From Games Athlete to Doctor With Julie Foucher

Julie Foucher-Blog

Sean: 00:05 – Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I speak with four-time Games athlete and CrossFit legend Julie Foucher. First, as we all know, Chris Cooper is not the fittest person who ever walked the Earth. He has never recorded a world-record snatch. His Fran time is—well, it’s a time. But Chris does hold a gym record. He’s written the best-selling fitness business books of all time. Based on his experience as a gym owner and thousands of free calls with other fitness entrepreneurs, Chris put together four books that can help you make money and live the life you want. This isn’t smoke-blowing without substance. These books have helped thousands, and they can help you. Head over to Amazon and check them out. You’re looking for “Two-Brain Business,” “Two-Brain business 2.0,” “Help First” and “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief.” These are best-selling books based on hard data and experience, and they can help you find success.So pick one up today on Amazon.

Sean: 01:14 – Julie Foucher participated in the CrossFit Games four times in her career. She never finished lower than fifth and she stood on the podium twice, once in 2012 when she took second overall and then again in 2014 when she finished third. She gave up competing in 2015 to continue to pursue a career in medicine. Julie and I talked about the memorable moments from her years as a competitor, why she wanted to become a doctor and how she plans on incorporating her knowledge of fitness into the treatment of her future patients. Thanks for listening everybody. Julie, thanks so much for doing this today. How are you doing?

Julie: 01:52 – I am doing awesome. Who could be better in December in Cleveland?

Sean: 01:54 – Yeah. How cold is it there?

Julie: 02:00 – It’s actually not that bad. I think it’s in the 30s.

Sean: 02:03 – Oof.

Julie: 02:03 – It snowed a little bit today, but there’s nothing really on the ground. It’s just the darkness that really gets me

Sean: 02:06 – It gets dark at 4:30, right?

Julie: 02:12 – Yeah.

Sean: 02:13 – Man. I don’t know how you deal with that. That’d be tough for me. A lot I want to talk to you about today. Let’s first start with your CrossFit career cause there’s kind of two parts, you have CrossFit and the medical stuff. We’ll get into both. But how did you first find CrossFit?

Julie: 02:30 – So I first found CrossFit through my husband, but at the time he was not my husband or my boyfriend. We were living in the dorms at University of Michigan and we had some mutual friends who would always get together and like in one of our rooms and watch Grey’s Anatomy, actually. And after one of the episodes he pulled up CrossFit.com because he was looking up the workout for the next day and he had just been doing it at our school rec center. And when he pulled it up I was really interested because I had, you know, I had done gymnastics and track in high school, but I wasn’t doing any formal sports in college and I felt kind of lost. And as soon as I heard what it was, it was obvious that that was something I wanted to do. So as soon as he told me about it, I was really excited. And then it wasn’t too long after that that I think, I can’t even remember what my first workout is, but it was something in our rec center that I did with him. And then we joined our local CrossFit affiliate in Ann Arbor a couple months after that.

Sean: 03:30 – What did you think of the regimen when you first tried it?

Julie: 03:36 – I loved the variety for sure because I, you know, in gymnastics you’re doing a lot of different things. In track, I always hated track. I did it, but I hated it because it was just running all the time. And so I liked that, you know, you could do a track workout in CrossFit, but it wasn’t every single day. So I liked that variety and I liked the challenge of learning new movements and putting things together. The intensity I think appealed to me. And then when I walked into, it was HyperFit USA at the time, when I walked into that gym, I immediately had kind of memories going back to doing gymnastics when I was younger. I liked the environment of there was a community there. You had a coach telling you what to do. It just seemed like a place that I should be.

Sean: 04:26 – How did you go from that then to being a competitor?

