Each month, The Fine Line features women who inspire us with their outlook on life. Our guests embrace their ages, love their lives, and try to live each day with purpose. This month’s guest is personal trainer and health coach Julie Diamond. We’re especially excited to introduce you to Diamond, since we’ve tapped her as our go-to fitness expert. Stay tuned for good advice and gorgeous fitness videos that break down the most effective exercises for women.
When you look at Julie Diamond, you don’t see a woman who appears to have struggled. She’s a gorgeous blue-eyed blonde with rippling abs and enviable arms. She has a thriving business coaching beautiful people — everyone from actors and musicians to doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs — in Los Angeles.
Smart and sunny, with a huge smile and a personality that draws others in, she is hard to see as a person who has looked around, compared herself to others, and found herself lacking.
But a few years ago, that’s exactly the headspace Diamond was in.
When we catch up with Diamond on a warm December morning, she’s at home in Santa Monica. She typically gets up at 5:15 a.m. to meditate and read before meeting her first client at 6:30. It’s important, Diamond says, to take a few minutes in the morning for self-care before embarking on a busy day of teaching others to make their own wellness a priority. It’s just one of the many things the 53-year-old trainer does to ensure that she stays in optimal shape mentally and physically.
From fashion to fitness
Diamond grew up on the East Coast. She studied fashion at the University of Maryland and spent her 20s working in that field in California. But after her parents became ill with heart disease and cancer, she moved back east with her then husband and helped her twin sister care for them. After her mother died when Diamond was 30 and her father died 10 years later, Diamond decided to make a change — for herself and others.
“[My parents’ deaths] were very hard, but it catapulted me into a new career. I felt that if they’d only started earlier [with self-care], it would have made a big difference. I really wanted to help other people realize the preventive aspects of fitness and nutrition,” she recalls. “I wanted to change lives, so I left fashion to study health and fitness. I dove into it and got nine different certifications and learned as much as I could.”
Within a few years, Diamond and her husband divorced. “That was very hard on me,” she says. “My 30s were a very difficult decade: caring for and losing both my parents, getting a divorce, changing careers …” And so she decided to move back to the West Coast and push hard for a career in fitness. Diamond saw her first clients in her garage.
That was 14 years ago. Today, she helps people of all ages with fitness and nutrition, including lots of women who are facing the physical and mental challenges of midlife. This demographic especially can relate to Diamond because she understands the mindset of a woman in her late 40s and early 50s and is proof that a woman can remain fit and energetic even after menopause. “Fifty isn’t what it was 20 years ago,” Diamond says emphatically.
A support for others
As a health coach, Diamond serves as a support system for her clients, someone to keep them accountable and facilitate sustainable healthy behaviors. “I help clients find their inner wisdom and show them how to transfer goals to action,” she says. Some of her many certifications are in spin, yoga, P90X, and TRX. She is currently studying Pilates and this month, she completes the health coach training program at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
It is from that course that she learned to reframe her ideas about food — which encompasses so much more than what we put in our mouths. “I now talk about primary foods — your spiritual practice, your family life, your friendships, the things that feed your soul — and secondary foods — nutrition and exercise,” she says. The course also emphasizes how thinking influences our mental health.
“We have to really understand how our mindset impacts our physical well-being,” Diamond says. The people we spend our time with, the passions we pursue, the value we place on self-care: All of these things are really key to successful living, she says.
Pause to appreciate
While we are chatting, an alarm goes off in the background. It’s a faint “ding” intended to nudge Diamond to practice self-care.
“I have a reminder on my phone three times a day,” she says. “I call it Aphrodite Love. It’s a reminder to give myself some love. I just stop to remind myself of three things that I feel good about. It takes 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Sometimes it’s all about wrapping my arms around myself and giving myself a hug and taking a deep breath and saying, ‘Julie, you’re doing amazing.’ Some of us don’t get that from other people in our lives, and it’s important that we give it to ourselves.”
She says she’s practiced this ritual daily for about a year. She started after she went through a crisis of confidence, losing perspective on all the good things in her life. “I was looking around and thinking, Wait a minute! Where did time go? Why don’t I have a big house? Why am I not married? Why don’t I have kids?”
This midlife panic is something many people — women and men alike — experience. In fact, Diamond says 75 percent to 85 percent of her clients tell her that the way their lives look is definitely not how they expected them to look.
Though there is some comfort in knowing that we are not alone, after that realization comes important work: Embrace your life just as it is and consider what’s next. You are the architect of the next chapter.
“I think now is a good time to reflect and ask ourselves, What is it that I want for the second half of my life? What can I do to make my life the best that it can be?”
We couldn’t agree more.
To learn more about Julie Diamond, go to juliediamondfitness.com.