A Passion Born From A Life Of Hope!

As many of you who follow me on Facebook know, I have decided on a name and a logo for my fitness studio.

Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT


I thought long and hard about this, and then it just came to me.  I have crashed and burned so many times in my life where health and fitness are concerned.  And although I have kept aware of it, which has kept me from letting go completely, I am actually kind of in a valley on my journey right now.  Be it the stress, the menopause, the RA, whatever, I don’t make excuses for any of it, I simply keep adjusting until I find what is right for me.  Maybe that means backing off a bit, maybe it means kicking it up a notch.  I’m not sure yet, but I will keep working to find my new balance.  I WILL RISE up from the ashes of yet another low, because I am a survivor!  I will not go quietly into  the night, I will move forward with the burning fire that is deep within me lighting my way!

You see, not only is it my passion to help others on their journey, but it is my constant mission in life to find my own way to stay fit and healthy.  I want to work my hardest to overcome my genetics and not accept the diabetes and heart disease that should be destined to be my fate.  Do they have to be part of my life?  I don’t know for sure, but I am going to continue to fight against them!  I have not been able to completely escape the RA and arthritis, but I continue to fight!  They have tried to send me back to the ashes, but I refuse to quit!

A friend sent this to me on Facebook last week.  It spoke to me in a way that moved me to tears.phoenix-in-words

I will NEVER give up!  “born to do the impossible”, I will ALWAYS have HOPE in my heart!  The Coach Jimmy is my Beachbody Team Leader.  A few years back, he referred to what we do as Beachbody Coaches as Deliverers of HOPE!  We show those who feel that health and fitness is a hopeless dream, that it is not!  Just 8 years ago, I started as a 37 year old woman who had struggled with her weight her ENTIRE LIFE!  I remember my pediatrician scolding my  Mom constantly about me being too fat as a kid. Which only made me feel more low and turn to my buddy, COMFORT FOOD for some consolation. But I digress.  8 years ago, I made a decision that I did not want to live my life like that anymore.  I was almost 300# and my confidence was nonexistent!  But I made a decision, and I invested in my health, with money, sweat, and a LOT of tears!  I was an obese, chain smoking, depressed, comfort food addicted, drunk couch potato! Those are some pretty big hurdles to overcome.  Not to mention that I had failed at everything I had ever tried.  It was a joke in my office about how long I would be there, because by 24, I had already had about a dozen jobs. ***I have now been at that job for over 20 years.***

In the past I have lost and gained back hundreds of pounds!  I have battled depression from a very young age.  I have survived being abused by a man I trusted as a child.  I have survived being put in a psychiatric ward when I was 9 with all good intentions to save me after a suicide attempt, only to be verbally bullied by my psychiatrist and molested by a few of the adults on the ward for the entire time I was there.  When I was 17, I became pregnant by my 15 year old boyfriend who I loved very much.  But when we lost Marian the day after my 18th birthday, things changed.  I changed.  I became cold.  I became distant.  I became detached from the desire for love, because I felt it was just a painful illusion.  As time passed, I did find the ability to love again when I met Tony.  And although I can tell you from the depth of my soul that I LOVE my husband more than anything in the world, beyond him, I have always struggled(and unfortunately still do at times) with letting people, sometimes INCLUDING HIM, get too close.  It takes a lot for me to trust, and even more for me to let someone in to see all of Me. But I am learning to open up as my confidence grows.  One thing I learned being a part of Beachbody, is that your #1 habit should be CONSTANTLY working on Personal Growth!  I am always listening to some kind of Personal Development book or podcast, or doing some kind of course to help me build my confidence and trust in the fact that I am a good person and that I do deserve great things in my life.  Including working with Dr Mcayla Sarno, which is huge for me, because as you can imagine, I don’t trust “shrinks” very much.


