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Coffee Break: Juliet Harker

15 minutes with the owner of Get in Shape for Women

Photo courtesy of Juliet Harker

As I wait outside of the Get in Shape for Women studio in Fairfield to meet the owner, Juliet Harker, I am expecting a Jillian Michaels-drill sergeant-esque woman to greet me. However, a minivan pulls up and a petite woman in jeans and a sweater steps out. Smiling, she welcomes me into her award-winning gym to have a look around. The studio, which focuses on building a community for women to work out in, is small, yet has everything a woman needs to get in shape in a fun, friendly atmosphere.

The Get in Shape for Women workout is simple: one personal trainer works with up to four women during one single hour long session that consists of 30 minutes of weight training, 25 minutes of cardio and nutrition instruction. They key to the success of the fitness routine is personal commitment and accountability, Juliet says. Working out in a small group of women makes members accountable for someone other than just themselves. 

As a resident of Westport for thirteen years, Juliet and her husband, Peter, own two studios in Fairfield County, Westport and Fairfield, and four in Massachusetts. Currently, they have 170 members in Fairfield and 130 in Westport. Along with owning multiple studios, she is the mother of three boys, a marathon runner, and a Breast Cancer survivor. She is currently training for the CT Challenge, a bike ride to empower cancer survivors.

Peter and Juliet Harker, co-owners of Get in Shape for Women in Fairfield and Westport

I sat down with Juliet to talk about her love of working out, her favorite tunes and even her secret passion for drawing.

What’s the best way for someone to motivate herself to get in shape?
Having a goal and working towards that goal. Make it positive by having achievable results and having support. You also can’t be too hard on yourself. You must have a willingness to change but also know that it’s not going to be easy.

If a woman wanted to be “bikini ready” for May, what would you tell her to do if she started in April?
Don’t waste time! Get excited about working out! Have a bathing suit you want to fit into and use it as motivation.

Do you have any tips for pushing yourself on tough days at the gym?
Just know that everybody has hard days, but you have to make yourself get there because nothing good is easy. Not going to the gym on a day you said you were going to would only be taking a step backwards.

What are some mistakes women make while trying to get in shape?
Women often make excuses or are in denial. They also have a misunderstanding about nutrition– about how many calories you should consume or the amount of protein you need. The biggest mistake is not having the commitment or not having faith in yourself. Don’t give up!

What inspires you?
A challenge. I love to push myself and work harder, especially when it comes to health and fitness. Bring it on!

What do you do to workout?
I love biking, indoor cycling, cardio, weight training and hot yoga.

Brian Cook, the franchisor of Get in Shape for Women, with Juliet Harker at the annual franchise meeting where she recieved an award for Top 10 franchise of 2012.

What’s your workout heaven?
Having a really thorough and challenging workout. A workout where I pushed myself more than I did last time. One where you are happy its over, but glad you did it.

So, what is your workout hell?
Well, I love working out so I don’t know! This is tough! I guess not working out when I wanted to would be the worst thing. Or not being as productive as I wanted to be while working out.

What’s on your workout playlist?
Bascically rock 'n' roll, like The Police, Phoenix, Coldplay and Rolling Stones.

Is there a certain thing that you never skip during your workout?
I always do some form of cardio and weight training.

What is your favorite restaurant in Fairfield County?
It’s hard to choose one! I like Martel in Fairfield, The Schoolhouse in Wilton and Bodega in Fairfield.

Do you have a favorite workout-clothing brand?
I love Lululemon because they fit petite frames and are made well. I also have these Asics sneakers with multicolor bottoms that I love.

Do you have any guilty food pleasures?
I practice what I preach so I eat very healthy, but I do love sweets!

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working or exercising?
I love to draw. I recently took a class at the Metropolitan Museum of Art once a week where we would draw the art on display. It was inspiring to learn the technique. I also find drawing to be very therapeutic.

Get in Shape for Women

85 Mill Plain Rd, Fairfield 06824
(203) 873-0723

170 Post Rd Westport 06880
(203) 293-4445

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