Julia Olson Transcript

Kevin:  My guest this week recently posted a before and after transformation picture on Instagram, and wrote this in the caption. “From day one, I skipped over feelings of disgust with my body, lack of self-love, negative self-talk, and went straight to being the queen ager in my heart and soul.

I loved myself. I was healthy, vibrant, disciplined, committed, and had already shaped shifted inside. The outside had to catch up. It would take time. Years. I accepted the way reality manifests, slowly. Waiting for the chess pieces on my life board to be strategically placed by universal laws that exist, whether I saw them or not.

On day one, I radically altered my thoughts. [00:01:00] I am healthy, strong, and lean, no matter what my before picture showed. My reality inside mattered. Mindset. Spiritset. Bodyset. Be patient.”

Hello and welcome to the over 50 health and wellness show. I'm your host, Kevin English. I'm a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. And my mission is to help you get into the best shape of your life. No matter your age, we have a great show for you today, Julia Olson is going to share a very inspiring transformation story with us.

But before we get to that, I want to let you know that today's show is brought to you by the silver edge. The silver edge is my online personal training and nutrition coaching business, where I help you get off the exercise and diet hamster wheel and start making [00:02:00] permanent healthy lifestyle changes, so you can enjoy the second half of your life with strength and confidence and show up as the healthiest, strongest, most vital version of yourself. No matter your age. If you're interested in learning more, send me an email at coach@silverridgefitness.com and we'll start a conversation. My promise to you is no hard sales pitch, no annoying incessant follow-up emails, just an introductory conversation about your personal fitness goals.

Okay, enough of that. Let's get on with today's show.

Attention queen agers and king agers shape-shifters and team universe. We're in for a treat today. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Julia Olson. Julia is a [00:03:00] 64 year old childhood diabetic, double organ transplant and triple cardiac transplant survivor with an amazing transformation story.

If you're a fan of how the human spirit and body can triumph over adversity, of how it's never too late to reinvent ourselves, then you're in for a real treat today. I started my conversation with Julia by asking her to talk to us about the first time she remembered being sick.

Julia: I was 11 years old and I remember very clearly being in, I think it was fifth grade and I couldn't see the blackboard in the classroom. And I was so thirsty all the time. I just could not drink enough fluid. And my parents had a refrigerator downstairs that was packed with, soda pop, and I would go down there and I would just drink orange soda after orange soda, which was loaded with sugar.

And what was happening was [00:04:00] I was an undiagnosed juvenile onset diabetic type one. And my kidneys were so overloaded with sugar and my blood was overload with sugar. My body was, the thirst was supposed to like flush it out. That was the excessive thirst. And I had to pee every 15 minutes. And I think I went from 80 to 60 pounds.

I just got really, really thin. I wasn't eating, I wasn't hungry. I was in a bad mood all the time. And my parents just said, we have to take you to the doctor. And that was in 1968.  In 1968, diabetes was an old person's disease. Type one diabetes was rare. They've since done research that a serious life event in the life of a child can create an auto immune response, which then attacks the pancreas and knocks it out, so it doesn't work anymore. And I had definitely a [00:05:00] serious life event two years prior when my younger sister died of cancer. So we went to the doctor, found out I was diabetic and I started to take insulin shots. And for the next, I would say five or six years into my teen years I was very hard to control.

You know, the whole secret in diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels is even as possible working with your exercise expenditure and also the foods you eat, no matter what I did, I couldn't control my blood sugar. So by the time I was 28, my kidneys had started to fail and I started going blind and I had nerve damage in my hands and my feet. And also heart disease had started to develop in my late twenties.

Kevin: Wow. So it sounds like really early on, would you have been what, 10 or 11 then when this first was diagnosed, is is that about right?

Julia:  I was 11.

Kevin: And so if [00:06:00] I'm not mistaken, that would've meant daily injections or even maybe depending on the severity multiple times a day

Julia: But back then, Kevin in 1968 you just took one shot a day and hoped, and it was called long acting. So it was supposed to peak and then fall off in a 24 hour period. Well, it's really hard. Our pancreas squirts out insulin, the insulin hormone, whenever we eat to meet the blood sugar rise. So that was never meshing.

That was never meeting. And so I ended up going on a short acting and a long acting. So I took long acting insulin in the morning. And then after every meal, short acting. So it was called a bolus where it acted more like a regular pancreas. And then in the early 1980s, I started wearing an insulin pump, which put a subcutaneous needle under the skin.

And you wear it all the time [00:07:00] and it dripped insulin into your system all the time, but you had to regulate it. It didn't do it on its own. It didn't read your blood sugar and then give you insulin. And what ended up happening was it was too much insulin in my system. And one of the things insulin does is it stores food as fat. And I really ballooned. My eating patterns weren't different.  It was just too much insulin in my system, so I stopped wearing it and I ended up taking shots again, and I took maybe four to six a day to get it as close as I could to the normal functioning of a pancreas. Before you eat something, you take a short acting insulin. So the insulin efficacy meets the blood sugar that rises from the food.

Kevin: So a lot of challenges from very, very early on, obviously with the injections and that's gotta be uncomfortable downright painful for, especially as a child. And talk to us a little bit because obviously [00:08:00] diabetes, like you had alluded to, has got a physical activity component and absolutely has a diet component. Talk to us a little bit about kind of those teenage years. What was it like diet wise for you? And were you active during those years?

