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Annemarie and Lloyd Herford rise to challenge of reshaping bodies in person and online
Oakwood husband and wife train bodybuilders through RISE Athletic Club in Hall County
Annemarie and Lloyd Herford train bodybuilders online and in person through RISE Athletic Club in Oakwood.

RISE Athletic Club

Hours: Open 24 hours, seven days a week with key card access

Address: 4332 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood



In one word, Annemarie Herford is a powerhouse.

The 24-year-old Oakwood woman pulls pickup trucks and lifts 100-plus-pound stones for one purpose — to build muscle. Annemarie Herford is a bodybuilder.

And now the physically fit woman trains others online and in person through RISE Athletic Club in Oakwood.

“She is an extremely energetic and uplifting person,” said her friend-turned-husband Lloyd Herford.

Annemarie and Lloyd Herford train more than 200 athletes worldwide as far as Israel, Mexico and Canada. The couple checks in weekly with the clients and sees their progress in pictures.

And the Herfords know how to get results, especially since both are bodybuilders. In fact, Lloyd inspired Annemarie to start weightlifting and, later on, bodybuilding.

Annemarie started attending Lloyd’s bodybuilding competitions in 2011. He had been competing since 2008.

At that time, Annemarie only stuck to using cardio machines as part of her fitness routine. She didn’t use weights.

Then Lloyd taught her how to lift, and they started going to the gym every morning.

“I was seeing changes throughout my body, and that’s what kept me motivated to keep going,” Annemarie said.

Shortly afterward, Annemarie got more serious in the gym and about Lloyd. They began relying on each other for motivation.

“We literally view ourselves as one,” Lloyd said. “Anything either of us do, the other is right there cheering them on. She could start butterfly catching tomorrow, and I don’t know a thing about it, but I’ll make sure she has the best net and training, etc. and vice versa if I decided to try something she isn’t familiar with.”

This reliance led to the couple getting married in 2013. The 28-year-old Lloyd then became an online coach for bodybuilders and Annemarie decided to try competing.

“It opened my eyes to the competing side of the sport, and I got to see all the ladies prepping for shows and then going to watch them,” she said.

Annemarie trained for three years for her own bodybuilding debut, which was in early 2016.

“I did not want to be one of those girls (who) started lifting and competed right away,” she said.

Last year, Annemarie finally stepped into the competition ring three times.

“Lloyd supported me,” she said. “And so many new friends I met in the process (who) were in the bodybuilding world supported me as well, which was something I never had and was completely amazing.”

With his competitive experience in bodybuilding, Lloyd helped his wife and watched her change physically and characteristically.

“It’s amazing because before fitness she was introverted somewhat,” he said. “But since she started her fitness journey, she has gained a lot of confidence and just raises up everyone around her.”

Since her bodybuilding debut, Annemarie has competed in Boston, Miami and Alabama. She placed fifth in Miami last June and second in Alabama last July. She hopes to compete again this summer.

Her bodybuilding career path also has fallen in line with Lloyd’s. She started coaching others online along with opening RISE Athletic Club in December 2016 at 4332 Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood. She and her husband co-own the gym with Brooke Berryman and Chris Phillips.

“That’s when I became a coach, learning all I know from Lloyd, and with the help of his coach, Matt Jansen,” Annemarie said.

She designs a training program for clients to follow in their gyms and individualizes a nutritional plan for them, too.

Megan Nelson of Oakwood is one of her newest trainees.

“I was one of their first people to sign a contract in December when it opened,” Nelson said. “I didn’t actually go under contract with Annemarie until March.”

Nelson is enrolled in Annemarie’s 12-month program. At the end of the program, she hopes to compete by 2018.

Her training includes weightlifting and sprints on a stationary bike three days a week. And Annemarie gave her a meal plan to follow. But she will start her new workout program soon.

“It’s gonna be a little more intense but definitely manageable. I’m super excited about it,” Nelson said.

However, she found her own way to maintain her motivation.

“I stay motivated by looking at magazines with other competitors in them. Also I just keep in mind what my end goal is,” Nelson said. “When I want to eat something bad, I will look at photos back when I was overweight and remind myself that I could totally be back there within a couple months if I lose my willpower.”

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