Natalie Knutson—Founder of Phatty Nattie's
As the previous owner and founder of Phatty Nattie's, my ultimate goal in life is to inspire individuals to be their best and to promote a healthy lifestyle of exercise, nutrition and a calm mind. My journey began when I had a moment in college that pushed me into the fitness industry and led me to my passion. During my sophomore year in college I went through a phase when I didn't realize how important my life, health and well-being were and I gained nearly 20 pounds in a 6-month period. A combination of stress and homesickness...I ate my worries away, and exercise was no longer part of my routine. During a pickup game of basketball, I ended up tearing my ACL for the second time. During my recovery I was determined to get back on track. I ended up losing about 30 pounds and was amazed at how my body transformed, but more important, how much better I felt about myself. I ended up graduating from UND with a degree in physical education and exercise science with a minor in health education. I am a certified personal trainer and certified special population specialist through NSCA, I am group fitness-certified, with specialties in Kettlebells, Drums Alive, Spinning and CrossFit. I have been teaching group fitness and personal training since 2007 and have been employed at Lake Region Healthcare since 2008.
Dave Jensen is an enthusiastic supporter of cycling in all its forms. While he got his start as collegiate runner, Dave turned his attention to cycling when he discovered the triathlon in 2005. Numerous wins on the road gave him the confidence he needed to try his luck off-road in 2007. After qualifying for the Xterra National Championship Race that year, Dave spent the following year living, working and cycling in San Diego, California. Deeply immersed in the fitness-crazed subculture of southern California, he continued to cultivate his love for cycling and group fitness. Upon returning to Minnesota the following year, Dave broadened his cycling base even further competing in the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series. He was named the top sport-class rider in Minnesota in 2011. After a disappointing 2012 season plagued by flat tires and mechanical failures, Dave found solace in the safe and predictable nature of indoor cycling. He received his spin training certification through Mad Dogg Athletics that same year, and he currently teaches group spin classes through Phatty Nattie's in Fergus Falls. Dave prides himself in his ability to help aspiring cyclists and individuals of all levels reach their fitness goals. Dave reached his own fitness goal in 2013, when we managed to cycle across America in 19 days to establish the Dream Big Scholarship, which benefits students of Minnesota State Fergus Falls. Dave went on to create a video documentary of his journey, which can be viewed on his blog, dreambigtour.net.
Hallie Metcalf—Certified Group Fitness Instructor
My name is Hallie Metcalf and I am a group fitness instructor at Phatty Nattie's Group Fitness. Phatty Nattie's has done great things for me. I used to suffer from migraines, lack of energy and depression. My life revolved around my 4 children and I took little time for myself. My headaches were becoming a daily thing, and they were getting the best of me. I decided I needed to make some changes in my life to be at my best. In the spring of 2010, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and signed up for classes at Phatty Nattie's. Phatty Nattie's became a part of my day-to-day activities. I soon discovered I had more energy when I took time for myself and attended classes. My headaches decreased, and I'm happy to say my migraines are few and far between. I started feeling better about myself and I was happier. Along with my exercising, our family started eating healthier. It's so fun to see my children pick the healthy choice. Nutrition, health and exercise have become a new passion for me and I love it. I decided I wanted to help others who were struggling like I was. For me, it wasn't all about losing weight but finding a balance in my life, so I could be more productive and a better-functioning person. In the fall of 2011, I decided to pursue my group fitness instructor certificate, teach at Phatty Nattie's and continue pursuing a better lifestyle for my family and myself. In addition, I have completed Kettlebell certification. Along with raising my family with my husband, I work full-time at Otter Tail County as a Sr. Probation Officer.
Jessica Fosberg—Certified Group Fitness Instructor
My name is Jessica Fosberg, and I am a group fitness instructor at Phatty Natties. My journey with Phatty Natties started in 2009. Taking a Pilates class soon turned into adding Pump-up, and then a Cardio class-I was working out at the studio 5 days a week, and I loved it. I loved the way I felt and the physical condition of my body. In 2010, I earned my group fitness certificate. Fast-forward 3 years and there I was pregnant with twins! I really wondered how my exercise routine would need to change as my pregnancy progressed. With close consultation with my doctor, I was able to continue exercising and teaching until I hit the 35 week mark! At 37 weeks, we were blessed with Megan and Lucas! Two perfectly healthy and happy babies! I felt fantastic and looked great my entire pregnancy. I can honestly say I had never felt better. I attribute an easy pregnancy and a very easy recovery to the time I spent at Phatty Natties, before and during my pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to get back to the studio after Megan and Lucas made their arrival-not only for the physical benefits but also for the emotional benefits of getting good, consistent workouts in. My drive to teach and continue a healthy lifestyle has much more meaning now. Two very busy toddlers keep me on the go constantly! My continued workouts ensure I have the energy to keep up with Megan and Lucas. I also get to teach my kids what a healthy lifestyle is. It’s a great feeling when your toddlers get down on the ground with you for a plank session in the living room! Instilling a healthy lifestyle early will lead to a very healthy lifetime! In addition to my time at the studio, you can find me in the Otter Tail County Land and Resource Management office where I work full time. Outside of that, you can find me and my husband chasing after our twins, keeping them as active as we can, or maybe they are keeping us as active as they can!
