Marie Josee Doris Racine was born in Lachute, Quebec on December 2nd, 1962. She was the youngest of two children, to Alice and Jacques Racine. Josee has one brother, who is 3 years older, Michel Noel Racine. She lived in Brownsburg, Quebec for the first seven years of her life. Her father, Jacques, worked in management for CIL, and was transferred to Calgary, Alberta where they lived for 3 years. At the age of 10 they once again moved. This time, to Liberia, Africa, for another 3 year stay. At 13, they moved back to Calgary Alberta, for 3 more years. Finally at the age of 16, they moved to Parry Sound Ontario.
It is in Parry Sound at the sweet age of 16, when Josee met John Brunatti, and fell in love. In 1989, Josee and John were married at the St. Peters Catholic Church. In 1992 their first child was born, their son, Daniel John Brunatti. In 1995, their second child was born, their daughter, Taylor Marie Brunatti.
Fitness was always part of Josee’s life, considering she was raised with a father who was very athletic. Her father is a downhill ski instructor, so they skied every weekend. In her youth, Josee participated in the following: the Nancy Green racing team, a swim team, softball team, and figure skating. Josee started the Parry Sound aerobics club, and ran it for a few years until she was approached to teach at New Life Fitness, where the story unfolds.
Al Downing, owner of New Life Family Health and Fitness, approached Josee, asking her to teach aerobics classes at the gym. Once being exposed to the weight training, the love of the sport set in. She became a certified personal trainer, and Nutrition and Wellness specialist. Josee loved the feeling that came with weight training. This is when she asked Al to be come her personal trainer. Within 6 months, she was ready to compete in bodybuilding. The only problem was Al had to convince her to compete. Which was harder then the workouts them selves for him.
In June of 2000, off to Kirkland Lake they went. Four or five carloads of Parry Sounders went along to support her level 1 competition. There was a French girl from Sudbury, slated to win, who was experienced and had won there before. Boy, were they surprised when the girls took to the stage. Our little Parry Sounder, who was leg pressing over 1200 pounds, and weighed in at 118.5 pounds, ripped, walked away with the first place trophy and other prizes. Josee was hooked; the next competition was in Sudbury in three weeks. In those three weeks, she dieted down to 114 pounds to the lightweight class. At weigh in time, the competitors were complaining that the scales were weighing 1.5 pounds heavier. Josee weighed over by half a pound, which put her in the heavy weight class. When it came time for the girls to hit the stage, the posing went on forever. The judges kept calling Josee and another girl from Niagara Falls, who weighed over 150 pounds. They were called out 3 or 4 different times. The judges had a hard decision on who was going to win first or second. In the end, Josee won the second place trophy after a long hard battle.
Josee then started to train even harder for the Ontario’s, to take place the next coming year in Toronto. In June 2001, as Josee was dieting and cutting up for the provincials in July, she decided to compete in the Northern Ontario Miss Fitness Championships in Sudbury. They put a routine together and entered the competition. The people there thought she was competing in the bodybuilding competition because it was held there at the same time. It was unheard of, a bodybuilder competing in fitness. Well, Josee beat out a girl that came from Toronto who was experienced in fitness and thought it would be an easy win. Josee walked away with the first place trophy.
One month later, in July of 2001, she competed in Toronto at the Ontario natural bodybuilding championships. Josee competed in 2 classes: the middleweight class competition, and the Masters, 35 years and older. Josee won the first place trophy in the Master Women’s class, and an hour later she won 3rd place, in the middleweight class. She now qualified for the Canadians both in the Masters division, and in the Middleweight class held in Halifax the following year.
Training hard, six days a week, sometimes twice a day, with a strict diet, becoming a Canadian champion was in Josee’s sights for the next full year. That is sheer dedication while working full time and raising two children.
On June 15th 2002, Josee headed to Halifax to compete against Canada’s best. It was the CBBF, Canadian Body Building Federation National World qualifier. Josee proudly walked away with two-second place trophies. She won second place in the masters division, 35 years and older, and second place in the 125 lbs and over weight division. She weighed in at 126 lbs. Josee now qualified to compete in the Worlds. Josee was qualified to attend the Masters in Portugal and Worlds in her weight division which was held in Czech Republic. She made the decision to remain home with her family as she was already extremely satisfied with her fitness and bodybuilding careers.
Josee never went back to competitive bodybuilding, but instead she applied her training and skills to helping others at New Life Fitness. She has greatly contributed to this community by training and helping young children in minor hockey, young girls in figure skating, and men and women who need training to pass their physical training test for the Police Force and Fire Department. Another avenue that she has helped with is rehab for people that were in car accidents, had heart attacks, and stroke victims. She also helps seniors who want to be motivated and become fit.
Josee is a great competitor, and most importantly, she has poured her heart and soul into this fine community with a kind heart and a big smile on her face. She is a huge motivator to everyone that is into health and fitness.
Congratulations Josée and welcome to the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame!