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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Break A Sweat with Natali Medlen: Built4This Personal Training

Apr 30, 2023 02:00PM ● By Suzie Agrillo
Built4This is a focused workout fitness studio, integrating expert exercise techniques and nutrition advice for clients. Founded by Tucson native Natali Medlen, an award-winning body builder, her mission is to help others feel stronger and more confident.
Whether you are looking to elevate your overall fitness, lose weight, drop body fat or build muscles, the trainers at Built4This can create a program to help you reach your personal goals. Medlen says, “Making changes to improve your health is always an excellent choice. More than just aesthetics, it’s about feeling mentally and physically assured.”
Medlen is friendly, motivational and passionate about her clients. She challenges and encourages them to work hard to achieve the apex of their potential.
Q & A With Natali Medlen

Why did you become a personal trainer?
In 2011, I did my first bikini competition, and 2012, my second. After winning both, my coach at the time suggested I get into personal training. After my first competition, I simply fell in love with the process, so getting certified was a no-brainer for me. Once I got certified I quit my job as a full-time medical assistant.

What was the inspiration for Built4This Personal Training?
Throughout the years my family has been incredibly supportive since I started competing and training clients. Once I decided to branch out and create my own brand, I asked my whole family (I have lots of extended family). We brainstormed ideas for the name and came up with Built4This because everyone can do this and that has essentially always been my motto.

What does being healthy mean to you?
Living life and feeling good about myself, what I eat, how I feel both physically and mentally. Knowing that if I continue on this path, I will have an overall better quality until the day I die.

How would you describe a successful training session?
When my clients feel happy and accomplished no matter what kind of mood they came in with. This could mean they learned something new in our workout, went heavier than their prior session or we talked through challenges which they felt them held back.

How do you keep clients motivated and engaged?
We all have different things in life that motivate us. Therefore, I want to know why my clients are doing this, why they came to train with me and what motivates them. It’s inevitable I get to know them on a deeper level and there are times I have to remind them of their “why”.

What differentiates you from other fitness trainers?
Let’s face it, there are tons of trainers out there just like there are real estate agents. I’d like to think my personality and experience is what sets me apart from others. However, I do have a unique niche which is extreme transformations. I’ve been blessed to help others lose up to 90 pounds in a year and watch them completely blossom. Or take your average mom and help her gain an even sexier body than before she had kids.

What is it like being a competitive body builder?
Amazing! Because I have seen anywhere from teens to people who are in their old age with incredible bodies at these shows. For anyone to be able to put yourself through a strict regimen, you must be super disciplined. Which most are not willing to do because the training is hard, nutrition has to be on point and it takes time to build an incredible physique. Knowing that I gave it my all regardless of whatever challenges I faced during that competition makes me feel on top of the world.

What do you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in a typical day?
This is a hard answer because I eat a variety of things, but hopefully this will help give you an idea. For breakfast, oatmeal is my number one favorite because there are so many ways you can switch it up. I’ll add a veggie egg scramble with turkey bacon for a complete meal. Lunch is a bowl with brown rice, black beans, lean ground turkey, lots of veggies, avocado, salsa and lettuce. One of my favorite snacks is Greek yogurt with blueberries and sliced almonds. Since I love sugar, I’ll sometimes add a drizzle of honey or stevia. Dinner can be smoked meat with a veggie and yams.

Do you take any supplements?
Yes, I do. Biotin, fish oil, vitamin D, multivitamin, glucosamine and amino acids.

What are your thoughts about a vegan lifestyle? About the keto diet?
I’m all for a vegan lifestyle and keep saying I want to try it, especially during one of my competitions. As long as you’re getting enough proteins, carbs, fats and fiber you need for the day, then you’re good. Besides, protein is not only found in meats but other sources of plants. As for keto, I personally am not a big fan of it; however, I think it’s important to remember nutrition can be a tricky thing. We all respond differently to certain foods, which could be allergies or other factors like an autoimmune disease. So before deciding on which type of diet is good for you, it’s important to take into account your health factors (if any) and do the proper research or hire someone that can help you.

What does a week of your workouts look like?
It really depends, but as of right now I am doing legs three times a week, upper body twice a week and I’ll throw in some cardio. Since I hate cardio, I like to switch it up with the stationary bike, walking, sprints, chasing my kids around or going to the trampoline parks with them.

Is age a barrier to the pursuit of a fit body?
Absolutely not. I’ve gotten to meet so many incredible people throughout the years whom you would never know their real age. If they can do it, I can, and guess what—you can too. Ernestine Shepherd is 86 years old and I first learned about her in one of my fitness courses back in 2015. She’s one of the many people I have admired throughout the years and she is such an inspiration.

What are your personal physical/mental goals?
I love to learn about personal development and fitness, which is why I am always reading a few books at a time, listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Now that my kids are getting older, one of my personal goals is to finish my bachelor’s degree. A physical goal would be to compete in something totally different such as Brazilian jiu jitsu.

How do you juggle your family life as a wife, mother and businesswoman?
I am not going to lie, it’s incredibly hard because my true nature is to be all over the place all at once. What I have learned to do is stop multitasking and focus on one thing at a time. Another thing I do is go through my schedule weekly and block off time that is non-negotiable for my family and self. From there, I plug in my client schedule, tasks, workouts, kids’ sports and whatever else. Since doing this, I have become much more productive with my family and business. Not to mention it helps me feel less stressed and overwhelmed throughout the week.

Who inspires you?
People who overcome their circumstances which they had no control over or overcame something incredibly traumatic. I love what I do and have met some amazing people throughout the years. Listening to their stories and seeing what they have accomplished constantly inspires me, because they are out there doing good. But if I had to name someone it would have to be my oldest brother Chris, my mom and my papa. Who they are, what they do and how they continue to have faith and such a love for God is inspiring.

What is your favorite quote?
“You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose to overcome them.” I have lived by this quote since I saw it in high school during one of my science classes. Clearly I wasn’t paying attention to the board, but what was above the board.

Describe your everyday “uniform”.
Spandex, spandex and more spandex! That’s right—my uniform on the daily is workout gear.

What is your take on dessert?
I love it, but let me be clear: it must be made from scratch or from one of Tucson’s best bakeries like the Village Bakehouse. Quite honestly that’s the true reason I work out so much.

If you knew it was your last meal, what would you eat?

Built4This is located at 615 W Roller Coaster Rd, Ste 135, in Tucson. Connect at 520-328-8997, [email protected] or

Suzie Agrillo is a freelance writer in Tucson and a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Magazine. She focuses on the arts, inspirational people and the human connection.

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