Julie: 04:31 – It happened pretty quickly and unexpectedly because that was in 2009 so, you know, the CrossFit Games were very different at that time. And that first summer when, when my, well he was my boyfriend at the time, Danny and I started doing CrossFit, I remember watching the videos that they posted of the 2009 CrossFit Games online and thinking, wow, that’s amazing. I remember seeing all the girls sprinting up that hill in Aromas and thinking how cool it would be to, you know, to be able to do something like that. And when the fall came, Danny and a couple of other guys at the gym said they wanted to train for a local competition. So I said, OK, if you guys are doing it, I might as well join you. And then we did a few local competitions that winter and I ended up just really surprising myself every step of the way. And then we had Sectionals that year at the Arnold and then Regionals. It was a huge surprise that I ended up qualifying in that first year.

Sean: 05:33 – You finished fifth in 2010, that was your first year at the CrossFit Games. What did that do for your confidence?

Julie: 05:41 – So that’s a great question because I think it should have done a lot more for my confidence. I think my whole CrossFit Games career for me was a huge lesson in me finding my confidence because that first year obviously I placed fifth and then the whole next year I think in the back of my mind I had this voice saying like, you know, you want to make sure it’s not a fluke, you know, don’t do worse than fifth. At that point in time, actually the top five from 2009 to 10 got a free sort of buy to the CrossFit Games. So you didn’t have to qualify for the following year. So for me, like top five was sort of a cutoff of, OK, if I can get top five and then I’m prequalified for the next year, that’s pretty good. And that was a really stressful year for me. It was my last year of college. I was applying to med school. We had some deaths in the family. I then moved to Cleveland, started med school and then like a month or two later it was the 2011 Games. And that whole time I think even going into the to 2011 Games, I remember being at the hotel, you know, getting ready to start the Games and reading some, you know, someone had put up some predictions of people to watch and I was on that list and I was like, oh really? Like, are you sure?And so I was always really doubting myself, I think. And it was funny because going into the last event I was in third place, and the last event on paper was one that should have been really good for me. And I still to this day think it was really my head that got in the way and I ended up really not doing well on that last event and moving back down to fifth and getting exactly what I sort of bargained for. So that was a huge lesson for me in confidence and I think every year following that I worked to improve my confidence and I think it was definitely a growing process.

Sean: 07:31 – 2012, you finished second overall; best career finish. What stands out to you when you look back on that competition?

Julie: 07:40 – Oh gosh. So many things. I mean just highs and lows, right? So I think we started that year with the Pendleton run and the obstacle course at Pendleton, which is my all-time favorite event that I’ve ever done, those two things together ever at the CrossFit Games. And so that will always be a great memory. And then, you know, I think I started really strong in that Games, I was in first for most of, I think, you know, the first couple of days. And then I had sort of this big meltdown on the handstand push-ups, which I wasn’t prepared for. And again, I think I let my mind get the best of me when it necessarily didn’t have to. So it was kind of bittersweet at the end because I was so happy that, you know, I made the podium and I was in second place, but being so close to potentially winning at certain points in the competition, I think that definitely left me, you know, again, it was a lesson in my confidence and a lesson in, you know, maybe I can do better than this and how can I work on my mental game to improve for the following year.

Sean: 08:50 – How did you manage your first year of medical school and training for the CrossFit Games at the same time?

Julie: 08:57 – That was tough. That was definitely the toughest year of my life I would say thus far. I started CrossFit when I was, or my first CrossFit Games were between, right before my senior year of college of undergrad. And I knew, OK, I want to do it again. I competed in 2011 right after I started med school. And then I had seen, the good thing was I had seen my husband, he went through med school the year before I did. So I kind of knew what the workload was like and I knew what would be manageable in terms of hours that I could dedicate to training. And at that time I thought it was feasible and I kind of wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I wanted to prove to sort of everybody else that I could do it. And so I set that goal going in and it was sort of a whole combination of, you know, this realization of at the 2011 Games placing fifth again, kind of processing a lot of things that had happened in the year before with you know, all the stress and moving and starting med school and some deaths in the family.

