Modify?!? Does that make me a failure?

I was going to post this in Facebook, but I sometimes think that long FB posts get skimmed over, so I figured a blog would be best.

Here is the picture that prompted today’s post. 🙂

sponge bob insanity

Maybe a bit much to get the giggles, but if he kept moving, didn’t give up, and got through the workout, then he did a good job!

Here are some of my views on Modifying:

First, the word ‘modify’ is NOT a dirty word in the fitness world!  In fact, in my opinion, and in the opinions of MANY trainers and coaches way smarter and more experienced than I, modifying will help you learn better form and use the muscle you are working to its fullest potential, which in turn leads to the BEST quality workout!

Second, taking a break does NOT make you a failure!  If you are just starting your journey to a healthier and fit lifestyle, new to the workout, coming back from injury, or sometimes just having an “off” day, more breaks may be needed to make it through to the end.  Just try to keep moving if you can while you catch your breath.  Even if it is just a light march in place.

AND Third!  This one could be the MOST important!  IF you are a beginner or you are coming back from injury, or simply have one muscle group that is not as strong and needs to be slowly built up….DO THE MODIFICATION!  For Example….There is no shame in doing push ups on your knees!   This one is hard for me, because I could do perfect military style push ups before I hurt my shoulder.  But I need to build my strength back up and stop pushing it too fast.  So it is NOT just beginners, all of us need to use modifications some times.

Modifications help you perfect your form.  In fact, I believe that sometimes doing the modification of an exercise actually helps me slow down and concentrate on the muscles I am using.  Sometimes you get to the point that you start swinging weights, or just going through the motions.  And doing 50 squats in 30 seconds is NOT a good thing if you are doing them sloppy and with poor form.

Since becoming a Beachbody Coach, I hear excuses all the time like, “I can’t do that!” or “That program is too advanced for me.”  or “I couldn’t keep up with that!” or “I can’t do (fill in the blank), I am too uncoordinated!”  First of all, how do you KNOW any of that if you don’t try?  And second, there is ALWAYS a modification for EVERYTHING!  If you can’t figure it out, ASK!  There is always something different you can do if a certain move bothers you.

For instance, I since I have a lumbar fusion in my back, while doing acro yoga yesterday, one of the moves was flying whale.  I can be the base for whale, but I am not comfortable having someone’s feet in my lower back, but here are my friends Mahala and Shari doing and AWESOME job at it! 🙂

mahala and shari flying whale


But I will say acro yoga is REALLY helping me with my trust issues.  Several weeks ago, I let Mahala the instructor talk me into letting her fly me.  Here is the picture taken for PROOF!  LOL!

me flying

And yesterday, I let both my friends, Gloria and Mr Bentley fly me!  I am getting there! 🙂

So, get over your “I have to be PERFECT to start!” mentality!  Take that first step!  And as always…..

MAKE today GREAT!!!


5 YEARS!?!?!

WOW!  With all that has been going on this week, I almost missed my 5 Year Journey to Fitness Anniversary!

I can not believe it has been 5 years since I started my journey to get healthy.  But more than that, I can’t believe 5 years ago I weighed over 100# MORE than I do right now.  Over the past several months, I have had some trials and ERRORS, but all in all, I am STILL a success story!  I have kept off 100# for almost 4 years now.

I want to take this moment to thank EVERYONE who has supported me, believed in me, and helped me in any way to make my dream of living a healthy lifestyle my REALITY!  I may have done all the work, and put forth all the blood, sweat, and tears, but without you all, I may have given up on myself.  I never felt worthy of having wonderful things in my life.  So I would do anything I could to  make sure I didn’t!  The negativity I used to put into the world, came back on me continuously.  Sure, I had a wonderful husband and family who love me, but I had even pushed and the few friends that I did have away by choosing my negative addictive existence over them.  But along this journey, I have found my way back to enjoying company of people over a toxic lifestyle again.   I have made an effort to make friends who have the same interests as I do.  People who also want to be fit and healthy and live a FULL life.

I admit that am still a bit of homebody, which helps explain why Beachbody was such a great fit for me, but I also treasure my time with my friends and have found a true love in Group Training.  Whether it be teaching or taking Zumba and FIT classes at Legacy Martial Arts or doing the Body By Brenda Workouts in the park.  I love seeing people enjoy fitness and people believing in me enough to allow me to be able to be part of that.

