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Motivational Monday: Debra Johnson-Fountain

Holy cow, how fast the weekend flew! I took on a house project which turned into a larger ordeal than I had anticipated. Isn’t that how it always goes? My husband and I are putting the house on the market soon and are doing some last minute quick fixes. Turns out these fixes are anything but easy or fast.


Reminds me of the journey of fitness and living a healthy lifestyle: initially not easy and there is no such thing as a quick fix. That’s where today’s Motivational Monday guest comes in.

Meet the owner and founder of LIFER fitness studio, Debra Johnson-Fountain. As genuine as they come, Debra is a four-time mother, wife, and the definition of motivational. Any excuse you have (no money, time, etc.), Debra has been there and done that. She shows women that exercise is not about excuses but rather dedicating yourself and focusing on making health a lifestyle.

She makes her health a priority and encourages all clients that step into her studio. More than just a physical journey, she loves watching her clients undergo a mental transformation as well. LIFER has the mantra of “it’s what we do” and to any person who has met Debra or gone to her studio, you realize that exercise, fitness, and living a healthy life is just what she does. As simple as that. A LIFER is someone who “creates an infinite lifestyle of balancing a healthy mind, body, and soul.”

There are no quick fixes, it’s about a lifestyle. At LIFER they offer barre, spinning, yoga, and kickboxing classes that all help you to make exercise a part of your lifestyle. I had the privilege of trying out a cycling class which kicked my butt! Fueled by high energy music and encouraging words from Debra, I felt exhausted and refreshed at the end. If you live in the West Hartford area, you definitely need to visit.

Q. Tell me how you got into fitness. What drew you to this industry?

A. Well, it honestly started because I was a stay at home mom with two girls at the time. I wanted to stay at home, make money, and so I became a certified personal trainer. Before I knew it, the business I had created had nearly 60 clients! I began lifting weights for the fist time ever and I was hooked! I wanted other women to know the importance of muscle and no one was lifting heavy at the time. I did my first competition at 37 years old and came in fourth to women much younger without any kids. I was excited to help other women on their journey and show them through my experiences that it is about a lifestyle.

Q. What convinced you to open LIFER?

A. I had already managed my own personal training businesses, came here to Connecticut, and grew them. I love group fitness more than personal training. I just wanted to do what I love. I had an instructor mentality, a degree in management, so I just combined all my loves into one place.

Q. As a business owner, what is the KEY ingredient to your business’s success?

A. Love and passion for what you do. Not that I’m the most fit or youngest instructor, but my love for what I do is what draws people in. People trust me, and once I have earned their trust it makes it easier to motivate people.

Q. How do you manage to balance your work with your personal life?

A. I’m a lifer. Someone who make fitness a lifestyle. I always knew I could do both family and fitness. It also takes lots of support from the people in my life.

Q. What motivates you the most both inside and outside of the gym?

A. A responsibility to be genuine. I am who I say I am. It’s a responsibility to be who I truly am.

Q. What is the best advice you can give to those who are just getting into fitness?

A. Make a list of things you can do. If you look at the list of can’ts, it’s deflating and it could be rather long. Make an “I can” list and work from there. You will find that there will be a snowball effect. If you make one small change that will lead to developing a lifestyle around your CANS.

Q. What are you most passionate about?

A. I love to watch the transformation from physical to mental strength. That’s just the icing on the cake.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. Hmm… French fries. Truffle fries. But my best power breakfast is salmon, whole eggs, and spinach sautéed in garlic with avocado.

Q. What is your favorite exercise move?

A. Weight training, heavy lifting. Muscle is what got me into fitness in the first place! Of course, also cycle.

Q. What is your motivation music?

A. Rap. You’d be surprised at the kind of rap I listen to!


Debra, thank you for your time and I love your message of health as a lifestyle. Thank you for being the ultimate motivation!

Question of the Day:

  1. What are some of the CANS on your can/can’t do list?

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