By MELINDA PEIRCE/Montana State News

If was a chance phone call that took Sheila Golie from her bank teller’s job to part-time gym “manager” at Total Fitness in Livingston.

Sheila Golie stands outside the Livingston fitness center where she works part time.

Sheila Golie stands outside the Livingston fitness center where she works part time.

Carol Stern, the owner and her boss, openly claims Golie runs the place. Golie firmly disagrees with this notion, because although there are many tasks she helps Stern with, there are many more she chooses not to do under a manager’s title.

So how did Golie go from a bank teller to being told she runs a local gym?  Some may say fate, but she might say it was from believing in the scripture.

One day while she was working the drive up window, a phone on the nearby desk rang.  Golie was the only one there, and since she did not have customers at the drive up teller window she decided to answer it.

It was Stern from the Total Fitness gym.  She had an account at the bank and over time, had become acquainted with Golie. Being the outgoing friendly conversationalist that she was, Golie sparked a conversation with Stern asking how she was doing since she hadn’t seen her for a while.

Stern replied that she was in a quandary.  Her morning shift person at the gym was leaving and finding a replacement wasn’t an easy task.  Suddenly, Golie got a surge of excitement and quietly, almost giggling with a huge smile told Stern she might be looking for a job. Stern perked up and said, “Get to my office tonight to fill out an application.”

That’s all it took for Golie to find her way to the gym, but some might say the gym found her.

Although her parents didn’t really have any weight issues, she and her two sisters did.  Weight for them ranged from 300 to 400 plus pounds. What made Golie’s weight loss different and permanent was that fact that she had active friends who liked to walk or ride bikes and were always participating in outdoor activities. On top of this, she spent numerous hours working out in secret in the basement of her home.

Golie is originally from Arkansas where she was married and raised two children. After the marriage ended in divorce, she met a native Montana man online. She decided to come out to Montana and see if her guy was who he claimed to be. She lucked out and found her best friend as well as her husband. They married and she has now lived in the area for 10 years, with seven of those working at Total Fitness.

Was she nervous when she started her new job?’

“I was nervous and I didn’t have any background in fitness or health, except with my own issues as a child and young adult.”

One of the memories that stands out with Golie was her first week of work and she had no idea what to wear.  So, she wore regular sweats and a hooded sweatshirt. It was nothing fancy or even close to the gym-like apparel you would expect to see a fitness employee wear. In fact, one of the male gym members casually commented to Stern that the new girl seemed kind of “fluffy” because she wouldn’t take off her sweatshirt. So, Golie decided to upgrade her work wardrobe a little without revealing that she is 51 years old.

“Your imagination is probably nicer than my reality,” she said, “and we can leave it at that.”

Once Golie was trained in her job, she continued to get certifications to help her clients more. She holds a certification in group training, personal training, level 2 Yoga training and continues to take classes to improve her own knowledge so she can help her clients improve theirs. Golie said, “I can’t ask my clients to do what I can’t, so I have to stay on top of my own training and workouts daily, and boy…some days I am huffing and puffing at the backdoor after a hard workout hoping no one sees me.” It has to be done, though, she claimed, and she does love it.

Janie and Barbara started at the Total Fitness Gym back in January. They both commented on how sincere, nice and outgoing Golie was and how her encouragement helps them to keep coming back. Jenny, a gym client around four to five years, claimed Golie was an angel in disguise and just really likes people and honestly wants to help them.  Stern calls Golie a sunbeam and a valuable asset to her business.

Golie does take time off once in a while, but Stern claims it’s difficult because she has to put up with, as Stern quotes with a laugh, “whinny” gym clients until Golie returns.

– Edited by Kevin Knapek

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