Hard to believe that a person who consumed as much alcohol and Rx pain killers as I did to numb out my life would now be the one who not only celebrates each and every moment of life, but want to help others find their path and do the same.  Speaking of my old vices….it has also been almost 5 years since I had my last cigarette!   Remembering back to September thru December 2008, I was SO determined!  I had failed so many times.  Work hard for a week or so, and then BOOM!  There comes the weekend.  Or a holiday.  Or a party.  Always an excuse to eat bad foods and drink LOTS of alcohol.  Heck, back then, a Tuesday was a good enough reason for that! 😛  My how things have changed.

before during after

Illness and injury have been a big part of this year so far, but I am working to get back on MY schedule.  The one that just “works” for me.  And then I have some new goals in mind.  But first, I am aiming to get back to the girl in this 3rd pic.  I have put on about 18#, and look more like the 2nd one now, but I will NEVER sell myself short!  I know I can do it!  I HAVE DONE IT!  I REFUSE TO GIVE UP!!!

055 - Copy-1

Who’s with me???  Who is NOT willing to put off their BEST SELF any longer?  Who does NOT want to wait until January 1st?  I am starting a new Beachbody ANY PROGRAM Challenge on September 30th.  You must be willing to invest in yourself and commit to the program and group.  One meal or snack replacement each day with Shakeology, and Push Play on your Beachbody program of choice for the duration which it is designed, whether it is one you already own or a Challenge Pack that you buy today.  Contact me on my Facebook Body By Brenda or email me at  OR you can go straight to my site and check out the programs at .

You don’t need a New Year to resolve to make your life better.  You just need tomorrow.

MAKE today GREAT!!!


I know it has been a long time.  A lot going on in my personal life right now.  If you follow me on FB, you know it has been a struggle for me.  But I keep fighting.  Stress has me frustrated and gaining weight!   UGH! I am trying to re-focus starting today.

But today I want to talk about FEAR.

Are you wanting to start on your journey to your fittest you, but you are scared to start? Fear of failure keeping you sitting on the sidelines? Thinking to yourself, “I want to __________, but I am just not strong, smart, coordinated, etc. enough.”


5 years ago today, I weighed OVER 275# and have been morbidly obese for more of my life than not ! I was drinking EVERY night! Smoking 1.5-2 packs of cigarettes every day! I was pre-diabetic, had high BP, and my cholesterol was…well, to be honest, I think it read GRAVY! I have titanium bolts holding my lower back together.  I have things in my past that have left me feeling COMPLETELY WORTHLESS TO HUMANITY!  I live in a town whose population is about 400!  And we live paycheck to paycheck!

So, did I think I could get healthy and fit on my own, was a stretch by itself. But to think that one day I might inspire, motivate, and even help and coach others on their paths would have never even crossed my mind.

NOW? Now it is my biggest dream and greatest joy in life. Whether it be through classes I am teaching, a workout I designed, or through being a Beachbody Coach, or just talking to someone about nutrition, exercise, or finding their confidence and self worth, I feel I am doing what I am meant to do.

This post was brought to you by my friend and fellow Beachbody coach, Andy, after he posted one of my favorite Twain quotes this morning~

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

So don’t live your life in fear of failure. You will regret NEVER doing things you wish you had than doing them and failing. And if you keep working, there is no failing. You are ALWAYS a work in progress. I may feel “blah” at times, but I KNOW I am not a failure. I am just an unfinished masterpiece! 🙂

MAKE today GREAT!!!

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30-Days To a More Confident You! Day 24!!!

CRAZY morning on the Turnbaugh “Orphan Kitty” Ranch again! Got to work late so trying to sneak in a quick post!  I am learning ALL KINDS of interesting things about having kitties!  Some are really cool, but some are down right disturbing!  It is early as I write this, so I won’t go into details, but I had to separate them this morning! 😦  I am sad that they have to be alone in their own spaces, but I guess somethings just MUST be done!

Today’s Confidence Builder~

30-Days To a More Confident You!

Day 24 – Take An Impromptu Class!

What a perfect day for this one! I am teaching a slightly shortened Zumba Class tonight at Legacy Martial Arts! So if you have been thinking about trying out a Zumba class, or are afraid you couldn’t make it through a full hour class, TONIGHT IS YOUR NIGHT! We will be cutting it short by about 15 minutes, so I can be cleaned up and out of the building by 9PM! So 8:00-8:45 in the Oak Street Mall!

BUT…if you are not local, consider dropping in on a class! Don’t think about it and stew about it, just GO! Really! Most places will let you take your first class for FREE if you ask, SO ASK!

What kind of classes would you like to do or have you done in the past? If there was something you loved, do it again! Even if you think you are too out of shape, how will you build your endurance back up for it if you don’t try??? And if there is something that you always wanted to try but didn’t have the guts….TODAY is that day! Do not put off enjoying your life for even one more day!