Julie: 10:05 – And I was like at a pretty low spot during that year because all I was doing was basically going to school from about eight to five or so. And then I would go to the gym and I would train for three or four hours at night and then I’d go home and maybe do some more homework and then go to bed and do it all over again. And I didn’t really do anything for fun. I didn’t really do anything like much like social wise. So it was a pretty, like, there were definitely some very low spots of that year. But I think what was a huge realization for me and a huge growing experience was taking a step back to realize why I was doing what I was doing. I had never really asked myself that. So the first couple of years, I think whenever you do anything and it’s fun and you’re good at it, you’re like, yeah, I’m going to keep doing this.

Julie: 10:52 – But then at that point when things started getting really hard, I realized I had to step back and say, you know, why am I doing this in the first place? And is it something that’s really worth continuing? And when I stopped to ask that question, it was very obvious that I was passionate about it. I had certain talents that I wanted to, you know, I realized not everyone who’s doing the exact training as me is going to qualify for the CrossFit Games, like there’s something like I’m in this position for a reason and I want to be able to push my body and see what I’m capable of and this is the time to do it. And then I saw how, you know, being an athlete was going to open doors, you know, being like a CrossFit Games competitor, you meet all these people, you establish connections, you know, potentially I could see how it would help me in my career in medicine and what I wanted to do later on.

Julie: 11:45 – And I think especially when I took the year off during the middle of med school from competing and I saw—I had an opportunity to watch the Games from the sidelines and talk to a lot of the fans and see how much of an impact you can have just on one person just by doing what you do and how, you know, people that are watching you or people that watch me training and doing med school at the same time, how maybe that inspired them to do something in their life. And that to me was a huge privilege. So kind of reflecting on that, things got a lot easier. And you know, I ended up, you know, that was my best year as we just talked about in 2012. So, it was definitely challenging. I think I would do it again, but it was not pleasant at times.

Sean: 12:31 – With the success that you had kind of balancing both lives in 2012, why then did you make the decision to say, you know what, I have to take 2013 off.

Julie: 12:42 – Yeah. So I also kind of knew that from the outset that the second year of med school was much more demanding from a time standpoint. And then also there’s a big board exam at the end of the second year of med school, which sort of coincides with the Games season. So you know, I knew in my heart that it just wasn’t going to be possible; if I would try to do both, I’d be really selling myself short in both arenas. So I knew that, but it still took me several months to kind of come to the decision. And I remember thinking about, you know, maybe I can just try to do CrossFit.com and see if I can still make it to the Games on that. But at the end of the day I realized, I know it’s better for me to take the season off, spend what time I do have to be in the gym on working on my weaknesses so I can be stronger for the next year. And I also was really surprised by all of the support that I got from the community for making that decision because, you know, you always worry about missing out and you worry about all the other athletes making progress when you’re not, you know, when you’re not keeping up with them. And so there’s a lot of unknown to taking that year off, but it was definitely the right decision.

Sean: 13:50 – You come back in 2014, you finished on the podium again, this time in third. What did it mean to you to be able to accomplish that after you were out of action for a year?

Julie: 14:01 – I think it meant a lot. I think yeah, just because there’s so many unknowns when you take that much time off and the whole field is moving so fast and progressing so quickly. But I think for me more than anything, it was a lesson, again, it was me showing myself personal growth in terms of my confidence and the way that I approached the competition. So that was a very different year in that instead of like 2012 where I started at the top and then I sort of like slid down to second, I started from behind and kind of squeezed my way up to third place at the very end of the competition. And the difference between my mental approach on the final workouts of that year versus what had happened in 2011 was just night and day. So for me it was so much more of an emotional and happy moment, I think, than it was even in 2012. Like I remember as soon as I saw the scoreboard, just like immediate tears coming down my face. But in 2012 I didn’t really have that strong of an emotional reaction.

Sean: 15:06 – How did you work on your mental game?