When I say CHOOSE Happiness, I speak from my personal beliefs, because I myself must choose it every day.  Every day I have to FIND the great before the bad gets a hold of my brain.  If I let the bad in first, my day is shot in the arse!  So if you think I am a bit too rainbows, puppies, and unicorns in the mornings, maybe I am!  But every morning I wake up thinking of everything in my life I am grateful for.  Right now, for instance, I could focus on my fears. I could focus on the fact that I am up in weight and down in cardio endurance.  I could focus on the fact that it takes me anywhere from 10-30 minutes to get out of bed every morning due to the pain and stiffness in my body.  I could focus on the fact that I have went in debt up to my eyeballs building my studio.  But NO!  I choose to focus on what is good in my life right now.  I CHOOSE to BE Happy and get out there and do the relentless work that it is going to be successful in my passions!

Because HOPE will “always have a home in my soul!”


I truly believe that when you give attention to having good health and fitness, you will be more successful in ANYTHING you want to do!  If you are ready to stop waiting for your storm to pass, please contact me at and I will help you find your best options to be successful with your health and fitness.  Be it through Beachbody and getting on a program and Shakeology(which I can honestly say has been  my saving grace on the nutrition front as of late with as busy as I have been), coming to classes at my studio starting next month, or a combination of both!  We will find YOUR best solution together.  And no matter which way you go, the option of a support and accountability group will always be there.

I HOPE to talk to you soon!

#RiseUp #TeamPhoenix #DeliverHope

More Progress!!!


I have to be at a Beachbody meeting in St Louis on 10/29/16, so I had to scratch that date off the possibilities list and will be working to figure out what date will work for Grand Opening Date ASAP!

Maybe Sunday 10/30/16???

Not 100% sure that will work, but I will make a decision soon depending on the building’s progress over the next week, I promise! As I said before some of the big jobs are done, but we still don’t have a few things complete that are necessary to have done BEFORE I can start painting and doing the flooring, so as soon as I CAN make a decision, I will let you all know!

AND….I know it has only been 3 workdays since my last update blog, but look at all the progress!!!!  I am STOKED!🙂🙂🙂

Progression of the block supporting wall removal and beam going up!

Temporary walls are up to support during the removal. (Thursday)



Block Wall is down temporary walls awaiting the new Support Beam and small pillars.(Friday)



Beam is up! (Saturday)



All temporary walls are down and the floor is extended to the back of the room! (Monday)

Bathroom floor and plumbing almost done! (Tuesday)


So, amazing progress is being made, but there are still a few major things, and then a LOT of cleaning jobs and some cosmetic things that need to be completed.  My excitement AND my anxiety are growing daily!  LOL!  But the anxiety can always be brought down to a manageable level when I think about how amazing my future is going to be!


❤❤ Love to all of you who are supporting me through this wonderful time!❤❤


Fitness Studio Update!

I have been working a lot on my schedule for the fitness studio, since it looks like we are about 4-6 weeks out from being ready for a Grand Opening!🙂
The studio has risen from the ashes and rubble and is getting close to having a new life!
I am aiming for Saturday, October 29th at this point, but I will keep you all posted over the next week or 2 to see where we are at with the build and remodel.  Some of the big jobs are done, but I still don’t have a bathroom, and the floor is not complete, which are both kinda vital to have done BEFORE I open😉
So, here is a bit of a run down of what is going on.
Most of you know, that the new studio will be located in Fowler, IL, just off of Highway 24, but the exact address is 1704 County Road 1316th E.
I will have a small fitness room in the back with limited equipment and will be built up over the next year or so, that Full Members will have access to. As of the opening, it will have free weights, a recumbent bike, a Gazelle(does anyone even remember those?😀 ), a couple of punching bags, medicine balls, small squat rack, and a power tower with dip rack.
But the main thing will be the classes! And at this time ALL classes will be in the evening, unless I get enough interest to make it worth my while to get up and teach a 30-45 minute 6:15AM class once or twice a week before I head to my FT job in town!😉
I myself will be teaching about 2 classes a night for the most part in the beginning, and others will be added or shuffled or even subtracted as attendance dictates.  And I still need to get with Tara and find out when she wants to teach Turbo Kick!🙂
Tentative schedule:
Monday and Wednesdays –
Doors open at 6:00PM
6:30-7:15PM Boot Camp Strength & Shape
7:30-8:05PM Country Heat
Doors will be locked by 9PM(earlier if no one is using the exercise room)
Tuesday and Thursday –
6:15PM-7-ish(will run between 30-45 mins) -Functional Life Fitness
7:15-8:00PM Dance Fitness with BrendaT
*Thursdays will continue to include an extra 10 minutes of core work, so will last until about 8:10PM
Doors will be locked by 9PM(earlier if no one is using the exercise room)
9:00-9:45AM Boot Camp Circuits (in or outdoors depending on the weather) Class size STRICT limit to 10 and NO OPEN GYM FITNESS ROOM DURING THIS CLASS!
10:15-10:45AM – Dance Fitness With BrendaT
10:50-11:15AM – Tabata and Cool Down
NEW CLASS – Functional Life Fitness
This class will be for those looking for a low to no impact, low intensity class.  This is a class for beginners/those returning to fitness after an absence or an injury, those with limited mobility, those who want to be able to have fun with the grandkids instead of just watching from the sidelines. As we age, we NEED to find ways to keep our muscles active, strong, and flexible. If that sounds like something you are looking for, THIS class may be for you!
Tentative Pricing:


Dance Fitness OR Country Heat/Month – $25

Boot Camp/month – $40

Functional Life Fitness – $40


BOTH Dance Classes/Month – $45

Boot Camp or Functional Life Fitness AND either Dance Fitness OR Country Heat(to reserve a spot in every class)/Month – $50(Includes Full Membership Benefits)

Full Membership – $50 Includes Free Drop-Ins (Limited class sizes, so by availability only) and access to weight room during open hours.   ***CAN be combined with Boot Camp or Functional Life Fitness Class !🙂 ***

Drop Ins – $6/class for Non-Members(By availability only due to limited class sizes)

At this time, I plan to start scheduling demo classes around mid-October, so if there is anything you are interested in, please email me at to get on the email list!

Things are looking up???

Is it just me, or do any of you have days when everything is seems to be going pretty good, but you just have this feeling that something bad is about to happen?  But even with all of that positive thinking I do, and working to be in control of my own happiness, I still have “days”.  I feel like I shouldn’t, but I do.  
This is a pretty good visual representation of how I feel today.  mental choking.jpg
I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks from worrying about things that “might” happen my whole life! At 9 years old,  I was admitted into a psychiatric ward because I had had my first nervous breakdown and tried to commit suicide to avoid what I was certain was going to be a horrific turn of events in my life. Instead of getting well while I was there, I was repeatedly abused and therefore, I saw it as a premonition of things to come. So any time I have these feelings, I tend to go into full panic mode, and then get very down and sad and revert to being an  introvert(or as I call it, “numb out under a rock”) mode.
People sometimes have a way of lashing out at, or putting down someone when they are changing to better themselves, because that change doesn’t fit into that other person’s life.  But I am DONE feeling bad for the wonderful changes in my life not making the lives of every person I know easier!  I can’t let the negativity and guilt trips make me feel bad.  I was told by a great friend this weekend to stop making myself crazy trying to make everyone happy!  That it is simply not possible!
I have fought demons my whole life.  Most think I had perfectly normal childhood, and many parts of it were pretty great!  As long as I was kept busy and not left alone with my thoughts.  I wasn’t even allowed to talk about what happened to me with my own family, so I held it in.  I dealt with things my own way by living dangerously and dragging my negativity around with me everywhere.  After adding the loss of my daughter when I myself was only 18 years old, things only got worse.  I became a drunk,  a food addict, a self-abuser, and used many Rx and non-Rx drugs to numb my pain.😦  In recent years, I have reached out and gotten some help, and I now know that those things happened in the past, and the only way they can control my future, is if I allow them to.  But I am no longer willing to just roll over and take it!  In a matter of speaking.
I CHOOSE happiness!
So if you aren’t willing to at least attempt to be positive, please kindly step aside and let me be ME!  And if you are looking for someone to be in your corner while you look for the positives in your life.  I am here🙂

CHANGE! Love it or hate it, it is going to happen!

Happy Friday!!!

I am typing this through some very bittersweet happy yet sad at the same time tears.