GO OUT and LIVE!!!  Only you can MAKE your days GREAT!!!

Head UP! Shoulders BACK! Smile ON! Now get out there and take on the world!!!

Confidence Builders – Day 23…INDULGE YOURSELF!

Today I find myself struggling to keep my eyes open.  I have had the 2 orphan kitties for 11 days now, and I don’t think I have gotten more than 5 hours of sleep per night since they showed up.  They are getting bigger and doing well, so I think that is all about to change, but as of right now, I AM TIRED!

I am telling you all of this, because this post might seem like one big ramble.  I hope it makes sense. 🙂  Have a great day!


30-Days To a More Confident You!

Day 23 – Indulge Yourself!

What does that mean? Well first off, it does NOT say OVER Indulge Yourself! But total deprivation will NOT work! Let’s take fitness competitors as an example. Their diets are SO strict, that many of them have rebound weight gain, because it is NOT a lifestyle sustainable diet. Another example is fighters who fight in a weight class that is below their natural “fit and healthy” weight. They deplete and get “super lean”. Being super lean may be needed to win a competition or make weight for a fight, but for most people to be that lean is not sustainable and can make them actually fall into a binge – deprivation cycle, that is actually more unhealthy than carrying a bit of extra weight.

What I am talking about when I say Indulge is a treat meal maybe once a week that you can look forward too. For me, just knowing that I was going to get to have “Beer And Pizza” night with tony every Friday night, helped me stay on track the rest of the week. Oh sure, I may have over indulged at times which made my initial weight loss(125# over 18 months) seem like it took a LONG time to those who look for quick fixes that say they will “Lose 50# in a Month!”, but I have also kept it off for 3+ years now.

Those who lose too fast tend to be the ones who struggle the most to keep it off. Taking it slow and one step at a time and LEARNING how to be Fit and Healthy, makes it easier. I may struggle with 10# or so back and forth, but for the most part I am pretty content with where I am.  I am healthy, and I wear a size 6. That FAR exceeds the goals I set for myself back in 2008, and I can honestly say that I enjoy the exercise I do and the way I eat. AND….I LOVE MY LIFE! I have some GREAT new friends who are like minded and enjoy the same things I do and I have an AWESOME husband who, although he misses me sometimes because I am so busy right now, supports me and my dreams! What more can a girl ask for? 

So INDULGE! Have that piece of cake at your 5 year old’s Birthday Party! Have a cocktail when you go out for your Anniversary. Eat a slice of pizza every now and then. You are working on LIFELONG HEALTHY HABITS, not starving yourself to look good for 5 minutes!

MAKE today GREAT!!!

Head UP! Shoulders BACK! Smile ON! Now get out there and take on the world!!!

A little added bonus, here is my CHEAT MEAL RULES! that I have for myself.


  1. PLAN YOUR INDULGENCES! – No spur of the moment SPLURGES or BINGES!
  4. DO NOT OVER INDULGE! – Portion Control! Do not STUFF yourself!
  5. ONCE IT IS OVER….MOVE ON!!! No beating yourself up for it! One bad meal does NOT deserve another!



Accountability and P90X


accountabilityHey Folks!

Well, if you follow me on Facebook, you know I was SICK last weekend.  So between being busy, then sick, and now having to catch up on all I missed, I am just finally getting this post done.  I am putting it ALL out there with this one!  I know I should be REALLY proud of these pictures considering how far I have come, but I will admit I am still very nervous about putting these out there.  But I said I would, so here Ya go.

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This is the suit that I intend to wear IN PUBLIC for the 4th of July!  I know, this is about as “public” as you can get, but I am going to wear it and BE PROUD to do so by then!  I have gotten soft over the last couple months, and I am ready to kick it back into high gear and show myself exactly what I am made of! 🙂

So far, I spent 3 of the days since I started with a HORRIBLE stomach bug!  I decided since that was as far as I had gotten, that I would just start over on Day one as of this Monday.  So today is Day 5, and the workouts are going GREAT!  I am still struggling to get my macros the way they should be, but my calorie level has been pretty good.

Well, if you know me, you know just how “Out of my Comfort Zone” this post is.  But it is only the beginning!  With my determination, Beachbody, Shakeology, and a great support group, I am going to achieve AWESOME results!  Ya’All will be knocking down my door to get on a Challenge Group!  LOL!

