Jill Strand, UpLift owner, is a lifelong exerciser, certified as a personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She is 49 and a mother.

She grew up playing sports, leading her high school softball team to the state tournament her junior and senior years as a top starting pitcher. Jill has a straightforward, honest, motivating personality as a trainer. She believes women can do more than they think they can, and has a long list of members who have discovered their strength through her urgings. On the floor, she has earned the nickname “Jillian,” after the enthusiastic trainer, Jillian Michaels, from the Biggest Loser.

Who or what inspires you?

Women leaders who make a difference and are willing to do things others have not. Women like Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, and Condoleezza Rice. They go after something they believe in and make it happen, even if it’s a hard road.

Favorite songs to work out to?

I’m a country girl at heart, so anything country. I love Willie Nelson. And, by the way, when I saw him in concert, I actually got a hug and kiss – on the lips, no less!! That might gross some people out, but I was, and still am, way excited about that kiss. (I also love country music concerts and festivals.)

What do you do for exercise outside of the gym?

I’m really a gym rat; I love lifting, running on the treadmill, and group fitness classes. My husband, Mark, is an avid hunter and fisherman, so I like to go out with him pheasant and turkey hunting, which is extremely tough exercise (at least the way he does it). Casting and reeling in musky lures is good exercise, too…

What is the best advice you can give someone who wants to get healthier and fit?

You have to be serious about it, plan it out, and make it happen. Don’t just keep talking about eating better and exercising, do it. Plan out your days of exercise and meals. Have fun with it, learn it. Our bodies are so much more capable than we think they are. Push yourself to greatness.