As you know, I have been teaching Zumba and Tabata classes at Legacy Martial Arts for almost 4 years!  But as of the end of September, my time there is coming to an end.😦 I have loved being part of the Legacy Family, and hope they still consider me as a little part of it even after the changes.

However, if you do not know, the reason I am leaving is because I am opening my own small fitness studio.  We will not be ready to fully open until sometime around November 1st, but I will announce classes and new schedules as we get closer to the opening.

I started with a dream and a dilapidated, gutted house.  It is still a ways from being done, but some of the biggest projects are coming right along thanks to my wonderful contractor, Dave!  He saw my vision when everyone else saw only a MESS!

But for starters, this…


is now THIS20160908_175957

and THIS!!!




And this old carport….20160905_113301


is now enclosed and at the moment looks like this!20160913_175949


and that back portion that also looked like this,


went to this20160912_174252

and then this20160913_175847

and now it is completely enclosed!



So, although we aren’t there yet, we are making progress!🙂


Keep an eye on my website for announcements, class schedules, and price lists!  And please feel free to email me at if you want on my email list!

Hope to see you All in class soon!🙂

Wanna Know THE Secret to Lasting Weight Loss?

Got your attention didn’t I?

Well, if you know me, then you KNOW that I am going to say that the secret really is no secret!

You simply show up and live your life in a healthy way that matches your goals DAILY.

Yes, EVERY F-ing DAY!

It is the same with a successful business.  If you want to become successful and CONTINUE to BE successful, you don’t get there and say, “COOL!  I’m done working now!”

It does NOT work that way!

Don’t take this as an assault on YOU, I am saying this to Me as much as anyone, because I have STILL been slacking lately.   I am scared and/or frustrated with how some things are going in my life, and I am turning to comfort foods and booze to numb me out to them.  Some are actually even good things, but they scare me even more than the bad things, because I am not as used to having good things happen to me.  Unfamiliar territory if you will.  Hey, OLD habits are hard to break!  I get it!  But each day I do my best to wake up with a grateful heart that I have the success that I have achieved and set out to do my best for that day.  Some days I WIN, and some days I FAIL MISERABLY!   It happens!  But that doesn’t mean I GIVE UP!  It simply means that I try again tomorrow.

I was looking at some of my pictures from when I was my most fit.  They were taken a few years back before my Dad got bad and before the Menopause Monster took over my body!😛


My husband tells me,”Stop worrying about it! You look great!  And that a woman your age should be so lucky as to look like you do. But at your age, you also need to stop worrying about finding those abs again, because your hormones are probably NOT going to let it happen.”  I listened to him…AT FIRST!  But today after looking at those pictures, and thinking about what I did to get there, I have faith that I CAN get there again!  I just need to rework a few things and listen to my OWN ADVICE!  Do The WHOLE Package!  You can’t JUST workout.  You can’t JUST have good nutrition.  You can’t JUST have the BEST Supplements.  You can’t JUST have support.  You need to have it ALL TOGETHER!!!

One of my biggest downfalls is that I LOVE BEER!  And with beer often comes snacks.  Well, if I have to cut that back to what I was doing when I got to these pictures, then that is what I will do!  Beer rationing has begun!  LOL!


But when people ask me what I do when I am at my best because “that’s what THEY WANT”, I happily share whatever I can with them.  But if they aren’t willing to do things the way I do them, then they really can’t complain and say that my way simply doesn’t work for them.  I workout.  I eat right at least 80% of the time, I drink Shakeology EVERY DAY, and I use supplements when I lift heavy.  Yes Ladies, you HAVE TO DO SOME TYPE OF RESISTANCE TRAINING!  You will not get bulky!  But if you are over 35 years old, your muscles are already deteriorating and NEED HELP!  You are lying to yourself to get out of doing the work.  I know this for a fact, because I used to do it myself!

I can’t want it enough for you to make it happen.  And I certainly can not do the work for you!

You have to stop talking negative crap to yourself and invest in what WILL help you IF you are willing to WORK for it!



So, Do you WANT to be healthy and fit?

