Julia's Story

Julia Hage, M.P.H. in Public Health (2016)
Group X Instructor (2016)

Julia Hage, graduate student and Group Exercise instructor, discovered her love for fitness through her collegiate involvement in Group X. “Group X pushed me to be even more passionate about fitness,” Julia Hage said. 

“I was in love with Zumba from the moment I started dancing!” A Sylvania, OH native, Hage began her undergraduate degree in biology at Bowling Green State University in 2011. During her freshman and sophomore years, she participated in Group X classes at the Student Recreation Center. Hage describes Group X as “a variety of exercise classes catered to everyone no matter their age, weight, or physical capabilities. There is something available for everyone to fit all of their fitness goals. When asked about which classes she enjoyed the most, Hage remarked without hesitation, “I was in love with Zumba from the moment I started dancing!” Not only did Hage develop friendships by participating in Group X classes, but her physical fitness level improved as well.

Throughout her junior and senior years, Hage began focusing more on strength training because of her busy schedule and the difficulty of her classes. However, she started to gain weight and was unhappy with her results. After graduating in 2015, Hage decided without hesitation to continue her college career at BGSU and enrolled in the Master of Public Health degree program. At this time, she was still struggling to lose weight. Recalling her frustrations, Hage explained, “I kept thinking to myself what am I doing wrong?”

“When I was trying to push myself, I was hitting these ceilings and felt like something was holding me back. Then my whole thought process of fitness changed, and Group X became the heart of it." By January 2016, Hage decided she was ready to make a lifestyle change and began participating in Group X classes again. Her hard work paid off, and by the end of the semester she had lost 30 pounds through diet and exercise. Reflecting on her experiences in Group X classes, Hage commented, “When I was trying to push myself, I was hitting these ceilings and felt like something was holding me back. Then my whole thought process of fitness changed, and Group X became the heart of it. Every workout was different. I didn’t have to think about what workout I was doing. I could just go and be facilitated in a great workout that’s pushing me.”

Inspired by her experiences as a Group X participant, and prompted by fitness graduate assistant Kali Morgenstern, Hage took her fitness to the next level by earning her certification as a Zumba instructor and becoming trained as a Barre instructor. Becoming a Group X instructor was something she had thought about since she was a freshman, and she saw it as a way to positively impact other BGSU students. Hage reflected, “Group X made such an impact on me, and it gave me the idea of inspiring others to push themselves. It can be really hard to do it by yourself with life and school and other things happening; you sometimes need that support for your physical activities.” She also explained how contagious the energy is in Group X classes. “Just seeing how happy everyone is, it makes me more energized and then the participants get more energized. It’s really cool.”

Hage firmly believes that her experiences as a Group X instructor will help her in the field of Public Health, specifically with communication skills. “There are different ways to approach everything. I’ve learned that what I may think is direct instruction may not be to someone else,” Hage said. Her experiences teaching Group X classes have allowed her to understand the various ways people learn, and Hage uses a student-centered approach in her classes by providing instructions in different ways to make sure everyone understands. She explained that this skill is especially helpful when she is teaching different exercise techniques in Barre.

“Seeing where I am, how I can push myself, it’s exciting, and you build relationships through fitness. It’s just so fantastic!” In her free time, Hage loves to go to the gym as a way to relieve stress and stay in shape. Hage commented, “I make time for the gym. It’s a really, really good stress relief for me. When I’m tired and I need something to pick me up, that’s what gives me the energy; especially working out with other people and watching them get excited about it.” When she’s not working out or spending time with family and friends, Hage likes to spend time pursuing outdoor activities like kayaking, riding her bike, and taking her dog on walks. A former Falcon Marching Band member, she also finds it relaxing to play the flute and piccolo.

As her time at BGSU comes to a close, Hage reflects on her time at the University and her involvement with Group X. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here at BG. Group X has been awesome for me and a big learning experience throughout all of my years of college,” Hage explained. “Seeing where I am, how I can push myself, it’s exciting, and you build relationships through fitness. It’s just so fantastic!”

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