Julia: Yes, I've always been active.  I swam competitively as a child. I was a cheerleader. I ran track. Come from a very athletic sports oriented family. And, you know, I think in my family, there was some real trauma with the death of my sister. And as a result, my mom, God bless her. Just kind of shut down emotionally.

And when I got diabetes, once I got out of the hospital and they realize, Okay she's taking shots. She can figure this out.  I was pretty much on my own. I realized very young. I had to take care of myself. And I think even the eating was something I had to watch out for because my mom didn't [00:09:00] change her cooking.

She still put sugar in desserts and, you know, it was just kinda like a denial thing. So I realized very young I was the one that had to take care of my health. I still was very active.  I did a lot of hiking and mountain climbing and biking and rappelling and just loved being outside, but I would have low blood sugar insulin reactions that would just devastate me because when your blood sugar's low, usually people can feel it they're a little shaky and they just eat something. But when you're a diabetic, it keeps going lower until you can go into a coma and completely pass out. So that was a struggle that was really hard to do.

I also had to think about always taking my insulin wherever I went, have syringes all the time in my purse, the insulin had to be refrigerated. So it was just, there was  [00:10:00]ritual, or pattern there of being diabetic. You always had to be aware of it. And it was tiresome. It was really tiresome.

And so when the complications started in my late twenties, by the time I was 34, my kidneys failed. That was it. And, and the doctors pretty much said, you know, you're going to have to be on dialysis the rest of your life and the rest of my life would probably have been five years.  Diabetic on dialysis has the same prognosis as a person with stage four terminal cancer. And I didn't find that out until I became kind of a show and tell patient that my surgeons used to take me to nurses conferences because I was success story. And then I would hear the statistics, which were shocking to me. So I, Yeah. I really had to grapple with life And death issues and my health from a very [00:11:00] young age, but I'm stubborn and ornery and also very independent.

And so I just got to work. I just read everything I could about diabetes care and, I just don't take no for an answer. And I, you know, I just forge ahead and I think having to sort of grow up and take care of myself due to the circumstances in my family and I come from a lovely family, my parents were wonderful people.

They just, it was rough. They lost a daughter when she was six years old to cancer. And my mom just was not emotionally available. So I knew early on I had to take care of myself and I became very strong because of that.

Kevin: Yeah. And certainly as we're going to move forward in hearing your story, that's going to become very evident. I think. So you've had these very traumatic events early on, obviously the death of a younger sibling [00:12:00] and then the diabetes. And like you said, trying to navigate that more or less on your own. And then the organ failure, the kidneys starting to fail in your thirties. So let's pick up the story from there. You're now being told you're going to be on dialysis and your prognosis is very bleak. Where do we go from there?

Julia: Well, I had, just met my husband, Paul. I met Paul in 1987. And we got married two years later.  And I he's the love of my life. We've been married 32 years and I moved from New York City to Iowa to be with him. He had a an 11 year old daughter and I wasn't gonna ask him to move to New York and uproot.

He shared custody. So I also gained a daughter when we got married. And two years after we got married, I just wasn't feeling well. And I had kind of stopped going to doctors. They annoyed me actually. I felt like as a diabetic, I knew more than they did, [00:13:00] and I was really good at reading my body.

I have highly attuned body intelligence where I know things are going on without having to be diagnosed. I knew my blood sugar reading before I even would take a sample to the number. I knew it was 70 or 55 or 90, so I just stopped going to doctors, but I was really feeling sick and I went to the doctor and he told me that they, you know, they did some tests.

And my creatinine level of my kidneys was 6.2, which someone, my size I'm five, one.  That's really high. It should be 0.9 to 1.0 and mine was 6.2. And he said, you know, you're going to have to be on dialysis.  And we're gonna have to get your arm ready to go in and out with the blood dialysis machine.

And, but, he said, I can offer you another option. I'd [00:14:00] like you to talk to the transplant team here. It was at university of Iowa hospital and you can talk to them about kidney transplant. It could be living related, you know, maybe one of your family members would be a good match.  Or you could go on a waiting list.

And when I met with the transplant team, It was 1991. And there was a Dr. Robert Corey there who had worked in Pittsburgh with Dr. Thomas Starzl, who was one of the early pioneers in organ transplantation. And Dr. Corey was doing a very new experimental organ transplantation using the whole pancreas. So for diabetic patients whose kidneys had failed.

They were also doing the experimental kidney pancreas transplant. So not just a kidney, but a pancreas. And I had a lot of conversations with the transplant team and the surgeons [00:15:00] about what that meant and what it meant was taking a huge risk because I'd be under anesthesia for double the time. I had emerging heart disease.

They didn't know if I would have a heart attack or a stroke before the operation, on the operating table, after the operation and doing a double organ transplant, it was considered experimental. Maybe 2000 had been done with the pancreas up to that point. And they just didn't know. They wanted me and my husband to understand the risks.

And I had to give it some real thought, you know, I really had to think about, would I be okay with just a kidney and having diabetes still? And, we went home and Paul said, it's gotta be your decision. And I just thought I can't live this way anymore. [00:16:00] I can't, it's probably the only time I've ever said I can't, I can't live with this anymore.

It was a devastating disease. It's a slow death. It's got terrible complications. Not everybody, and I have to say this to anybody who's got a diabetic child, a diabetic spouse or partner, or you're diabetic. This is my story. It's not your story. Meaning I was completely brittle. I was diagnosed in the sixties when they knew very little about diabetes.