Julie: 15:11 – Oh, so many things. I think one of the best things that I did was when I went through sort of that difficult time during my first year of med school, I ended up starting to see a sports psychologist and then I kind of got connected with another one that I saw through the rest of my career, I guess, like 2013 through 15. And I think he, I actually had him on my podcast recently too. His name is Dr. Janesz, and he just really helped me to work on finding, again, finding that confidence, like being able to put myself in the right mental state when I’m competing, visualizing, like helping to stay balanced in the other areas of my life. And actually a big thing that helped me, this might sound silly, but if anyone is a Tony Robbins fan, I did the Tony Robbins seminar, it was I guess January or February, it was during the Open of 2015.

Julie: 16:22 – And as part of the Tony Robbins seminar, everyone does this fire walk on the first night. And it sounded kinda crazy, but the whole point is just learning how to put yourself into this mental state of absolute clarity and absolute belief that you’re going to do something and like have zero doubts in your mind. And that was so valuable and I use that a lot in my training. There were certain lifts that I had mental blocks on and I was able to use that strategy to make huge gains in terms of of those lifts and like really reach a lot of milestones in my training that I was super proud of even though, you know, I didn’t end up competing in the Games in 2015, a lot of those milestones were things that, you know, I was happy that I could sort of retire from competition having met those things.

Sean: 17:11 You mentioned 2015 and I think the most memorable finish of your career is probably also the worst one of your career statistically speaking. You took eighth at the Central Regional in 2015, but you do it on a ruptured Achilles and you competed in a couple of events in a boot. First off, what kind of emotional roller coaster was that Regional for you?

Julie: 17:34 – Oh yeah, it was a lot of ups and downs. You know, I think when something like that happens, it’s just such a, like one moment you’re on track, you’re going to go to your last CrossFit Games and then the next moment like it’s all done and like everything that you’ve been working for is just over. And so that sort of quick change of events I think is just going to be emotional for anyone. And for me, I think, I don’t know. I think everything, just the way that everything happened was so, I dunno, I was so lucky with the way everything happened. Like the fact that the next event was a handstand walk. So when Bob came over and asked me, are you going to do this event? I said, well, I guess it’s the handstand walk. Of course I can do that.

Julie: 18:23 – And the fact that, you know, I had been training with my gymnastics coaches, handstand walks with weights on my ankles for months and months. And that was like really similar to how the boot felt. And you know, the fact even after the whole competition was done, just the way that the whole CrossFit community, like I felt the whole CrossFit community sort of lifting me up in that moment. And it’s something that I will never forget and I wish more people would have that because we all have these moments where something terrible happens and we feel vulnerable and we’re going through this grief, but like to have this huge community there to go through it with you and just support you, I mean it was super powerful.

Sean: 19:11 – I know it didn’t end the way you wanted to. You figured you’d be competing at the Games that year, but how did you get over the disappointment and not continually ask yourself, well, what if?

Julie: 19:22 – Yeah, that’s a great question because people ask me all the time, you know, you’re only in your mid-twenties and you know, why don’t you just pursue this for a couple more years and then you can go back to medicine? And for me it was never really a question because I knew like, I already taken an extra year of med school. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. I was already deep into it and it wasn’t an option for me to take any more time off of that. And so, like for me, it was like, this is the end. Like I already know it and if it doesn’t end the way that I want it to, that’s OK. But this is like all the time that I have. And I think so that, you know, that was helpful. There wasn’t a lot of extra like gray area or decision-making to be made.

Julie: 20:12 – But I think what helped me sort of make the transition and come to terms with the fact that it didn’t end how I wanted it to was all of those things, like having that experience at Regionals, having the support of the CrossFit community. And as I was recovering, I was really busy. Like we were getting married in a couple of months, so we were getting ready for that. I was getting ready to go back to full time at school. So I was just super busy and had so much support around me that I didn’t have too much time to dwell on it. Like I was actually surprised with myself in how I handled it because I think I normally have been a lot more like upset for a longer period of time. But I remember overall feeling pretty positive. And then I think the video came out of that Regional recap weekend and I remember that coming out and like sitting in my house by myself and watching it and just like crying, crying, crying, getting it all out there. And then I was like, fine. I’m like, OK, moving on with my life.

Sean: 21:11 – When did you know that you wanted to be a doctor?

