WHEN Julie Dean took up the martial art Jiu-Jitsu around 10 years ago, it was to feel confident in defending herself in the pubs she ran.
Now the 47-year-old has become so proficient in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, she recently gained a bronze medal in her category in the North West Open Championships.
And Julie, who lives in South Shore, hopes to inspire others. She says she has completely changed her life – and her figure – over the last decade.
Julie, who now works as a fitness instructor at Reform Health Centre, on Milbourne Street, Blackpool, says she is a totally different person from the one she was – and hopes to show others it’s never too late to change things.
Julie said: “I used to run pubs, and one day someone said I had put weight on, which made me decide I needed to do something.
“I felt I should be doing something better, and just turned up at the college registration and told them I was interested in sport. I was 37, and I went back to college.
“I started off doing remedial and sports massage, then went back and did nutrition and advanced physiology and health and fitness.
“I did lots of courses, including a foundation degree – which for me was hard because I’m dyslexic – but I was determined. I got a job at Reform Health Club, and carried on with my own training.
“I’ve lost weight, I’ve toned up, I’ve gone down to a size 12. It’s really changed my life.
“I’m now so much more confident, I’m like a different person. I’m much happier, I feel so much better. My mother-in-law says since I stopped running pubs and working in fitness I look a lot younger.
“I would tell anyone to give it a go.”
Julie now attends Musubi Martial Arts in Blackpool, practising Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
A few weeks ago, she won a bronze model in the North West Open Championship, held in Preston – her first competition.
Julie enjoys the challenge of taking part in martial arts.
She said: “It’s good for boosting your confidence and self-esteem. And I also like the challenge of the competitions.”