My path is not the path that everybody's going to experience. Thank God. And the diabetes care and research has, is light years ahead of where it was when I was a child.  The other thing I'd like to say is it's not an option. Sometimes I get emails and messages from people. Oh, I, I really love a pancreas transplant [00:17:00] and I think, no, you would not.

For you to be that sick, to get one where you're almost going to die. It's not an elective surgery. It's not like plastic surgery. Oh, I want a smaller nose. Oh, I want a face lift. You don't it's not an operation of convenience. So I really try and clarify that for people.  But anyway, I decided I couldn't live with diabetes anymore.

And I went, I thought I'm going to take the risk if I die, I die. And I've actually in my twenties, in my late twenties had  been very sick with an infection. When I lived in New York city, before I met my husband Paul, and I was in danger of going to septic shock and dying. And instead of actually dying, I had a near-death experience where I was actually out of my body and I won't go into the details here because it's very profound and I'll [00:18:00] probably start crying. But  what it gave me was the absolute knowledge that I'm not my physical body, that I am a spirit inhabiting a human form and having a human experience. So I had no fear of death.

It was kind of like, do I want to live with diabetes and a working kidney, or do I want to take the risk of possibly dying and get both? And I just thought, well, I'm not afraid of either alternative. So I went for both and I woke up from that operation and I felt like the little girl, 10 years old, who didn't have diabetes.

I felt like a child again. It was like everything in my body was working, even though I had these huge incisions in my abdomen and I was on morphine and intensive care, it was so clear to me that I was a whole body again, that was working. And the minute they hooked up the [00:19:00] pancreas, it started working the minute they hooked up the kidney, it started working and I've got the lab print out from that first 30 minutes still. It's a miracle. It's an absolute miracle. And

Kevin: certainly is.

Julia: it just, I mean, I am so grateful and the dear soul whose organs I have was a 25 year old woman named Gina who died in a car accident in Colorado. And apparently our match was so close we could have been sisters. So it was just, wow. I mean, people ask me, what's your motivation to work out? It's like, I am so grateful to be alive. That I can move my body. That I can get out of bed in the morning, let alone lift weights and run.

And it's actually [00:20:00] gratitude that drives me. It just drives me. And my 30 year anniversary is coming up on July 27th, which is in a week, 30 years since the transplant. And it was really two and a half years ago that I realized that and I thought I have to really honor this body. It's now or never I'm out of time.

I'm 62.  And once I started and realized how I, how my strength and how amazing I felt, I just never stopped. I just kept going. And now it's something I absolutely love to do. It's addicting. I'm sure you feel that way too, Kevin.

Kevin: I do. And that, and that's actually how I found you. I found you on Instagram. And just found your story to be very, very compelling. You've got a fantastic account. They're very inspirational. As I started to dig in, I found out a little bit more of your story. So you've been through so much, and then all of a sudden here in the, in the nineties, you [00:21:00] take this incredible risk.

You do this experimental procedure with a double organ transplant. And it's wildly successful. It almost seems like it's meant to be. You say the donor could have been sisters and you have this new lease on life. You feel better immediately. You said even in the emergency room or in the recovery room, and as you're coming up on this 30 year anniversary of that a couple of years ago, you said, right. You decided I want to get in shape. I want to honor what's been given to me. And just for our listeners, if you're not familiar with Julia, she's in fantastic shape. We're going to get to that part in here minute. This story has been a bit of a downer so far, but we're getting ready to take a

Julia: that's

Kevin: or we're to take a swing upwards here. I promise.  So what was your state of health a couple of years ago when you made this decision, what were you like then?

Julia: Well I was, I would say, probably looked like a typical 60 year old. I was 40 pounds heavier than I am now. I've always had energy. I mean, people say, oh, you've [00:22:00] got one of those bubbly personalities. I mean, I'm just always enthusiastic about things. But I felt sluggish and I felt,  I never think of myself as old, but I felt sluggish and then sometimes I'd catch a glimpse of myself and I'd be like, who's that?

Oh my God. And there was just a certain point where a fire got lit inside. And it was like it's now or never. And I've always loved exercise, but things always got in the way life took over. I mean, my husband and I have lived all over the world. We've lived in Saudi Arabia and Mexico and Italy, and we've traveled a lot and I have a very like adventuresome life.

We're not in the military, by the way, these were all work that I was doing, but when we settled in Mexico, we love Saudi Arabia and settled in Mexico. I just felt like there's so much more I want to do. I need energy to do it. And a fire just got lit. I found an [00:23:00] online fitness challenge and I thought, well, this will be great.

It's a structure. They help you with what exercises. It's for an older person who might need to be careful with joints or whatever. And then the eating, I've always been a really healthy eater, but I was an unconscious eater, meaning I just felt what I ate, what I felt like but I didn't eat processed food.

I didn't eat a lot of wheat. I didn't eat a lot of dairy. I stayed away from sugar. I don't drink alcohol. I mean, I just, I ate clean, but I didn't really pay attention to portion sizes. And so I dialed that in. And started lifting weights. And within three months I won the fitness challenge. And there was also an online community of like-minded people.

And I have to say that is such a gift and is so helpful to have. It's really hard to do on your own and to have a coach or a leader and a community. It, you become a [00:24:00] family, you make great friends. So that was really helpful. But after four months, it stalled and it took me three months to lose like 10 or 15 pounds.