Julie: 21:16 – Oh, so I had sort of thoughts about being a doctor when I was in high school. And I think, you know, people that —like friends or other people that I knew, I remember like might say oh, I could see you being a doctor, you’d be a really good pediatrician or this or that. So that’s when the idea sort of sparked and I loved in high school was the first time I took like biology and physiology and psychology. And I loved learning about how the human body worked. And so I started to think about it there. And then I think I even going into college, like I always knew that was a path I was going to go, but I had to sort of see it out because every, you know, freshman at University of Michigan and wants to be a premed. And so I’m like, well, let me just make sure that I’m really cut out for this.

Julie: 22:04 – So I ended up studying engineering because my dad is an engineer and he’s like, well, if you decide not to be a doctor, like you need to get a good job. So, so I studied biomedical engineering and I loved it. It was great as a major, but I absolutely would not be a good engineer. 100%. So it’s a good thing that I had a back-up plan. And for me it was just really, it came down to I liked the problem-solving, I liked the math and science, I like thinking about how the human body works, but for me it’s really the personal connections that you get to have with patients as a doctor that really drew me in. And then I think that’s really what drew me to family medicine too.

Sean: 22:48 – We’ll be back with more from Julie Foucher after this.

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Sean: 23:54 – What’s tougher: going to med school or competing at the CrossFit Games?

Julie: 24:00 – Oh gosh. You know, they’re tough in different ways, but honestly I think competing at the CrossFit Games. Maybe not competing, but you know, training and competing at the CrossFit Games.

Sean: 24:11 – Why do you say that?

Julie: 24:14 – Because I think for me, like med school and any type of school, it’s kind of predictable. Like, if you do the right things and you study the right stuff, you’re going to pass your test, you’re going to do a good job, you’re going to like learn what you need to learn. But training for the CrossFit Games is not such a guarantee. Like, you know, you can train as hard as you want and you can be as prepared as you are, but there are so many factors that are outside of your control and you never know what’s going to happen. And so it’s a lot more stress. And I don’t think I realized it until I was done competing like those, you know, a few weeks after I was recovering from my achilles and I really realized, wow. Like it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I didn’t realize the constant level of stress I was living at at a day-to-day basis for the past six years or whatever it was.

Julie: 25:08 – Because your whole life is revolving around it. Like, there’s not a day that goes by where you are not strategizing about when you’re going to get your workout in or what you’re going to eat or how much you’re going to sleep or you know, all these different factors that go into being prepared year round. And so just constantly having that like in the background and eating away at you. I think there’s a lot of sort of baseline stress that with med school, like yes, there’s always stress, but it’s like there’s a very well laid-out path that if you do the right things you will, you know, succeed.

Sean: 25:41 – Where are you now in your medical career?

Julie: 25:46 – So right now I’m finally almost—what is it? It’ll be nine years since I started med school. So I’m in my last year of residency training in family medicine. I actually did a six years of med school because I went to a five-year program. We did a year of research and then I basically added on another year, spread out my research over two years so that I could compete in 2015 and then a family medicine residency after that is three additional years.

Sean: 26:21 – What is the secret to getting through a labor like that that takes nine years before you can even start your career?

Julie: 26:32 – It’s kind of crazy, right? I think it’s sort of a trick. Like you don’t realize how long it’s gonna take when, I mean you do, but it’s just interesting because now I’m 30 and most of my friends from college are very well established in their careers and have been, you know, in quote unquote “real job” for a decade-ish, not quite a decade. But I think it’s just, there’s always sort of a carrot, right? Like, I mean for most people in med school it’s four years, but you think, OK, I apply to med school, I get in, the next—there’s always something;p like there’s this board exam to study for. Then there’s—every year is a little bit different and then I’m going to apply to residency. And then after residency a lot of people do fellowships. And so there’s always sort of the next thing that you’re always searching for, which I think keeps people going. And then I think it’s about like finding a career once you’re done, when you don’t have that necessarily, like that carrot to chase every couple of years is really figuring out and doing a lot of introspection to figure out what is it that you really want to do. And what is going to make you happy day to day for like decades, you know, as long as you’re practicing.

