8 min 1 sec

Dog Sled Trainer Becomes Women’s Fitness Coach

For two decades, she trained sled dogs in the woods of Minnesota—but after a personal transformation, she started a fitness and empowerment program for women ages 45-55.
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What It's About

A woman in her 50s finds her calling helping other women her age youthfully.

Business Model
Skills Required
Communication & Coaching
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Mary decided to put her focus on women in the 45-55 age group instead of on all women in general which felt scary at first. But it also made a great deal of sense since she could speak specifically to the needs and desires of these women being one of them.

Fun Fact

Mary is planning on competing in a Strong Woman competition for the very first time in February of this year at age 51. Go, Mary!

Notes from Chris

Episode 392

Mary Black and her husband, Mark, trained sled dogs for 22 years in Minnesota. They spent ten of those years living off the grid in the backcountry, 6 miles from the end of the nearest road.

They fed the dogs high special diets for peak performance, massaged them to ease their aches and pains, and loved them on good days and bad. But on one of those days, Mary and Mark looked at themselves and said, “We’re taking better care of the dogs than we are ourselves.” While racing the dogs gave Mary and Mark plenty of exercise, they didn’t eat well, and they constantly felt exhausted.

They wanted to make a big change, so Mary kicked her smoking habit and hit the gym instead. Since they were a team, Mark followed suit and they both got hooked on a new habit—getting healthy and their lives back on track.

They weren’t the only ones to notice the drastic physical and lifestyle transformations that they were making—friends, family, and even strangers at the gym started going up to them to ask them what they had been doing. Not only were they getting fitter, it seemed like they had found the fountain of youth and were reaping the rewards. They felt better than they had in decades, and that’s when they decided that aging gracefully is fine but aging youthfully is even better.

They decided to document their journey and share what they’ve learned with others, so they created a free Wordpress blog called “Aging Youthful.”

What she wanted to do more than anything else was to help women like her stop wishing for the youthful days behind them and instead start living a more youthful, vibrant life full of purpose and passion.

She decided to offer a 12-week coaching program that mirrored her own journey with three different elements: the mind, the body, and the soul. She began allocating an hour each weekday on her side hustle and anywhere from four to fifteen hours on the weekends.

That first program just ended, and following its success, she’s already planning on launching signups for her next one this month! When everything is said and done, this new coaching program brings in an additional $500 - $600 a month for Mary after the $200 startup costs for her website, domain registration, mailing list host, and PayPal fees.

The extra money has been great to help Mary out with her aspirations of joining her husband as a Strongman competitor, but more than anything, it’s helped her prove to herself and others that life doesn’t end at 50.


  • Aging Youthful: Learn more about Mary, her journey, and the coaching program that she's created on her website!
  • Wordpress: Mary used Wordpress to form her website for Aging Youthful, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes
  • MailChimp: The email marketing platform that Mary used to connect with those who signed up for her coaching sessions
  • Zoom: The video communications service that Mary used to communicate with her coaching clients

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"'Small hinges move big doors.' I’m learning to take small steps and believe they will turn into big results."
—Mary Black #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau