Julia Novy-Hildesley, Foundation Director and Mother
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Julia Novy-Hildesley, Foundation Director and Mother

She's saving the world, raising a daughter, running a foundation -- and she still has time to work out. Meet Oregon's Julia Novy-Hildesley.

Julia Novy-Hildesley's time is precious. An executive director of the nonprofit Lemelson Foundation in Portland, Oregon, a board member of several professional organizations, and a dedicated mother to 2-year-old Eva (phew!), she might easily forgo a workout now and then. Instead, this lifelong jock finds a way to squeeze exercise into her life -- from midday pick-up basketball games at the gym to sun salutations in her hotel room. In fact, Julia's attitude about fitness is just as on target as her jump shot. She says, "I don't allow obstacles to get in my way of exercising."

Where it began: "Since I was really young, I was interested in sports. Once your identity becomes one of an athlete, it is hard to let that go. In high school I played basketball, soccer, and track. After college I joined a semiprofessional basketball league. Everyone on the team had day jobs so we practiced at night and played games on the weekends."

Sticking with it: "I still play a lot. During lunchtime I'll join a full-court game at the gym nearby whenever I'm not traveling. I'm always the only woman but it has brought me in touch with a lot of people I wouldn't normally meet. I find playing and competing in this way wonderful and satisfying; it's just a bonus that staying fit is the end result."

Every minute counts: "I have given up social lunches. During the workday I'm either working or exercising. I eat lunch at my desk."

Julia Novy-Hildesley
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With her husband, Will

Packing it in: "I never travel without my yoga mat. It's an old mat that has been worn so thin that it could fit into my briefcase. I also pack my swim cap, goggles, and running sneakers."

Help at home: "My husband does most of the cooking. After eating and putting my daughter to bed, I finish up any work leftover from the day."

Tried-and-true advice: "Find something that you want to do just for the pure joy of doing it. I'm not one of those people who create a regimen around being on a [cardio] machine. I value sleep a lot and think it's a key part of fitness and health. I try to get between 8 and 9 hours a night."

Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, June 2007.