Sean: 27:44 – What makes somebody a good doctor?

Julie: 27:49 – Oh, that’s a great question. I think it’s funny because you, I’m sure you’ve heard Greg Glassman say this, and when people ask him what makes a good trainer, I think he says care, care and care. Like those are the top three things. And I think it’s 100% true for what makes a good doctor. It’s if you care and you listen to the person in front of you, like even if you don’t know all the answers, if you care, you will figure it out, you’ll find the answers that you need. And if especially the person sitting in front of you like feels that you care about them, that’s super powerful too.

Sean: 28:28 – How do you plan on incorporating your knowledge of physical fitness with CrossFit with how you treat and advise future patients?

Julie: 28:39 – Yeah, it’s a great question. So obviously ever since the beginning of doing CrossFit, it has influenced me to go into primary care, to go into family medicine because I see that prevention is where it’s at and that most of what we’re dealing with in terms of the burden of chronic disease in our country is all completely reversible and preventable with lifestyle. And so I think we need to look at different models for, you know, maybe it’s not quite medicine, maybe it’s some sort of a bridge between what’s happening in our affiliates and what’s happening in the medical system. But being able to help and facilitate these types of lifestyle changes and more patients I think is really, really critical. And right now the way that primary care is practiced it doesn’t really do that because it’s a quick 15, 20-minute visit in an office and you see people maybe every three or six months at most, and there’s not a lot that you’re going to do in that time to actually help people make these changes unless they’re really motivated to change. So I think we need to look at different ways to help people build the confidence and help people build the motivation to be able to make positive lifestyle changes and then, you know, be there to support them with their medical needs, too. So I don’t think it necessarily looks like practicing medicine inside a CrossFit gym, but I think it means building better bridges between what’s going on in CrossFit gyms and what’s going in our medical offices.

Sean: 30:18 – It seems like that’s going on on a small scale with what CrossFit is doing with the medical Level 1s and what you’re doing, how does that then get translated into a large-scale change within the system?

Julie: 30:31 – Yeah, well I think we’re seeing the beginnings of it. I think even in seeing some of the shifts in obviously what CrossFit’s putting on the dot com, but seeing some of the things that CrossFit’s doing with these special populations at HQ, now I’m seeing it pop up at affiliates all over the place. So now affiliates, they’re having classes for elderly folks or for certain special populations. And I think the more that we can be welcoming to those people and for them to feel safe coming to the affiliates and not feel intimidated, you know, the better that we’re going to be at doing this. And so building relationships between, you know, the physicians in your area who are seeing these patients and then helping to get them moving in small ways and comfortable and then seeing them, you know, like establishing those CrossFit communities I think it’s going to be really helpful. So I think it is, like most things in CrossFit, think it’s going to be very grassroots, but I think we’re already starting to see more of that happen. And I think the results will speak for themselves. So there will come sort of a critical point where you can’t deny the results that people are getting when they’re in a CrossFit gym. And when they’re coming off medications, they’re losing weight, they’re getting results that they would never get in the doctor’s office, then it’s going to be hard to ignore that. And so hospital systems, insurance companies, you know, people are gonna start paying attention.

Sean: 32:01 – Why don’t we talk more about personal accountability when it comes to health care?

Julie: 32:09 – That’s a great, that’s a whole—

Sean: 32:12 – It’s kind of taboo. You never hear people say, you know, if you’re going to get care, we’ll give you care. But there’s some burden on you as well to take care of yourself.

Julie: 32:20 – Right. It’s so interesting. And you know, it’s interesting because, and I’m not very well versed on this, but even, you know, talking to other residents at my hospital who did medical school in other countries, they, you know, they express some frustration too because I know in other countries there is a lot more personal accountability. Like if you get admitted to the hospital for the same thing over and over again that’s like because of some lifestyle thing that you’re doing, you get stuck with the bill or your family gets stuck with the bill. And so there is some accountability there. Whereas here, you know, a lot of people are not seeing the direct cost of that, you know, they’re paying for it through taxes and insurance and all these other things. But it’s so difficult to actually see the value of, you know, the care that you’re getting and how you’re paying for it in all these different ways.

Sean: 33:16 – What’s been something that you’ve learned throughout this nine-year plus process that you’ve been going through that was a real eye-opener for you?

Julie: 33:26 – Oh, that’s a good question. Let me think.

Sean: 33:33 – Or maybe just something that surprised you that you didn’t know before?

Julie: 33:38 – Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, I’m sure I’ve learned so many things. But let me think. I think I probably knew this on some level, but now I have more maybe objective data to support it is that so much of our health has to do with things that are completely outside of medicine or even our lifestyle. I think like our mind is super powerful. If anyone has not read the book yet called “How Healing Works” with Dr. Wayne Jonas that was a big game changer for me. And he talks about a lot of the data that comes from like placebo research and you know, looking at how many factors go into this healing response that people have. And it’s not just medicine, it’s not even just like a placebo effect per se, but there’s, you know, all of these factors; our expectations. You know, I think it’s something that takes me back to things that I’ve experienced myself in training for the CrossFit Games and the things that you experienced from visualization and how that can translate into your performance from your mental state and how you prepare yourself for a competition. I mean, those things translate into real life. Athletes are very well aware of them and they use them. But things like visualization, things like mindset are so important in everything that we do in everyday life, but really important in our health.

Sean: 35:16 – When you finally get to open your own practice, what do you want it to look like?

Julie: 35:20 – This is a good question. I don’t know if we’re ready to reveal all the details, but it will be soon. Yeah. Sometime in like late mid to late 2020, my husband and I are opening a practice and so we’re super excited. We’re kind of in the planning stages of that, but I won’t give away too many details yet.

Sean: 35:43 – OK. Little teaser. I’ll take that. What does fitness look like to you now that you’re not a competitor?

Julie: 35:52 – Oh, that’s a good question. So for a few years after I was done competing, I did a lot of training on my own or just sort of with friends. I have an online training program, so I did that, those workouts and that was super fun to connect with my online community. And then after a while I really missed being in an affiliate. And so I rejoined, or I joined a local affiliate here called Black Flag Athletics about a year and a half ago. And that’s been amazing. It’s been, you know, it’s always, you know, we had a great, affiliate when we first started in Ann Arbor and it was kind of hard for us to find something that fit like that again. And when we found Black Flag, we really, really loved it. So right now I just do classes. I occasionally will do an extra workout here or there. I know I got invited back to do this Rogue Legends competition again, so I’m trying to squeeze in some extra workouts.

Sean: 36:52 – Can’t wait for that.

Julie: 36:54 – Yeah. But yeah, but I love being in classes even, you know, even when I go and do an extra workout on my own versus doing a class, it’s just so different in terms of the amount of like activation energy that you need to get started and to keep going where versus being in a class with people around you and a coach leading you through it. That makes it much more for me of my like fun and relaxation and like blowing off steam after work or before work versus like having to motivate myself and do a workout I think is a lot more. And I appreciate sort of being back in that affiliate environment and doing classes.

Sean: 37:33 – Do you miss being an athlete?

Julie: 37:36 – I do. There are a lot of things that I miss about it. There’s something about like that feeling and every year when I watch the Games, that’s when I miss it the most. Cause you see them out on the floor. But there’s something about that feeling of going into a competition and knowing that you are as prepared as you could possibly be. And like you’ve done everything, you’ve put the work in, you are in the best shape you’ve ever been. And you know, for me, knowing, I don’t know, I don’t really anticipate, I mean I’m not ruling it out, but don’t really anticipate I’m ever going to be quite as fit as I was in 2015, kind of by design. Like I don’t really want to do that much focus on my training, but I mean there were certain things that I’m sure I’ll improve on, but as a whole it’s just kind of knowing that you’re not quite as good as you could be by choice because you’re prioritizing these other things. And that’s always a little bit, I think, unsettling. But I think for me it’s more about the big picture and like realizing the other things I’m putting my time and energy into now and still having fitness as something that’s really important to me and that I enjoy doing and I know is important for me long term. So yeah, I do miss it, but I would never give up everything else that I’m doing now in order to be that full-time athlete again,

Sean: 39:06 – What does your involvement with CrossFit the fitness regimen look like in the future now?