Do you WANT to be free of the prison that being obese really is.  Don’t tell me it’s not, because I have been there!  Being overweight is HARD!  And in my opinion it is harder than any workout!

Decide. Commit. Succeed!

I would love to help you if you are READY!

I believe in YOU!  And I believe in ME!  And I KNOW we can do it!  Especially if we do it TOGETHER!  We just have to make the commitment to ourselves, to keep taking steps forward on this journey every day!

Contact me today so we can work together to reach our goals!


You don’t have the power to beat me down!

I honestly just laugh at dumb asses who think they can drive me into the ground by insulting me.

1 – I KNOW I do not have the perfect body!  I never said I did!

2 – If you are the type of person who puts people down when they are doing their best to be their best, I honestly do NOT want to know you anyway. (I will pity your ignorance from afar, Thank You!)

3 – You obviously have NO IDEA the shit that I have lived through to think that you can beat me down by throwing out a, “You do look strong for a fat girl!” on a post of mine with the hashtag #StrongIsTheNewSkinny , THINK AGAIN!!!


4 – F U !



So, in response to this person who hides behind a fake name and had a profile picture of an offensive meme, I would like to say a few things that would answer his/her question, “What would make anyone who wants to get fit want to follow a fat chick’s lead?”

I know how hard it is to have your weight limit your movement.  I know what fear boils up inside of you when you even think about putting on workout clothes when they are a size 2x-3x.  I know what it is like to be bullied and put down because of my size.  I just want to be healthy and fit!  Everyone’s goal is NOT to look like an airbrushed fitness model on the cover of a magazine!  Some of us simply want to learn to live how to be healthy and fit and not feel like we can never go to a BBQ or have pizza ever again!

 Booze, drugs, and food were always there to numb me out and help me forget all the emotional and physical pain that I was going through.  Dealing with abuse and loss at a young age sent me down a rough road that I felt no one would ever understand.  And how would they?  I was told to act like it never happened and everything would just go away and be fine.  Guess what?  It wasn’t!  

So a large portion of my journey to fitness, was NOT about being physically fit!  I have to work on the excess weight between my ears just as much as the excess weight on my waist line.  And if you have heard the saying, “It isn’t really about the Twinkie!”, it really is SO TRUE!  I wasn’t, and still don’t, eat because I am hungry.  The void I am trying to fill comes from a very different place.  The void of love.  The void of success in my life.  The void from fear and/or frustration of not being able to do something.  The void left from questions unanswered.  The void left from someone making me feel like I would never be enough. 

Filling those voids is way more complicated than putting food in your mouth, but trying to use it to fill them was one of my defense mechanisms. 


(saw this on Facebook today and thought it was very fitting for this blog)


So am I the most qualified to be a health and fitness coach?  Maybe not by all standards, but I AM a Beachbody Coach.  I AM a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  And I do come with a lot of personal experience of what has and has not worked for me.  And I will push you!  I will not coddle you and tell you that it is going to be easy, because it takes and investment of time and money, and it takes HARD WORK!  And you will NEVER stick with anything that you get for FREE!  We are a value driven, and Free is simply that.  Free of Value.

But I am also an abuse survivor.  A childless mother.  I have RA.  I have had 3 back surgeries including a lumbar to sacro fusion.  And I have been a “Give Up Drunk” who was fully prepared to die of any number of genetic diseases that I was sure to get, all while sitting on my ass doing NOTHING to prevent them from coming.

So, if you want to send me a nice note criticizing me for how much of a role model I am NOT because I am not a size 2 and I jiggle and don’t have cut up muscles or a six pack, I say BRING IT!  Because neither does a large population in America, and honestly, we don’t identify with perfect.  For most of us, not only do we not identify with it, but it really isn’t what we are going for.  Would I like to be more fit than I am right this minute?  Of course!  But I can’t be happy when that is ALL that is in my life!  I need real people.  Real food.  A beer on Fridays after a LONG week!  


I am done trying to be someone else’s highlight reel every day of my life!  I am flawed, but I work every day to be My Best ME!!!  And I would love to help YOU be your Best You!  

Email me today at


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