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By John Grossi

Photos by Monique Kuhlman

“It’s never too late to start exercising, but you should never stop.” That’s Maryann Youssef’s favorite quote.

“I think if exercise was a pill, everyone would take it,” she said referencing the myriad of benefits exercise provides... especially in aging adults.

Maryann Youssef recently returned to her hometown of Long Beach after a decade in the medicine and public health field to start a new gym concept called Fit After 50 SoCal. In doing so, Maryann hopes to help older women in the Long Beach area either start exercising or keep exercising for as long as they can.

The concept is already proving popular... outgrowing park classes and a home-gym business, and into a brick and mortar space within just two years. Women over 50 in Long Beach are finding their “Happy Place” at a gym made just for them.

Chasing Health and Fulfillment

When Maryann graduated from Long Beach Wilson High School in 2004, she already knew health was her passion. Being an excellent student and growing up in a family with physicians, she was sure she wanted to be a doctor and spend her life helping people improve their health. She majored in Pre-Med at UC Irvine, and even began Medical School at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Until one day, when the realities of the medical field and the way physicians were taught to treat patients caught up with her. There was a major lack of preventative and well-rounded healthcare.

She made a big decision to transition into research and public health, and transferred to the University of Miami, where she earned a master’s degree in public health. Hoping to make her mark helping others through this new route led her to a position at UCLA as director of Health Programs, a prestigious position at a prestigious university.

Now after only six years, Maryann has left UCLA, taking a big leap of faith to start a fitness business in Long Beach.

“So what ultimately convinced you to leave public health and pursue this fitness idea?” I asked. “Fulfillment,” Maryann said. “I’m finally getting fulfillment out of my job.”

Fulfillment ... away from the shackles of red tape, the slow-moving machine of medical institutionalism, and the burden of politics affecting her impact on health. At the fitness studio Maryann owns, she is finally able to help people the way she’s always wanted.

Exercise is Medicine

Maryann’s passion for fitness started as a reaction to her own family’s health. Watching her dad battle a slew of medical challenges over the past two decades, she couldn’t help but notice the underlying recommendation from every doctor no matter what the condition. “Exercise will help.”

She’s also watched many strong women in her family put exercise on the back-burner as they juggled careers, families, and life.

“Women have a tendency to always take care of others before themselves,” noticed Maryann. “I also think it is increasingly hard to find places women feel comfortable... so creating a space where women can feel comfortable to be themselves and work out with their peers has been really special. For a lot of our ladies, it’s the first time they’re stopping to take a moment and care for themselves.”

Improving Confidence and Reducing Pain

Fit After 50 SoCal is designed to make life better for women over 50. Whether you’re taking advantage of a group exercise class or personal training, the instructors are certified, well versed in anatomy and kinesiology, and can design strategic workouts that avoid injury and build strength and endurance.

“The thing that I love the most is seeing women realize the benefit beyond the environment of the gym,” says Maryann. “I like hearing ‘I can do X thing without pain anymore’ or ‘I can reach this now.’ One of our clients is so excited she was able to buy a dog with a new confidence that she can handle the physical challenges of having a puppy around. Just hearing all the small victories that result out of regular exercise is so rewarding.”

You can learn more about the class schedule and philosophy of Fit After 50 SoCal by going to or calling Maryann directly at 310-853-3805 or by emailing her at

This New Year, Maryann is offering potential new clients a $25/week unlimited class trial! Contact her for more details.



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