My name is Karoline Gustafson. I am one of the instructors at Phatty Nattie's Group Fitness. I grew up in Fergus Falls and was a 3-sport athlete. I played collegiate soccer at South Dakota State while earning a degree in health promotions (exercise science). I am a certified personal trainer and certified special population specialist through NSCA along with group fitness certifications in Spinning, Kettlebells and CrossFit. Following my playing career, I had to find a way to motivate myself to keep in shape, not only for my health and well-being, but also to be able to perform well at my job as a trainer at the Health & Wellness HUB (Lake Region Healthcare). Participating in area races allows me to use my competitive edge and keeps me motivated! I have finished 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathon and half-marathon relays, triathlons, obstacle races, and completed my first full marathon in 2015! Throughout the training that I have done, I have really started to pay attention to my nutrition and how big a role it plays day-in and day-out. As a collegiate athlete, I used to eat whatever I wanted. Looking back, I wish I had known how better nutrition would have allowed me to perform better. As a trainer, I get to see the importance of health and nutrition across many demographics and the role it plays in a person's mental, physical, and emotional wellness. As a mom, I try to bring a similar sense of health and nutrition home. It is important to teach my family how delicious healthy eating is and how important staying active is.
During my high school years I was a three-sport athlete; following high school I attended Bethel University and pursued studies in Biokinetics. I have always been intrigued by how the body works, and interested in helping people become the healthiest possible version of themselves. Dealing with my own share of health concerns (as well as those of close family and friends) I know firsthand the challenges of not feeling your healthiest self and not being entirely sure how to get to a better place. This has fostered in me the desire to help others in an individualized way. I truly believe that when it comes to health there is no one size fits all; we are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another.
One thing I love about my current position is seeing and being a part of my clients’ progress every step along the way. I have always enjoyed activities in which I can see measurable progress: mowing the lawn, painting, shoveling snow, etc. Being able to move forward with my clients from wherever they start to find progress and reward along the way is one of the most fulfilling things about my job.
I believe in holistic health and healing of not just the physical but also mental and emotional being as well. So I strive to understand each client’s unique needs and situation in order to offer personalized care and guidance that will help them reach their goals and regain control of their health and well-being.
Maria Hanson—Certified Group Fitness Instructor
My name is Maria Hanson, and I am a group fitness instructor at Phatty Nattie's Group Fitness. For me, it was in the summer of 2009 that I decided I needed to make a significant change. I had just had my 3rd baby, and though I was trying desperately to be the best wife and mother I could be, I was exhausted and unhappy. I didn't recognize myself in the mirror anymore, and I cried whenever I got on the scale. A friend told me about Phatty Nattie's, and so I thought I would give it a try. My life hasn't been the same. Though I was embarrassed about my fitness level and weight, I kept coming 2 days each week and started to see the inches come off as well as get more energy and make new friends. The 2 days turned into 3, which turned into 5, and I was hooked. I wanted to be able to continue my journey as well as share this excitement and passion for wellness with others to make an impact, and so in the fall of 2010, I decided to obtain my group fitness instructor certificate and teach at Phatty Nattie's as well. While I thought a few years into my journey the greatest way to be able to help others would be modeling the 50+ pounds I lost and energy I gained.... the Lord had other plans for me. With escalating medical issues, including slipped disks and pinched nerves in my back, fibromyalgia, leaky gut and hormonal imbalances, some of the weight came back on. My medications wreaked havok on my body and I could not exercise with the duration and intensity I was able to before. No matter what I did with my knowledge of fitness and nutrition, my body had other plans. I continued my positive exercise and nutrition habits, knowing they were keeping me going as well as possible and having faith that answers and healing would be found. What I did not anticipate was how long of a road it would be, but also how absolutely vital it has been to have my Phatty Nattie's friends on my journey. The friendships formed in our no-judgement zone have been life giving. Every single one of us is on a journey, and no matter how we look on the outside or ways we struggle on the inside, we are all beautifully and wonderfully made. We all have stories and experiences that can help each other live out our best lives possible. I teach group exercise because I absolutely need it mentally, physically, spiritually and socially... and so do all the amazing people that choose to show up and make their lives more abundant as well, able to then go forward into each day with vitality, strength, clarity, confidence and peace.