It took me a long time and after four months it stalled. And then we moved back to the U S. And I never stopped working out, but I decided I got to find a local coach, someone who can really show me the ropes and the machines. And I found a great gym where we live and the gym owner became my coach and he asked me, what's your goal? I said, I want to be lean and I want to be strong. And we started working together and he thought, oh my God, this woman's on fire. And you know, she's 63 and she's on fire. You should be in a master's bikini competition. I said what? He said, Yeah, you should really, you should be in a bodybuilding show.

I said, me? He goes, Yeah, the bikini that, and I'm thinking [00:25:00] 63 in a bikini on stage. I don't know. Well, whatever. But we kept working out and my body just kept transforming to the point where I was like, whoa, is that me? Those are muscles, oh, my God. And, and the weight just was falling off and the muscles were coming on and I have to say that I'm not super muscular. And a lot of women say, oh, I don't want to lift weights, I don't want to get bulky. Well, don't take performance enhancing drugs, you won't get bulky. Just you know, it's like, people that look bulky, have secrets and things up their sleeve that we don't know about, which is fine.

That's their choice. But, you know, so I decided that would be my goal. And then COVID hit and I couldn't go to the gym anymore. And the gym owner coach had become a dear friend of me, he and his wife of me and my husband, and I just couldn't stop working out. So I sort of looked around online and sampled a few coaches and then found a group [00:26:00] called the wonder women which was created by a woman named Michelle MacDonald, who's Canadian and she and her husband, John shock Baret live in Tulum, Mexico. They've got a gym there. She creates challenges and takes people on. And her whole mission in life is to revolutionize women's health, older women, especially including her mother, Joan McDonald.  If you don't know her on Instagram,

Kevin: Oh, I most certainly do every, everybody should be following her. She's an amazing person. Yes,

Julia: is trained with Joan And her daughter.

Kevin: her Yeah.

Julia: in his stuff. But anyway, I worked with one of her coaches for a couple of months. And then there was a little bit of a change and Michelle said, well, I'll take you on for a week.

And I learned so much with her in that week. I begged her to take me on as a full-time. Like, would she be my coach [00:27:00] rather than the wonder women, which is a lifestyle program. It's not necessarily getting women ready for competitions. It's getting them ready for real life and getting fit, learning how to exercise, mindset. It's a fabulous program. So she said, well, Okay.

And she, told me what she could offer. I could become an athlete with the Tulum strength club, which is what she and her husband founded and run. But if I did that, I'd have to choose a show. And she wanted the date of the show by the following Monday, she was not messing around.

And so I went online and it was like, okay, there's one in Florida. And there's one a week later in Charleston, South Carolina. I'll do those. And so we started in January and I've worked with her.  And I'm still working with her because now the shows are over. We're reversing out of the [00:28:00] extreme calorie deficit and we're trying to build muscle.

So next year when I start the cut phase, I'll look better than I did this year. So it's just an ongoing journey of discovery and fitness has so much nuance to it. And so much plus element, you never get to the bottom of it. It's not like weight loss. Oh, I lost 30 pounds. Yay. And then, then what? Or you try and lose weight for an event and the event comes and goes, then what?

So in a way, to me, fitness is a journey of self-discovery. You get in deep with yourself. Like, what are these feelings you've carried around since you were a child that you're unworthy, that you're selfish, that you're not attractive. It uncovers all that and you push through it and by gosh, by the time you get going and see results, there's no turning back.

It's addicting it's because it feels so [00:29:00] good. You know, it

Kevin: I do know. Yeah,

Julia: total transformation

Kevin: I think that a lot of the times that a lot of people will start something like a fitness program and get discouraged somewhere in those first couple of months and let it tail off. But you're right, if you stick around long enough that you can see these results and literally see results happening and feel these results.  That part is very motivating and addicting, right?  If you can get through to that part, where you start to really feel good and you start noticing changes, other people start noticing changes in you. That's a very motivating place to be. Now I just want to back up for one minute.

You had mentioned that you trained, you did a bodybuilding show.  I think that's fantastic, talk to us a little bit. What is it like? Cause I think most people listening to this know what we're talking about, the bikini division in a women's bodybuilding show is exactly what it sounds like.

You're going to put on a very skimpy bikini and you're going to go out and have your body judged against your peers by a panel of judges. [00:30:00] What was that first experience like when you stepped out on that stage, what was that like?

Julia: I was having so much fun. I was like, I, my smile was so big and you know, the different divisions that they have, according to a woman's physique. So, they all wear bikini's.  The word bikini has a connotation to it that unfortunately, that's what people think of when they hear that in bodybuilding. They don't realize the months and hours and dedication and discipline it takes for anybody, men, or women to put on a skimpy anything to show off their physique in a certain way. So the divisions, there's a bikini division, there's a wellness division, a fitness physique. And then bodybuilding and there, they all catered to a certain body [00:31:00] type.

The actual bikini division, yes, we wear high heels and there’s specific posing that you do.  And there's age groups and height classifications. Wellness has more emphasis on a woman's glutes and thighs cause some women are built that way. Bikini is more, like they don't like to see the striations in the muscles. You can't be really bulked up. That's for another division.

That's for one of those others. So it's really categorized to body type and the over 60 age group or the 60 plus is rare. Usually it's 50 plus or 55 plus. And so I was so thrilled to get in on the 55 plus in Orlando at an MPC competition. And what happened was. And my husband says, don't tell people this, but I'm an honest person I have to. [00:32:00] I was the only competitor in the 55 plus. So I won first place

Kevin: that's right.

