Photo by Mitchell Gilbert

Age: 36   Hometown: Helena, MT

Gigs: Infantry Major + Personal Trainer

Follow her: @shelleybfit

“The military has been a part of me since I was a kid,” says Infantry Major and Personal Trainer Michelle Bogden. “I joined US Naval Sea Cadets at age 12 and then Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (NJROTC) in high school. Upon graduation I went through College Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) to earn my commission. I was enlisted and drilled with the Montana National Guard for two years until I got my commission as a Medical Service Officer in 2009, where I continued my career as a leader in the Montana National Guard. I spent time in the MT Medical Command, 190th CSSB, Joint Forces Head Quarters, the 208th Regional Training Institute, where I taught Officer Candidate School and became the first female combatives instructor in the MT National Guard.” Even with this impressive laundry list of professional accomplishments, Michelle humbly credits much of her life’s successes back to the military: “My time in the military has taught me how to be a better leader and role model—not only for those I work with but also my two daughters. It has taught me to not ask those around you to do something you are not willing to do yourself and that there is no job or duty beneath your rank. If the soldiers you lead see you doing the worst duties alongside them it helps build a stronger trust and professional relationship.” Michelle has harnessed her years of military experience and service and leveraged that for another of her professional endeavors—online personal training.

“My time in the military has taught me how to be a better leader and role model.”

Having given her training business the space and grace to evolve naturally throughout the pandemic, Michelle has pivoted as needed and she—and her clients—have seen wild success as a result. She says, “Each year I build my training business a little more. This year I have focused on helping those wanting lifestyle or weight-loss coaching on how to change their mindset and outlook in order to help them create healthier habits.” Michelle’s emphasis with her programming? Realism. She says, “Specifically for busy moms, I have focused on helping them create meal plans that fit within their families’ likes and dislikes. This allows her to enjoy dinner with her family instead of eating something completely different than them every night. Family time is precious when you have it and should not be missed if possible.” Of her clientele, Michelle says it ranges across the spectrum of fitness and ability levels. “I am not one to say no to a client because they have a challenging condition. I look at it as a way for me to learn more and continue to help. As a coach and athlete, you never stop learning and the more you are exposed to and learn about the condition, it makes you more well-rounded. I love working with athletes of all ages and of course busy moms, because I can relate with them and usually build a good client-coach relationship with them. My personal mission is to help both men and women become the best version of themselves. When people say you can’t, that’s when you prove them wrong.”

Stephanie Kewin
Stephanie is a health and fitness writer and copy editor living in Cambridge, Ontario. Follow her on Instagram at @stephaniekewincopywriting.