Name: Betsy Middleton Collie
Location: Durham, NC
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
For me it means being consistent with finding balance within myself and within my life. Training for a strong body and simultaneously a strong mind.
When those things are in place as individuals we can give back to others and empower others to find and cultivate their own. A Girl Gone Strong lifts others up, supports, nurtures, and encourages healthy lifestyle approach to this thing we call life!
It’s a belonging to something bigger than ourselves, a safe haven where we are all accepted for who we are as we grow and live this journey we call life!
How did you get introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
My background is in formal dance training and choreography. I started when I was three years old and continued after college well into adulthood. My formal dance training in ballet, jazz, modern, and acrobatics led me to a life of fitness beginning in college where I trained at my first job as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer. My experience and knowledge grew through the years teaching and coaching all modalities of fitness. But what I consider my serious, legit intro to strength training was back in June 2007.I have been in the fitness industry for more than 25 years but my true understanding of strength training began in 2007 when I was introduced to kettlebell training and learning under Pavel Tsatsouline.
What does your typical workout look like?
Usually it’s predominantly kettlebell training with some barbell deadlifts and body weight exercise like pull-ups and pistol squats (one leg squats) followed by what I refer to as dynamic stretches and flow-like movement.
The Turkish Get UP, Overhead Press, or Pistol
Most memorable PR:
There were two memorable times. The first was when I did my first get-up with 24kg (53 pounds) just new to kettlebell training back in 2008. The other was in the same timeframe when I snatched 24kg overhead for multiple reps. One fun “circus trick” was doing a pistol on a 12kg bell.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
I don’t have a formal playlist. I love all genre of music so my list varies depending on my mood that day/training session. Recently, it’s anything from alternative music like “Life Itself” by Glass Animals and “Breathe” by Prodigy.
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:
My phone charger, bobby pins comfortable shorts/leggings for squats
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I do train both ways, but I enjoy training with others. I think we learn more by training with others. And I feel I work harder with others. Some of my best work has been when someone was beside me encouraging me, when I might have given up on my own, and another pair of eyes on my form is always beneficial!
Most embarrassing gym moment:
I have had a few… one time that was funny was that I had my complete workout wear on inside out.
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
I think the best compliment I have received and hear multiple times which really means a lot, is that I am an inspiration to them or to others. This to me is the highest compliment ever.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
“You don’t realize it, but because you opened up and shared your story someone else felt empowered to do the same! And so they started a program that scared the hell out of them. But because they heard where you came from and started, that gave them the courage to try.” You my friend are the ultimate inspiration!
Steak cooked to perfection, green crisp veggies like asparagus or broccoli, and a decadent appetizer like calamari, or wedge salad, accompanied by a mojito or a glass of prosecco before dinner and glass of red wine during dinner. Oh and I also love French fries and ketchup!
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Pedicure and manicure are my go to! When I can make the time I prefer my trusted massage therapy person who comes to my house and focuses on what she and I agree I need the most. Usually lasts two hours! Decadence!
“Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!” I know this sounds negative, but people really need a reality check sometimes, and this quote sums it up.
I prefer anything nonfiction. I truly love reading about other peoples’ lives. However, the book I am reading right now is called Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin.
What inspires and motivates you?
This may sound too touchy-feely, but my best motivation has been when my students open up to me and tell me what is going on with them in that moment. From there I can relate, respond, and act in a way that lifts both of us up to be the best we can be.
I am inspired and motivated when the people that I am surrounded by are free and willing to open up and be soundboards for one another. Good things happen when we let our guard down and just be real.
What do you do?
I am a wife, mother of three boys ages 13, 18, and 20. I also own a gym called Rapid Results Fitness, and am in leadership for an organization called StrongFirst School of Strength as a Senior SFG (one of 12 in the world). I also do long-distance coaching with multiple people of all backgrounds around the world, I do public speaking for local organizations, and I write articles for publications in my area.
What else do you do?
I absolutely love down time at home. Some days I do chores like cleaning the house, or I sit on my deck soaking up the sun, with music playing in the background. I enjoy all water sports, and dance is my favorite, as I have been dancing since the age of three (ballet, jazz, acrobatics, modern, tap). I love fashion, although I mostly wear workout clothes every day, and I probably spend more on shoes than I should. I love travel—the beach in particular. You can find me paddle boarding or surfing on a nearby shore.
Describe a typical day in your life:
Wake up at 7 a.m.
Get my youngest to school by 7:55 a.m.
Teach classes and personal training from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. My own training usually happens in there, around 10:30 a.m.
From 1 to 2p.m. I’m running the behind-the-scenes stuff at Rapid Results Fitness (marketing, accounting, program design).
Run errands from 2 to 3 p.m.
Pick up my youngest from school at 3 p.m.
Get back home and on the computer from 4 to 5:30 p.m. to work on programming for my long-distance students, read and write emails, and do some more marketing for my business.
Go back to gym for training from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.
Fix dinner sometime between 7 and 8 p.m.
Take a loooong shower by 8 p.m.
At 9 p.m. I finish emails or work, social media, and TV and family time
In bed between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Your next training goal:
My short-term goal is to focus on a four-week training of just bottoms-up kettlebell work. After that, test and improve my body weight skills like one-arm push-up and increase barbell lifts, specifically deadlift and bench press.
What are you most grateful for?
By far my health. Being in good health allows me to keep doing what I am doing and take care of others. I’m equally grateful for my family—three wonderful, healthy boys and an amazing husband who all put up with me!
What life accomplishment are you most proud of?
My children! Of course I can’t take all the credit, though. My husband deserves kudos, too, but I am just so proud of them. They are a work in progress, so my pride is not based solely on what they do…It’s in the joy and journey of watching them grow!
Which three words that best describe you?
Passionate, Realist, Approachable
Tell us about a time when you overcame fear or self-doubt.
For me it was setting up the business Rapid Results Fitness and being a female independent business owner. I knew I had extreme passion and drive to take care of this business and see it through, taking care of each and every one of my clients, but the most trying aspect was formulating the plan of action and executing the plan while not letting self doubt and negativity enter the equation.
When you really are passionate about something you will end up doing what is right and success will follow.
You overcome obstacles and learn from mistakes. It has been the most rewarding experience I have ever earned on my own.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from strength training?
The fun part is the first time I try something new, and find that I can do it pretty well. Strength is a base that helps in many ways as a foundation for everything else! I can do things that people don’t think I can do! Because of my petite bone structure and long arms and legs sometimes people peg me for frail and assume I am not strong. One time someone attempted to mug me in a parking lot in broad daylight. Sadly for him, I did not let go of my purse… I knew where my lats were and held tight. The coolest overall effect for me though has been that strength training makes me strong in all facets of my life. Mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
Being and feeling strong in all facets of my life makes me a better mom, wife, mother, student, trainer, daughter, friend, and citizen of the world.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
You must do it! Don’t wait! Find a trainer you can trust and who understands how to be a teacher first! Once you learn and understand your body and the intent of the training, you will soar to heights you didn’t dream of before! It sounds like I am asking you to drink the Kool-Aid, but I can tell you this: I’ve met many like-minded people who come from all walks of life, and have all arrived at strength training in their own way. We all share the positive attributes that come from this kind of training.
Strength training permeates all facets of our lives for the better, and stands the test of time.
If you’re inspired by Betsy, read on to learn more about—and join!—our community of strong, supportive women…