Julia: and I thought, well, I'm the one that showed up. I did the work. There's nobody else in my age group here. So I am a first place winner and then

Kevin: You certainly are.

Julia: it was fantastic. And the following weekend I was in Charleston in a 60 plus bikini competition. And I met two of the most wonderful women.

One was 61 was 62. I was like, they were amazing. We became great friends backstage and we got on stage and I placed third, i.e. last. And I just didn't care. I felt like I won because I was on stage with them. And we were in our sixties showing people, this is what you can do with your body. So for me it was never about winning, getting a metal, getting a pro card or a statue. It was about [00:33:00] meeting people and sharing the joy I have for life and showing people no matter what you can get fit. Any age, any condition. If I can do it, you can do it. And the challenges I've had in my life with facing triple cardiac bypass surgery and the double organ transplant, I actually was exposed to women that had had both of those things. And I looked at them and I thought, well, wow. If she can do it, I can do it. So I feel like it's like Roger Banister breaking the four minute mile. Once he did that, athletes everywhere were like, whoa, it can be done. And what's more fulfilling then being able to inspire and give hope to another human being.

And as humans we're built that way, you come upon an [00:34:00] accident, everybody galvanizes let's help this person. You know, it's kind of like we're, that's how we're made. And I feel that I'm fulfilling a purpose, not just getting fit for myself, but, but inspiring other people and that's just terribly fulfilling for me.

Kevin: I will say speaking for my audience, it's very fulfilling for the rest of us as well. You certainly are fulfilling your purpose. It comes across in your communication and your passion and what you're doing, and it's very inspiring. So

Julia: Thank you Kevin, I appreciate that.

Kevin: You're welcome. That's a fantastic story.

And I love those stories, of course, never too late to start kind of thing. Right. And certainly you embody all of that. So.  I have some other questions I want to talk to you about specifically you just kind of your spirit moving forward. But let's back up a little bit and unpack some of what you do day to day, because I think some people are gonna look at your transformation pictures, and they're going to want to know what did you [00:35:00] do? Now we talked a little bit about diet of course, having been a diabetic you'd have been very cautious and careful about a diet all your life. You briefly mentioned you're coming out of this show, you're working now , in your bulk phase or your muscle gaining phase.

And you talked about, well, I need to put on some muscle before I cut. Just briefly talk about what that looks like and building and cutting. Cause not everybody listening may know that. And talk to us about what you eat these days. What your diet looks like.

Julia: Yeah. So   when I first started working with my coach Michelle in January, I was maintaining a certain weight because we weren't going to start cutting. And we weren't really building, we were just maintaining and I was maybe around  A hundred and well, I was 116 pounds then, and then got down to 1 0 9.

And then when we started cutting, I got all the way down to 98.3 on stage. And I'm actually about a hundred pounds, 99 pounds now. And [00:36:00] people freak out a little bit. You're too skinny, and what happens is that's your stage weight. That's the way you are in the competition, nobody stays there.

It's not healthy. But what we did was she would tailor my macros, meaning how much carbs, how much protein, how much fat, spread over a day, broken down into five meals. Every two or three hours. I'd be eating.  Those would keep going down because we were trying to shed the fat, just really shred everything.

And I was working out usually an hour and a half to two hours a day, and also doing cardio, which went up towards the end, the couple of weeks before the competition, 60 minutes a day, I would run 60 minutes a day. In addition to an hour and a half or two hours of the gym. Okay. So I know for most people they're like no way, absolutely no way am I going to do [00:37:00] that? Can I do that? Well, I had timed this, so I'm as I'm right now, I'm a professor and I get summers off. So one thing I did was I cut back on my teaching load. It was like, I I'll take less salary and have more time to work out. It that's more important to me. So you have to make choices.

If you think you don't have time, you do, you just aren't making time. And a lot of people, I think women too, I hear from say, you know, I've got twins or I've got three little kids and I totally get that. It's not the right time probably for you to go whole hog into something like this. But there's so many levels of fitness that you can set as a goal. And my goal was the highest one, which is to be, I think, to be an athlete and compete on stage as a bodybuilder for what I was doing with, with weightlifting. So it was intense. It was hard work [00:38:00] hours every day, but I loved it and people would say, well, don't you ever feel like not working out and it'd be no.

In fact, when I had rest days, it was hard not to work out, you know? So then we did the shows and it was such a great experience. And now what we're doing is we're adding food back into my daily macro plan.  Calories are going up and I'm still working out just as hard, but maybe a little less time in the gym may be an hour and a half to an hour.

And cardio has gone down to 20 minutes, three times a week, so completely different. And that's going to keep changing as my coach looks at my body metrics, like what's happening? What do we need to adjust?  Because I don't want to put on fat. I want to put on muscle. I want to keep my abs and my waist tight.  So it's [00:39:00] a combination of scientific data being looked at by an expert who knows my body and says, okay, well, let's do this and now do this. And so people say, well, what are your macros? How many calories are you eating a day? It's like, sweetheart, that's not going to help you. You know, I'm five one, I'm 64.

I have different goals. If I gave you that information, it'd be useless to you. And it's also, you need to figure out what's your goal? Is your goal a bodybuilding competition? It's a lot of work and it's expensive too. You spend a lot of money on the hotel on the bathing suit, on the training, on everything, so you have to figure out what level of fitness do you want.