Melissa Hexum—Certified Zumba Instructor
Through my life, I have had a devotion to fitness and enjoyed the excitement of new activities. In 2009, my pregnancy—I was expecting triplets—halted my exercise completely and I was put on complete bed rest. After delivery, it was literally baby steps that I would take on my walks to build my strength back. I missed the feeling you get after exercise, so I started running again and fitting in mini workouts. Then, in 2011, I found Zumba fitness. Dancing away calories to fun, lively music? Yes, please! The class gave me time for myself, free from work and household duties. It was a type of therapy because there is no time to think of the to-do list in class. I lost inches off my body, and that was the bonus. In November 2012, I became a licensed Zumba fitness instructor. I love to teach and gain motivation and energy from the class. As we say in class: "There is no wrong way to Zumba. We are here to have fun." My husband, John, and I are proud parents to 3 girls and I am an AVP, personal banker at American Federal Bank. Life is crazy. Make sure to get some time for yourself.
Michelle Hoen—Certified Zumba Instructor
I didn't realize how important fitness was in my life until I stumbled into Zumba. My journey began when I won a free pass to a Zumba class in Fargo, North Dakota and I have been hooked ever since! I would drive over an hour each way, through ice and snow storms to get my Zumba fix. At the time, our area had nothing to offer for Zumba classes, so I decided to get certified to teach Zumba and inspire as many people as I could and that was in March of 2011. I am so blessed to have found my passion! We have changed our name to Dance Fitness as we incorporate so much more into our classes! I also got certified to teach STRONG by Zumba in February of 2017. It is a revolutionary high-intensity workout led by music to motivate you to crush your ultimate fitness goals! We are enjoying finding new ways to have fun workouts and burn calories and you get a total-body workout at our dance parties! We encourage you to come try out our classes.
Renae Sell-Lindgren—Certified Group Fitness Instructor
My fitness journey began 25 years ago, when I started jogging to lose weight after gaining 15 pounds in the first 2 years of marriage. My high-stress job triggered emotional eating, and I found a better outlet for the stress through running. It was through running that I was able to cope with additional life challenges, which included adding 2 beautiful daughters to our family, 3 devastating miscarriages, career changes for both my husband and me, and moving to Fergus Falls. So in an effort to fight the isolation from the move, I signed up for my first group fitness class. Although I had led a basically active lifestyle, it wasn't until I started participating in group fitness classes that I found motivation to really challenge myself. The social aspect of group fitness has been extremely important to me, as I found like-minded individuals who were encouraging and supportive. It was due to this fitness support network that my confidence began to grow and I started entering local competitions, including 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons and even a triathlon. I eventually made the choice to get my group fitness certification and Kettlebell certification as a way to pay it forward and inspire others to meet their fitness goals. I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of the Phatty Nattie's community!
Wendy Billie—Master Yoga Teacher + Spirit & Life Coach
Guided by higher her knowing, Wendy kicked off of her expensive high-healed shoes and walked away from a 15 year vocational path as a Director of Leadership Development for a prestigiou global company. With bare feet and an exposed soul, she heeded the guidance of mother earth and returned to her indigenous self. The love of nature drew her to the Himalayan mountains of India where she studied Yoga & Ayurvedic medicine with a yoga philosopher and Swami and it was there her talents as a yoga teacher & holistic healer unfolded. Couple with yoga, her shamanic practice began when se was sought out by a shaman named Eddy. He stated Wendy knew "The Way." Humbled and once completely afraid; she now fully embraces her true voice as she speaks & teaches globally. As a master yoga teacher & Shamanic Practitioner, she helps you access the truth that lies within and all around. She helps people near and far connect deeply with their body, mind, & Soul as they embark on a healthy life of authenticity. Wendy is also the creater and voice behind the podcast: Speak Your Truth with Wendy Billie.
Wendy resides in Ottertail, and when not traveling, she loves sharing her gifts of teaching, leading spiritual wellness workshops and offer private healing & life coaching. Her students say"Wendy has a gift of reading each person's unique energy" and you'll soon find her light filled presence penetrating. When not on her mat, her gypsy soul roams near & far but you may cross her path frolicking in nature with her dog, Nina, drumming in her tipi, or burrowed in a coffee shop reading. You can find her full bio at www.wendybillie.com.