When QALO’s production team sat down with Julie Foucher to talk about her busy life and the upcoming CrossFit Games, we had no idea how the story would end. Watch the video below to get an exclusive look into Foucher’s life as a med student, fiancee and elite CrossFitter, and hear her talk about her expectations for the Games in her own words — before the story changed!
The QALO team spent more time with Julie than they caught on video. Read below for more from Julie about her multi-faceted life.
QALO: Talk to us about how much studying you have to do for med school. What kind of discipline does that take?
Foucher: So med school is definitely different than I thought it would be. And the program that I’m at is really unique, too. We don’t have any exams, any grades — it’s all very self-driven and self-defined. We still have to take board exams, but for the most part, day-to-day, you have to decide what’s most important for you to study and where you’re going to spend your time.
That was a big transition for me, coming from college where you have a syllabus and exams and specific things to study for. It really mimics real life. In real life, you don’t have a syllabus and you have to figure out where you want to spend your time. So it’s been a good transition for me, and it’s allowed me to really streamline my time on school and also be able to spend time doing things like CrossFit.
QALO: So why did you get into health care?
Foucher: Well, I always loved the way the body worked. So when I took biology in high school, I was just fascinated by how everything worked — even down to the cellular level. I really liked math and science, so in college, I studied biomedical engineering because it seemed like a good blend of those two.
But in the back of my mind, I always knew I’d go into medicine because I liked interacting with normal, everyday people. That connection you have between a doctor and a patient is unique, and I really like that. So I studied engineering through college, realized I didn’t want to be an engineer, and I ended up applying to med school, which has been a great decision.
QALO: So is it exciting? Has the journey been fun so far?
Foucher: Yes! I’m really excited! So much fun! And even so far, starting in our first year, we got to spend half a day in the clinic with primary care patients every week, and that has been the most rewarding thing for me — to already start to develop those skills and see how what you’re learning is actually going to impact people.
QALO: What’s it like to also have your fiance, Dani, involved in medicine, as well?
Foucher: It’s awesome! He’s gone through everything a year or two ahead of me, so I have an idea of what to expect. He also understands exactly what I’m going through and can help me if I’m struggling and help me know how to prepare and be more efficient about what I’m doing.
QALO: Does he edit your papers?
Foucher [laughing]: I mean we both proofread each other’s stuff, for sure. It always helps to have someone else read it!
QALO: So what are some challenges for you right now, trying to balance everything with your relationship, with school and with being an athlete?
Foucher: Right now, it’s definitely challenging. It’s nice that school isn’t so demanding at this point because we’re in the middle of the CrossFit season and I can dedicate more of my time to training. But it becomes very difficult because now, at this point in time, to be able to be at that top level of CrossFit, you really have to dedicate a lot of time. And if I put that as my priority, a lot of other things take the back burner that I don’t necessarily want to. So there’s a lot of little projects at school that I haven’t been able to give as much time as I want to.
Also, the fact that Dani and I are trying to plan a wedding and we just moved into a new house — a lot of those things aren’t as well-done as we would like. So moving and organizing things in our house isn’t happening right now. But that’s OK because we know we have other priorities and we know it’ll get done eventually.
QALO: How has Dani been there to support you in this?
Foucher: Oh yeah. Dani’s been amazing. I couldn’t have gotten through the past four — I mean six years, since I’ve known him — without him. And him having gone through med school and knowing what I’m going through and understanding what it takes to train for CrossFit — because he does CrossFit, trains with me, and has done all the training and been on a team before — he knows how hard it is.
So to have him there to support me and to be able to tell me even when I’m struggling, “It’s going to be worth it,” or to just refocus me on why I’m doing this or what my goal is — it’s hugely important. There’s no one else I can rely on like that to be there for me all the time.
QALO: How do you balance all the busyness and make time to study, train and be disciplined?
Foucher: I try to be really disciplined about the way I schedule things. So I’ll always figure out, right now, my training schedule first: when my training partner is available, when I can fit that in, how much time that’s going to take. From there, I just prioritize: “This block of time I’m going to work on this project,” or if I have a meeting at school. Every week, I make my schedule really detailed so I know exactly what I’m doing every day and make the most efficient use of my time.
QALO: What does it feel like to have made the choice that this is going to be the last year for you to compete in CrossFit?
Foucher: So this is going to be my last year competing in CrossFit because I need to go on and finish med school. And it’s just — the demand it takes to train and compete in the CrossFit Games — it’s just not feasible to do that and to do well in the last years of school, and to be able to learn everything I want to learn that’s going to carry me for the rest of my career.
It’s a weird feeling. It feels like I don’t have a choice — the choice is made up for me because I’m not going to drop out of school. But I know it’s going to be really hard after this season is over. Right now, I’m enjoying this season and trying to make the most of it. I realize it is my last season, so I am enjoying it a little more. But I think I’ll be really sad, definitely, after this season is over.
Since Julie Foucher’s story is still being written, be sure to follow @QALOring to keep an eye out for Part 2 in the coming weeks.