Any level of fitness is great. You don't have to go the extreme I did. And I think, I don't feel like it's an extreme, I feel like I had to prove [00:40:00] to myself I could do it. My body could do it. And I'm just so proud of my body. I'm not so proud of myself as I am of my, my physical body actually rose to the challenge. yeah.

I did this thing. It did this for me. It's just, it's just blows my mind. So that's something, I mean, people have to consider. And also the goal now is for me to put on 10 pounds over the next year and how my coach wants me to do that or how fast she wants me to do it remains to be seen because we're setting up a pattern now, we're setting up a pattern of how my body works.

So I record everything I eat according to what she has planned for me. I do not cheat. I don't nibble. I don't take bites of this. I don't, there have been times that I have, I've like put something in my mouth and I've, and then I've thought about it. And I think this is going to screw up the data and I spit [00:41:00] it out in the sink because I don't really want it. It's unconscious, just put it in your mouth and my cravings are gone.

I think once you heal your metabolism, your cravings go and your body sucks in those calories and uses them right away. And that's where I am right now. In fact, my calories have been upped now three different times for almost three weeks. And I'm stuck at 99 pounds because my metabolism is like, so revved up it's not going to rev down.

So the gift is I could probably get up to 1800 calories a day or 2000 and not even like, still be totally fit. That's what's amazing.

Kevin: That is amazing. Yeah, that's quite a journey and, and I love that  you're into this whole hog.  You're talking about, obviously, as you're going into this next strength, your coach wants you to [00:42:00] put on these 10 pounds, but it's not just 10 pounds. You're looking for 10 pounds of lean muscle mass.

So you're trying to do this. You had said it's kind of almost like a science and it is it's somewhere between a science and an art of trying to figure out how many calories do we put in you and what macro splits do we use and how do we, we have to factor in of course your, energy out, your exercise and how do we make all of that work so that we add muscle to you, but not fat, right?

So get you ready for this next show. That's fantastic that you're doing that. And so passionate about it. So. You work out obviously a lot. And I think people might be a little bit surprised when they hear holy moly. You went from basically not working out to you ended up there in that final show prep where it’s an hour and a half, two hours a day.

And then you got another hour of cardio on top of that. So talk to us a little bit about recovery. What does your coach have you doing? Do you have days off scheduled in there? How do you monitor your recovery so that you can get all this intense work in.

Julia: Yeah, [00:43:00] recovery is so important. And usually what it is is five training days a week, meaning there'll be five days I'm in the gym and it'll be an upper and lower split, meaning I'll do upper body one day, lower body the next day. And she's got it worked out where they're targeting muscle groups too, like glutes and hams or quads and calves, or what have you.

And then there are rest days where maybe just 20 minutes of cardio and some ab work.  The really important factor is sleep. I love to sleep. I absolutely love going to sleep and going to bed and having a good rest. And before I started working out, I needed like nine or 10 hours to feel good.

Now I do well with eight or nine hours.  But sleep is super important. It's part of really taking care of your body and letting it repair itself as well as what you put into your body. I mean, you've got to put high quality fuel. Into your [00:44:00] body, which is why I don't eat processed food. And it's so funny at these shows, one of the things they do, they did it at both the shows I was at.

When you go in there to pick up your number and put, pick up your tag and all this kind of stuff. They'll have a whole table full of cookies that are the size of dinner plates. It's like, it's like really? I'm, you know, I wasn't tempted at all, but people take those.

And then as soon as the show is over, all you hear is the ripping open of those cookies and you know, I'm going to go have beer and pizza and LA, LA LA, and everyone kept asking me, well, what's your first meal going to be? Because you've prepped now for months and months and months you've been so good. And any good coach will say, enjoy the meal that night have a, what they call a cheat meal, just enjoy yourself.

But [00:45:00] all I wanted was a Caesar salad with salmon and a little cup of soup. It was like, why would I just stuff myself? Because I didn't feel deprived. That was the other thing. I never felt deprived. That was not my mindset about eating. And it's not my mindset either that, oh my God, I have to, I'm going to gain 10 pounds.

I am in control of what I'm doing. Listening to my coach. I'm not going to fall off any wagon because I'm not on a wagon. I'm totally in control. I'm sitting on my goals and I know what they are. And so my relationship with food is very healthy. That took decades. That took decades. I didn't always have a healthy relationship with food. But, I so respect what my body's done and what it can do, and sometimes when I do have a cheat meal, it's more than I'm used to eating. It's never a lot, [00:46:00] but it's more than I'm used to. And I don't feel great afterwards. It's kind of like, that's why we're doing this very slowly, very slowly.

Kevin: Yeah, that's great. And I love the way that you talk about food and your relationship with food and that you can't fall off the wagon because you're not on one. That's a fantastic way to look at that. Well, thank you for sharing all of that. I want to transition a little bit and talk about some of the vocabulary you use when you're talking to, I guess your audience, the people on social media. You often address your folks as queen agers. And although I have heard that term, I can't remember where you're the first person I've seen that uses it regularly. What's a queen ager?

Julia: Queen ager is basically a woman, I feel that doesn't let anything get in her way and she's a queen and she usually has some years on her. She's got a lot of experience, a lot of wisdom.  There's also king [00:47:00] agers.  I think that people who are older are not valued in our society, like they are in other countries in Saudi Arabia and ma and Latin countries in Mexico, in places in Europe, people who have life experiences are in their 50 60 seventies, eighties, nineties are revered for their wisdom. And so I think a queen ager is somebody that a woman. And I just think women are amazing. I mean, and 97% of my followers are women. I have to be honest.  I do have some men followers and that's great. I love that I can inspire them to, but 97 percent are women  and the largest majority are between the ages of 35 and 54. And I think I'd have more in the over 55, if more older people were inclined to use social media, but they aren't sometimes.  [00:48:00] But anyway,  I love my followers. I don't know. It's just like these people out there, women from all over the world.