Julie: 39:13 – Yeah. So you mean like in terms of my workouts?

Sean: 39:16 – Your workouts, your training, how you’re going to use it, that kind of thing with your patients.

Julie: 39:22 – Oh yeah. I mean I think I’ll always be doing CrossFit and I think, you know, I’m looking forward to sort of next phases. I mean we’re not quite there yet, but eventually we do want to start a family. So that’s something that I’m thinking about is like what does CrossFit look like when you’re pregnant and postpartum and when you have young kids, so I think it will be fun to sort of go through some of those different phases. And I will certainly always be using it with my patients too. I think just introducing, you know, like we talk about in the Level 1, I mean these movements are so essential to our health and I think it’s one of the most important things that you can teach someone. It’s just basic movement, how to squat, how to deadlift. These are things that are going to translate over into our everyday life. I mean, how many of the patients that I’ve seen in residency that are going into a nursing home because they can’t get up by themselves anymore or they throw out their back because they don’t know how to pick something up heavy properly. And how many of these things can really be prevented.

Sean: 40:33 – Final question. What have you learned about yourself through this whole journey from, you know, CrossFit novice to competitor into now just about a doctor?

Julie: 40:46 – Hmm. I think I’ve learned a lot of patience and a lot of—I’m still working on this, but trying to be in the moment and focus on just what I’m doing now because I think that it was that way in training. Like, if you look at the whole season and the whole year and how much work you have to accomplish, it’s super overwhelming. But if you just focus on this is the next workout, this is the next rep that I’m doing, it becomes more manageable. And then you can see that progress over time. And I think the same thing when approaching medical training is that, you know, it is overwhelming to think about everything you’re going to do over the course of nine years, but one day at a time. And I used to be—definitely growing up and in college even, I was so much so caught up in sort of a perfectionistic attitude, which is, you know, useful in some ways, but it’s really detrimental because I think it prevents you from really growing. And so that’s something else I think I’ve learned about myself. And then I’m always trying to work on and trying to have more of that growth mindset and not beating myself up if you know, I’m not perfect about, you know, any little thing that I’m trying to do. So I’ve learned to be a lot more patient and forgiving myself.

Sean: 42:10 – You mentioned your podcast briefly before we go here. If people want to check that out, where can they find it?

Julie: 42:15 – It’s called Pursuing Health with Julie Foucher, you can find it on any podcast platform or juliefoucher.com.

Sean: 42:22 – Great. Julie, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Best of luck moving forward and I can’t wait to find out more about your impending practice.

Julie: 42:28 – Thank you. I appreciate it. It’s an honor to be on the podcast.

Sean: 42:34 – Big thanks to Julie Foucher for taking the time to speak with me. She mentioned where you can find her podcast. I recommend you check that out. You can also follow her on social media. She is on Instagram. She is @juliefoucher, one word. If you know me, you know I like hockey, wrestling, pro football, dogs and fitness, and I also like podcasts every week. I am fired up to bring you the very best of the fitness world on Two-Brain Radio. I’m always digging for the best stories from the most interesting people in the industry. We are also cranking out other great shows that can help you run a successful business. Every Monday, the clever guys from Two-Brain Marketing are showcasing success and serving the secret sauce that gets leads into gyms. And every Thursday we’ve got the best of the business world, people who will educate you and inspire you. So if you haven’t, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. Leave us a rating or a review. I would certainly appreciate it. Thanks for listening everybody, and we’ll see you next time.

Thanks for listening!

On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories. Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday. 

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