stay on your diet if you have a healthy meal ready when hungry strikes. I’ve shared recipes on my website and always add more to help my online community keep fit and eat well.
I used to use Fitday to track my food intake and energy expenditure. I have also provided my clients a calorie tracker and some more information about how to eat for their goals.
What has inspired and motivated you?
Lately I love listening to Podcasts for self-improvement during my workouts, or audio books.
I don’t have specific ones to recommend to your readers, however, except to say that I plan to start doing some Podcasts of my own soon, so please subscribe to my emails at my website to be on the list to listen when they are live.
Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by David Ford Photography
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
It’s never too late to change your life! Becoming more active and improving your health are ALWAYS going to make your quality of life better, and can have a real impact on your mood and outlook.
Surround yourself with hard-working, determined people. You will be inspired by their dedication and have your own goals encouraged.
I am pretty self-absorbed in the gym and don’t like to make fun of people, but I do I see many people doing abdominal work improperly, especially cable crunches.
I plan to post a blog shortly showing proper form for that a few other exercises I see performed incorrectly. If you are not exercising with correct form and full range of motion, you will miss out on the full benefits of the movements.
Best hacks for life outside the gym… decide your priorities and get them done early in the day.
If I have an hour of cardio looming over me on a busy day, it stresses me out. Cutting into that with even a 20 minute pre-breakfast session helps me feel less overwhelmed.
Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by Patrick Seguin Photography
Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes, I am taking on new clients now! Many many programs are now available, and have been working very hard to be able to charge my clients LESS and give them MORE!
My membership training area has been completely revamped to have hundreds of workouts available at the click of a finger.
My members can download a full year of training programs geared toward their goals, or simply login and select the bodypart they want to train that day and use my high definition video exercise tutorials to be coached by me personally.
I have regular live coaching calls to help motivate, educate and inspire my members. I am so proud of my hard-working clients and always listen to feedback from them to improve my own services.
Custom training packages are also available for pre-contest individuals or those who want more one-on-one contact with me.
Instagram, @julie.germaine - photo by Noel Daganta Photography
Where can we learn more about you?
Youtube: Coach Julie Germaine.
Twitter: Julie Germaine.