I mean, there was an article in the daily mail on me last week.  And then it popped up in Uruguay. And I got all these messages from women saying I'm from Chile. I'm from Barcelona. I'm from Nicaragua. I'm it just Costa Rica. It is just the most amazing feeling that there's a community of women online and we're all supporting each other. So I call them queen agers. I also call them my team universe, I always say team universe,

Kevin: That was the other one I was going to ask you about yeah.

yeah. Or Timo universe.

Julia: So, or, you know, because I feel like I'm on your Team You're on my team. I don't care what color you are, what culture you live in, what language you speak, what gender you are, how you identify we're on each other's team. And I [00:49:00] am just here to support you and share my positive outlook. And if it's helpful, that is fantastic.

I don't monetize my Instagram. I don't sell anything. I don't endorse anything. And I get actually request all the time.. Oh, will you share this with your followers and you'll get a free this, and you'll get a percentage. It's like, no, I'm really don't want to do that. So team universe is all those human beings out there who are wanting connection and are getting it through Instagram and following certain people.  And I also called them shape-shifters. So I'm a shapeshifter and a shape-shifter is a little bit of a shamanistic term where you change your consciousness and you change your shape. And that to me is basically what you're doing in a physical transformation.

You've got to see it first, people say. Oh, I'll [00:50:00] believe it when I see it. No, you'll see it when you believe it, because it is a total transformation of your identity. And I talk about that a lot on my Instagram that you've got to stick to that vision of who you want to be. Live that being now. It's not out in the future. It's now.

And then realize that the forces and energies of the universe take time to manifest. So don't give up, it's all working. You just don't see it yet, I do get messages from women who say I've been working out, you know, five days a week. It's been two months, I eat clean and I haven't lost any weight. And I always think they aren't giving it enough time. They're looking for immediate results. And they're also too tied to the bathroom scale. You know, they're looking for that number and we have been taught to care about that number more than anything.

And I [00:51:00] always say, use a tape measure to measure your progress or try some tight clothes that didn't fit well, do they fit now? How do they feel on your body? Because your weight is going to go up and down. I mean, I can lose or gain three pounds overnight, just according to what I eat, if it's salty or I, if I eat late.

So I feel like a lot of people don't give it enough time and that's the key consistency. And repeated positive actions, repetitive, positive actions in the gym and the way you eat and doing it, I always say day in and day out. You do it day in and day out and just push through the times you don't feel like it.

And also look at why don't you feel like it? what is it that's stopping you? what's behind that feeling of I don't feel like it today? Is it, you don't feel like you deserve to feel good or you aren't [00:52:00] worthy of having a great physique?  A lot of this stuff is so buried and we do things unconsciously.

And so I just try and encourage the women that send me messages to just keep going. Because if you keep going, you're going to get results. If you give up, you might be just about to turn the corner.

Kevin: Yeah.

Julia: And you're giving up, that's heartbreaking.

Kevin: It is. And I, and I agree wholeheartedly. I see that as well, people start something, a diet or an exercise regimen typically. They just don't give it long enough.  I'm a big fan of 90 days just do it for 90 days. You'll start to see some of those results that will in turn refuel that motivation tank, so to speak, and keep you going. And then you alluded to this earlier in the conversation that this fitness thing that we're in, this health that we're pursuing it's, it's not a destination, it's a journey and it's a lifetime journey.

So you had alluded to here in this last little part about women [00:53:00] maybe knowing, understanding their why, why they're doing something. And oftentimes that's a very, maybe even a raw, emotional thing that people aren't in touch with. But for men or women, I feel like it's critical to really know why you're doing something in order to stick with something over the long-term.

Is that a, is that a fair way of paraphrasing? Kind of what you were saying there earlier?

Julia: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And I think knowing your why will trump every excuse you give yourself not to do it. And it sounds like I'm lying' or I don't know. I just never don't I don't wake up in the morning ever feeling like I don't want to do it. I go to bed at night and I check what, what's my workout tomorrow. And I can't wait to get out of bed at six or six 30, have my coffee, get my pre-workout meal in and go to the gym. And I don't know, it's just become a rhythm that gives me [00:54:00] so much positive biofeedback that I I'll never give it up. I'll just, you know, I'll just never give it up.

It's just, even if I have limitations later for whatever reason.  I'm going to just keep doing it.

Kevin: that's fantastic. I love hearing that. So Julia you've accomplished a lot in a little amount of time. Really. You've been on this fitness journey here for the last couple of years. We know that you're preparing for another show, but other than that, what else is on the horizon for you?

Julia: Well, I always have something going on. I always have projects going on. And I think that I am going to, I don't know if I'm going to become a coach. I am getting certified as one, just because I'm a knowledge sieve or sponge. I want to learn and know everything. [00:55:00] I don't know that I will be an actual fitness coach.

I'd certainly love to be a mindset coach, a motivational coach.  Even before this, I did a lot of motivational speaking. That's something I would love to do. And I actually have people at say all the time, you should write a book, you should write a book. Well,

Kevin: that's certainly popped into my head as we had this conversation today.

