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Posted on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 10:58 a.m.

Local trainer, nutritionist couple to be featured on MTV's 'Made'

By Jenn McKee


Brian Young competed in Tough Mudder himself after training four Grand Valley State University students for the MTV show "Made."

Photo courtesy of Brian Young

When representatives from MTV’s reality show “Made” contacted Brian and Nancy Young—the local husband-and-wife fitness team behind B Young B Fit—about the possibility of training four female Grand Valley State University students for the notoriously grueling Tough Mudder adventure race, the producers initially cast the couple in roles that didn’t exactly match reality.

Namely, they envisioned Brian as the mean, tough-as-nails personal trainer, while Nancy would talk the women through the tough times and take them to the movies when they needed a break.

“That’s what they wanted to do, but if you know me and my wife, you know it’s more likely to go the opposite way,” said Brian Young. “I’m the quiet, reserved, calm one, and (Nancy)’s the firecracker. If someone’s going to be the good cop, and someone’s going to be the bad cop, it’s going to be me being the good cop.”

Regardless, being a husband-wife team was what made the Youngs so appealing to MTV producers. For shortly after getting a general casting call, wherein personal trainers with “modern adventure race” training experience were asked to submit a resume, Young got a second call, asking about the woman who appeared in Young’s photographs. (Nancy Young is not a personal trainer, but rather a nutritionist and spinning class instructor.)

“I could see wheels turning already,” said Young. “They said, ‘OK, we’d like to do a Skype interview with you guys,’ so we did that, and they were already starting to formulate the way that Nancy would help the girls with their eating, and handle things on the nutrition side, while I’d be the trainer. … You could tell right away that it was a done deal, even before we got the job.”

Though “Made” normally chronicles one young person’s attempt at achieving an ambitious goal, the Youngs’ episode, which is scheduled to air on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m., widens its focus to four GVSU students—roommates and friends that “all had something to prove,” according to Young, by way of battling a smoking habit, bad eating habits, and a family’s low expectations, among other things.

“3 of the 4 girls—they were really girly girls,” said Young. “They were wearing high heels and dresses, and they didn’t do anything physically taxing, ever. So what’s the most extreme thing for a person like that do? Tough Mudder, … where you get dirty—like, dirt in your mouth and your ears and everywhere else. It’s so far from what they’d naturally would do.”

Tough Mudder events are, according to its website, “hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.” (Last season, “Made” featured a young female car crash survivor who aimed to do Tough Mudder.)

Did Young get the impression that the four women were really committed to doing the Tough Mudder?

“Originally, not at all,” said Young. “ … At the first ‘Made’ coach meeting with them, I tested them that first night, at 2 in the morning, to see how committed they were,” said Young. “They all passed the test, but it was still a game to them. They were like, ‘This is so much fun, we’re going to be on MTV,’ and what I was trying to stress to them was, ‘To do this, for 5 weeks, I’m going to train you like you’re professional athletes. It’s not all going to be fun and games. You’ve got to change your eating, get lots of rest, stop partying, and no smoking and drinking.’ They really did not know what it was going to take. But I enforced that, and after a couple weeks, they understood.”


Brian and Nancy Young

Photo courtesy of Brian Young

After the Youngs signed on to be part of “Made,” they checked into a hotel room in the Grand Rapids area, where they’d stay for five weeks to train the four young women, while keeping tabs on their business via phone and email. (Filming for "Made" happened July 16-Aug. 16, and the Youngs accompanied the young women to Toronto for Tough Mudder.)

Young normally prefers to spend 6 to 8 weeks training clients for an event like Tough Mudder, but he knew the women of “Made” would be well-prepared, since their workout sessions with him would be more frequent and longer than a typical client’s would be.

Plus, MTV’s budget allowed for training opportunities Young’s clients wouldn’t normally have. “I don’t have a swamp for (clients) to run through for practice,” said Young. “But people from MTV found a swamp and hired someone to clear it, so we could use it for training.”

Locals involved in The Color Run in Ypsilanti this past summer may have heard about a camera crew from “Made” that was there, and that was because of the involvement of Young and his trainees.

“Early in the filming, I told the field producers that we needed to get the girls in lower-intensity race situations, so that the Tough Mudder wasn’t the first race they’d ever run,” said Young. “Things happen in races that you can’t prepare for in training. There’s adrenaline, being surrounded by thousands of people, and all the distractions you’re not used to.”

Since the Color Run brought them back to the Youngs’ home base, the young women did some workouts at the B Young B Fit studio, and took a run with Young in Nichols Arboretum.

And although Nancy Young also felt completely at home on camera, since she’s appeared in commercials and modeled for 10 years, Brian Young was initially nervous while being filmed.

“But the cool thing for a beginner like me was that, because it’s reality TV, there weren’t these big cameras, and there’s no script,” said Young. “After the first half of the first day, I was just doing what I do, which is training people. And the way MTV shoots it, it’s just two people with cameras. And they were with us so much—like, 18 hours of every day—that I forgot they were there pretty quickly.”

Brian and Nancy Young will appear the episode of "Made" that will air on MTV on Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. For additional airings or to watch the episode online, check out the "Made" website.

Jenn McKee is the entertainment digital journalist for Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


Slideveezy Okarter

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

Interesting!! I know both of


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

Congrats on making it on MTV. And Tough Mudder is fun, although I don't quite understand why someone would need a personal trainer and a nutritionist to run one. But it makes for good TV, I suppose.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

Congrats, Nancy! Nancy also owns the DBTS Skin Bar in downtown Ann Arbor and the therapeutic spa under the same umbrella name in Pittsfield Township. I took Pure Barre with her a couple times, and I can attest, she's one tough lady! Way to go :)