​​​Body By BrendaT & Phoenix Fitness

Mind & Body

Books & Biceps

In summer of 2008, I was morbidly obese.  I have lived my whole life

chubby…fat…even obese, but in September 2008, I was told that my numbers made me “MORBIDLY” obese!  That is a tough thing to hear.  Not sure exactly where to start, so let’s start with a few things about me prior to September 2008.  

I was born weighing over 12 lbs!  I was always the chubby kid in school who

faked sprained ankles to get out of gym at least one week a month.  Made it

easy that I don’t have cartilage between 2 bones in my right ankle, so no one

ever questioned me.  Before even getting to high school, I had already
started dieting.  Including the baby food diet, grapefruit diet, and even sneaking

my Mom’s diet pills.   In high school it got worse.  I would starve myself and when

I was forced to eat, I even began to binge  and purge until I started throwing up

blood and scared myself half to death! 


But as an "ugly duckling", I was just looking for a way to fit in.

After school, I got a jobs as a Certified Nursing Assistant, and I started

working a lot!  I was working up to 80 hours a week.  I actually slimmed

down quite a bit at this time, but then I met my husband :)  Got a little comfy, and then BAM!

I got injured on the job.  I herniated 3 disks in my lower back.  Within

3 months, I had 2 surgeries, and gained back

about 50 lbs.  I was not healing, so I could not walk or barely move.  

After the 2nd one, they put me in a more gentle therapy at first that

at least got me moving again.  After a year and a half of PT 3x’s a week,

and sticking to a doctor sponsored weigh loss plan, I got down to

150 lbs and a size 12!  That was the smallest size I had worn since 6th grade!

Unfortunately, I thought that meant I was DONE!  I thought being at

my goal weight gave me the green light to eat WHATEVER I wanted.  

I started gaining right away, and was back up to about 185-190 within

a few months.  I hovered between 195 and 215 for a couple years, until my back started showing wear and tear again.  I had to have a 3rd surgery, which

included a 3 level spinal fusion.  Here came the rest of the weight.  

By the year 1998, I was up to 230 and gradually crept up to 240,

then 250, then 260, all the way up to nearly 300#, which is where I

found myself by Summer 2008.  I had become so depressed,

that I also had a 12-pack(OR MORE) a day beer problem, and a

1.5-2 pack a day cigarette problem.  On September 16th, I joined my first ever

online support website.  I learned a lot from who and what I found there.

Especially about myself!  And I decided that I was finally ready to get
truly get healthy for the first time in my life!  On October 20, 2008,

I smoked my last cigarette, and decided that I was also going to make 

a big reduction in my alcohol consumption!  Now, don’t get me wrong,

I WAS AND AM AN ADDICT!  I am aware of this, and first few months

were NOT easy.  I exercised AT HOME and read weightloss books and fitness

magazines.  ANYTHING to keep my mind off of food, beer, AND cigarettes.

But I stuck with the online support group that I had and kept plodding along.

In January of 2009 I joined a SMALL gym, and started working out with

weights and walking/jogging on the treadmill.  In March I heard talk of a

5k called Bridge the Gap, and decided THAT would be my motivation

for the next 2 months.  I was going to try to RUN a 5k.  

On that beautiful Saturday morning in May 2009, I ran my first 5k in

just over 38 minutes!   I was SO proud of myself for sticking to it!  

I stood on the other side of that finish line and cried like a baby.  

That feeling was SO AWESOME, that I could not contain my emotions.  

I was HOOKED!  It didn’t matter how fast…it was the feeling of

accomplishment!  I had DONE IT!  I ran several other 5k’s and even one

10k in 2009, and in January 2010, I decided to sign up to train for the

Half-marathon at the 2010 Bridge The Gap.  I finished in
2:13:13, and felt GREAT about it.   Then I decided to go for the big
one!  And I started training for my first marathon, the Illinois
Marathon in Champaign-Urbana on April 30, 2011.  After a lot of hard
training, and an AMAZING friend, Doug who helped me with my pace

every step of the way, I stepped up to that Starting Line on that beautiful

spring Saturday morning and completed the FULL 26.2 miles in
4:50:31.  I was THRILLED to say the least :)

 And now I can check that off my bucket list, as I go into the next phase of my

life. I am now an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and group fitness specialist.  Yes, you read that right!  The girl who faked

sprains to get out of gym class,  and was told by the girl on the pom pom

squad in high school that I was too fat and uncoordinated to be part of their squad, now TEACHES fitness and dance fitness classes!  LOL!  

And I am GOOD at it!

My how times have changed! ;)

I am also a Beachbody Coach.  I started for the discount in February 2013,

but am seeing more and more how it is not only keeping me accountable

for my health, but is going to get me out of a life of debt and financial fear

and lead me to a life of financial freedom!  We have GREAT products,

AMAZING trainers,  and I truly believe after seeing first hand what it has

done for me, my husband, and many friends and clients, that just about

EVERYONE should be drinking a serving of Shakeology EVERY day!

And in October of 2016, just 8 years after the start of my healthy lifestyle journey, I opened my first fitness studio, Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT in Fowler, IL.  It is small and in a small rural town, but it is mine!  And it is a safe place for people who are nervous or anxious about going to a big box gym.  My studio is a 100% safe and negativity and judgement free zone!  Don't like my rules, decide that you are better than everyone else, make fun of anyone, or decide to be a drama starter or pot stirrer, and you will not be welcome.  We are there to better our health and our lives.  

So, to sum up my last 11  years, I have went from a disabled, obese 37 year old

chain smoking, drunk couch potato who felt 100 years old, to a fit 48 year old who IS having her own struggles with life, injuries, aging, hormones, and the dreaded menopause, but I still work hard every day to be MY very best!  AND help others to do the same!  I have maintained a weight loss of around 100# for years, have not had a cigarette in 11 years! And I did it by making the decision EVERY DAY that I am living a healthy lifestyle!  Eating as healthy and clean as possible, and exercising.  

I FINALLY realized that I deserved to be healthy, and was truly ready to start

LIVING!  The hard work is worth it!   I AM WORTH IT!

I am an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, an Independent Beachbody Coach, and I am or have been certified to teach 5 of the Beachbody LIVE formats, Insanity LIVE and CIZE LIVE from ShaunT, Country Heat LIVE from Autumn Calabrese, Core De Force LIVE (an MMA conditioning format) with Joel Freeman and Jericho Mathews, and PiYo LIVE from Chalene Johnson.  I am NOT a Registered Dietician, but am certified in Zumba Plate and am a Ultimate Portion Fix Master Trainer.  But for the most part, what you will find here as far as nutrition, is ONLY my opinion from my own research, and what has worked for me to lose the weight and keep it off.  It is my experience and opinions of MY research through reading and being a guinea pig.

I hope if you made it this far reading this, that it has inspired you and you will join

me on my journey and soon on your way to a healthier and happier you!​

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