Julia: Yeah. And, and that's another project that is very real and hopefully soon.  It's just, yeah, so I don't like to say too much about projects that are in process, but it's really I'm changing. And my I, I'm also a an artist and an accomplished illustrator actually. And I do my work under a different name and I've, used Julia  just for a little bit of  anonymity in terms of [00:56:00] what I've accomplished, but, you know, I just find that I have to do what I care about and fitness is something I care about and motivating other people I care about.

So I think in the next year, there'll be some changes in the direction that I go and what I can offer people in terms of their own fitness journey. And I'm super excited about that. I just not sure what form it will take yet.

Kevin: well, that's fantastic. And so people that don't know you already listening to this, what's the best way for them to connect with you and follow along on what's next for you?

Julia: Please follow me on Instagram. It's a dolphinine, and what I should probably say is a little bit of the background of how I got that name. It's dolphin with I N E after it, like, we've heard the term leonine, like a lion. Dolphinine is like a dolphin. [00:57:00] And I had a dream probably 25 years ago.

It was a very lucid dream and I pay attention to my dreams. I write my dreams down in a journal and I read them over later and they're very often prophetic and help me understand what's going on.  But anyway, I had this very lucid dream one night where I woke up in the dream and I was sleeping in a cottage on stilts, over a body of water, which was an ocean and it was at night.

So it was dark, but the windows were open. It was very much like these cottages I saw in Ganvie, Benin West Africa. People actually live in these beautiful bamboo, almost huts that are over the water and is a fishing community. It was like that, it was a little bit primitive, but I woke up and I jumped out the window into the ocean and my body turned [00:58:00] into the body of a dolphin.

It was like so real. And I felt the musculature and the mind muscle connection of a dolphin, like how little minute movements would like a torpedo jet me through the water and jump out of the water. And the bottle nose how easy it was to come back in the water and what, how the fins felt in the tail and everything.

It was fantastic. It was like, such power and joy. I also felt the joy and playfulness of a dolphin's personality. It's kind and dolphins have sort of been my spirit animal anyway. And I love water. I love the beach. I love the ocean. And at that point in the dream, there were some dark shapes that kind of appeared around me in the water.

And so I jumped out back into the cottage and [00:59:00] woke up. And it was just so real. I honestly have no doubt that's what it must be to feel like your form is that of a dolphin. And I thought about my fitness journey and how it brings me that joy. And it brings me that mind muscle connection and that feeling that I can just do this and this happens and that whole connection really comes through. And the other thing that happened in my forties that, you know, I am a very visual person and I get a lot of visual things. It's sometimes I close my eyes, it's like watching a movie and it's not a movie I'm playing. It's just images that come and I'm watching and observing them and finding them interesting. And I remember in my forties carrying around a mini movie of me when I was 60 years [01:00:00] old. Because when I was in my forties, I was struggling a little bit with my weight.

I was able to drop 25 pounds. And then it came right back on because we moved to San Francisco and there's great restaurants there and my job and blah-blah-blah, you know how life happens. But it was during that time I gained the weight back. I saw this mini movie inside of myself and I was 60 years old, 20 years ahead.

And I was exactly like I am now except I had silver hair. And it's my hair's not silver yet, but it was almost like, I don't know. It was like just knowing that's where I was headed. And I think in a way I had to be this age to totally deal with everything that has kept me from completing that journey of fitness.

And getting beyond all the medical stuff and there's always medical stuff, but it doesn't stop [01:01:00] me. But I just think it was, that was a very prophetic thing too, that this is who you're going to be when you're in your sixties. I saw myself and I am like I am now. Lean and fit and strong except my hair with silver.

It's not silver yet.

Kevin: Yeah. So, you've manifested that vision of yourself and it sounds like, the folks listening, can't see you, but you're lit up with this passion and truly, it sounds like you've found your purpose. You're living your purpose and that's how you fire on all cylinders, right? If you've got your basics, your nutrition and your exercise and your sleep and your recovery, and certainly relationships and stress management all play into that.

But then there's this higher sense of, well I've discovered my true purpose. And I'm manifesting that now here in this place, in this time. And it's because it's the appropriate place and the appropriate time. I feel like that's where you are now. And I think that that's what those of us from the outside looking in are picking up [01:02:00] when we see your messages and we hear what you're writing and watch you on this journey here. And I can speak for some of us, at least on the outside looking in, that's what I see when I see you and it's amazing and it's inspiring. So

Julia: Thank you, so sweet. And it's so well said. Bless you that is, just, you know, thank you so much for that. Thank you.

Kevin: And Julia, I want to thank you so much for taking your time to come on the show today and share with us your personal story.  You're just so inspirational and you are a fantastic ambassador for healthy aging, and I absolutely wish you all the best in all your future endeavors.

Julia: Oh, thank you so much, Kevin. It was really fun talking to you.

Kevin: Okay folks, that's our show for this week. All of the links to the resources we discussed in this episode and more can be [01:03:00] found at www.silveredgefitness.com/69. Now, this is normally the part of the show where I beg you to give me a five-star review on whatever platform you're listening on. But today I have a different ask. What I'd really love is if you would share this podcast with a friend. I'm sure that you have a friend or a relative that loves a good transformation story and could use some inspiration. Most podcast platforms have a share button, or you could just send them to www.silveredgefitness.com/episode 69.

I want to thank you so much for listening to this episode. And until next time stay strong.