top of page
Search

Building Her Legacy - Britt Holterman’s Story

Herathlete Spotlight: a storytelling series dedicated to sharing the stories and unique experiences of athletes and sports professionals within the Herathlete community and beyond. 


From a young age, Britt Holterman has always found joy in designing and building things, so it was no surprise when she chose to initially pursue a career in engineering. What the 38-year-old Wisconsin native never anticipated is that she would find the greatest joy in building something entirely different: her legacy.


An Early Beginning in Sports

Sports have been a part of Britt’s life since she was 3 years old, when she started playing soccer on her older brother’s team, followed by basketball a few years later. She continued playing both sports (plus volleyball and tennis, “to fill in the gaps'') all the way through high school, racking up titles and accolades along the way, including a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at the University of Dayton. 


After graduating from Dayton in 2008, Britt assistant coached the women’s basketball team at Niagara University for 2 years before making the jump from sports to a career in civil engineering. But, that didn’t mark the end of Britt’s athletic tenure; in fact, the best was still yet to come.


Time for a Change

Shortly after beginning her career in land development, Britt began to feel the pressures of being a female in the notoriously male-dominated field of construction.

 

“I spent my days sitting in an office full of middle-aged to older men who engaged in ‘locker-room talk.’ I’d walk onto a construction site and everyone would roll their eyes,” Britt explained. 


“Being a gay woman in that environment…they called me names, they had their ‘gentlemen’s club,’ they were always leaving me out of things..and that ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back.” After four years in the field, including the completion of a master’s degree in water resources engineering, Britt decided it was time to end that chapter of her career and pursue a new passion: opening her own gym. 


Building Legacy

During her last few months in the engineering sector, Britt had already begun exploring the idea of breaking into the fitness industry through a part-time job coaching at a local gym. It was there that she realized that she “didn’t want to just work at a gym, [she] wanted to own the gym and recreate the team atmosphere” of her time in college sports. After just 3 months of planning and 17 days of minor construction, she opened Legacy Gym in Wauwatosa, WI on January 18, 2016.


“In those early days, it was good that I believed in myself - there were a lot of times when there was only 1 person in class, if anyone at all,” said Britt. “I did it all: figuring out scheduling software, programming workouts, cleaning, marketing, developing our website, and sponsoring events.” 


But Wauwatosa (Tosa, for short) turned out to be the perfect place for the young entrepreneur to get her start: word spread quickly through the densely populated, tight-knit community about the new locally owned gym. It wasn’t long until Britt found herself knocking down walls to make more space, before eventually moving across the street in 2019 to where the gym’s Tosa location currently resides.


Overcoming Obstacles

In the midst of her new endeavor as gym owner, Britt also found a new competitive challenge that truly put her athleticism to the test.


“One night, I got home late from the gym and Jamie [Britt’s wife] was watching American Ninja Warrior on TV. She looked at me and said ‘you should do this, I think you would be great at it.’ So we Googled Ninja gyms in the area and we found one in Menomonee Falls. I tried some obstacles, and I did pretty well,” Britt recalled. 


After a year of training and dominating the local ninja circuit, Britt was finally ready to make the leap towards competing on the show. While her first audition submission did not earn her a callback, it did give her the opportunity to make valuable connections with the show’s producers and other competitors. It was their advice that helped her knock her next audition video out of the park, and she proceeded to compete on the show for 3 consecutive years: 2019, 2020, and 2021. 


“Unfortunately, those 3 years of competing and excitement turned into 3 years of disappointment. I ended up in the pool, every time, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything,” said Britt. 



Raising the Next Generation of Athletes

Britt’s time at Legacy is already impressive as it is: she’s expanded the gym to two locations, increased both the staff and membership tenfold, and created a unique offering of fitness classes and ninja training for Milwaukee-area residents. But she isn’t done yet.


Now that she is raising three little ones of her own, Britt’s turning her focus to offering more for the next generation of athletes, including sport performance for youth athletes in particular. 


“When parents bring their kids [to Legacy] and they see their parents working out, they think ‘this is normal to see women working out, to see our parents active in the gym.’ It is such a cool experience, and it’s even cooler now that I’m a parent to see [the kids] try to mimic what the adults do,” said Britt. “My kids do it a lot for sure; I kind of want to cry but they’ll say ‘I want to be just like you, Mom!’ and they do squats, lunges, and they run up the Warped Wall,” she laughed.


“Completely at Home”

Of all the things that Britt has built during her life so far, one that ranks pretty high on her list is a community where people of all kinds feel “completely at home” and empowered to achieve their goals.


“At Legacy, if your goals are getting better at performance or just moving 45 minutes a day, you can do that here. Both of those types of people feel at home here, nobody is judging,” she explains.


And as for being a female in the fitness industry, Britt says she no longer feels the same insecurity or inadequacy she experienced while working in engineering.


“I’m not sure if it’s a Legacy thing or a Tosa thing, but I don’t feel insecure or inadequate or like I’m out of place for ‘having big muscles’ as a woman. Sometimes that inferior feeling of being a woman bleeds over into other things, but ultimately I feel like the world is changing, which is great, especially as I see my daughter growing up.”


Anyone who has the pleasure of talking with Britt about Legacy won’t take long to realize that she’s doing exactly what she was meant to all along.


“I feel like I would be a lot richer if I still did engineering but there’s not a day that goes by that I would want to go back to it because I’m so happy here - you have to figure out what you’re passionate about and do it.”


Fun Facts About Britt:

  • Female role model: Diana Taurasi

  • Favorite sport:  basketball

  • Favorite basketball team: Dayton Flyers

  • Favorite activity to do with her kids: go to the gym or playground

  • How she’s currently getting her competitive fix: training for Spartan Deka

  • Characteristic about herself she’s most proud of: hard work & humility

  • Advice she’d give to others in the fitness industry: “If you’re a male who wants to coach women, it should be your responsibility to do some research on your own instead of relying on a female athlete to educate you on how to be coached.”


 

Written by Kaycee Glattke


Kaycee is a dual-discipline engineer with a passion for sport science and educating athletes. She earned her BS in mechanical engineering with a minor in biomechanics from the University of Florida and her MS & PhD in biomedical engineering from Arizona State University. She has experience working with athletes of all ages and levels in both a clinical and research setting from her pre- and post-doctoral training in Sports Medicine at Mayo Clinic Arizona.

She is currently the Chief Research and Development Officer of Visven, LLC, an Arizona-based start-up that lays claim to the most accurate markerless single-camera motion analysis system for injury prevention, rehabilitation, and sport performance. When she's not trying to develop the next big thing in biomechanics, you can usually find Kaycee lifting, climbing, baking, or hanging out with her dog, Gibson. 




99 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page