BTW…I know I haven’t kept you all too much in the loop about my training for the Illinois Half I-Challenge coming up in 2 weeks!  That is a 5k on April 26th and a half-marathon on April 27th in Champaign, IL.  I am meeting a big group of friends that I met on weight loss support groups(NOVO Wellness and BLC)!  Many of them I have  met before, but some I have never met, and I am SO excited!  Training has been….pretty good.  I still get frustrated by the speed I lost after my injury, but I am learning to accept it.  When I try to press the speed too fast, I am in pain.  When I let my body just do its natural thing, I LOVE running again.  So tomorrow is my last LONG run before taper week.  I can’t believe how fast that seemed to sneak up on me!

I will be updating these pics in about 3 weeks!  I hope to see some improvement by then.  Until then, follow me daily on Facebook at Body By Brenda, and I will keep you up to date in here as often as possible.


‘Tis the season!

It’s been a while!  Been a bit busy trying to fit Christmas planning and preparations in with everything else that is going on.  WHEW!  I am NOT getting proper sleep, which probably why I feel a cold coming on and I have a POUNDING headache as I type this.  BUT….I needed to get in here to stay accountable.  Speaking of…….

Confession time.  I did not do so well last week on my gluten free diet.  Which, in turn, resulted in some horrible cystic acne on my face and shoulders.  I also started holding fluid again.  I have only lost 2# of the 7# I gained from it so far.  Hoping that it comes back off before the end of the BL Challenge at Legacy.  maybe I should follow Mr Bentley’s lead and try a weight cut over the next week and a half.   My diet is going to have to be spot on though, because I am going to have to cut back on a few workouts over the next week.  I hate that, but I am already not getting enough sleep, and I can’t afford to be sick right now.

Why is it sometimes so hard to do what you know is best for you?  We all have slip ups.  But the only time you FAIL is when you quit trying.  I wasn’t going to mention this, because I am a bit ashamed of myself for making such bad choices, but I figured I should share it so that you all can see that just because I have had success with weight loss, at times I do still struggle.  I have to make a conscious choice EVERY day to be healthy.  Diets, 90-Day Challenges, and workout routines like “30-Days to Flat Abs”, only work short-term.  UNLESS you learn to incorporate the healthy aspects of such plans in to your PERMANENT HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!   This is the reason I have always allowed “earned meals” in my diet.  It is not  realistic to say I am NEVER going to eat junk food EVER again.  Just hopefully not pizza!  UNLESS it has a gluten free crust.

This time of year can make it tough to stick to a healthy lifestyle with all the parties and such.  So if you are trying to lose weight, maybe for the next couple weeks, if you feel you are putting so much stress on yourself by working on losing maybe cut yourself a little slack, enjoy a few treats, and just try to focus on maintenance!  Keep it in moderation!  But remember…Life WILL happen!  Eat SMART, but do not get to a place of deprivation, or you will just end up resenting the whole process and quitting may seem like an option.  DON’T LET IT BE!

Stay strong!  It will be over before you know it!  Enjoy your time with family and friends!  Focus on the time together, NOT the food:)

As a Christian, Christmas is my favorite time of year!  So if you share my beliefs, Merry Christmas!  If not, however you celebrate, have a Happy Holiday Season!

Catching up!

What a whirlwind the last week or so has been.  Mostly good, but unfortunately some bad.

Classes and the BL Challenge at Legacy Martial Arts is going AWESOME!!!  I wish there were more people in not only the martial arts/health/fitness world like Mr Robert Bentley, but in the world in general.  May people are taking advantage of it(the place has been packed for every class all week:), but there are still people in this community that don’t realize exactly what he is trying to give them.  7 weeks of FREE fitness classes that are filled with inspiration and motivation.   Plus the nutrition and other tips that are being given out.  It is such a wonderful thing to be a part of, and I feel blessed.

Me and my personal progress?  UH…not sure exactly what happened(I am guessing it has to do with my body finally working with the GF diet and ridding itself of a lot of inflammation), but I lost nearly 6# last week.  I do NOT expect that again this week,  but I feel good to be back to a number that I am more comfortable with.  I KNOW!  I KNOW!!!  I tell you all to not worry about the number on the scale, and then I still let it freak me out!  I work on this mind game all the time.  It was a deeply seeded in my mind when I was VERY young.  Actually by my childhood pediatrician/neighbor.  That number HAD to be under a certain number and ANY belly fat was BAD!  And he made sure I knew that I had WAY TOO MUCH of it!  Even today, I could be thin everywhere else, but as long as I still have a little belly bulge, I fear that in my mind, I will always still think of myself as that fat little girl who hated to go to the doctor.  I will always be a work in progress:)

OH!  And also on the Gluten Free subject…I personally have thought that my complexion was getting better.  No cysts and some of the blotchy-ness is clearing up, but today, my sister-in-law made an out of the blue comment about how much more clear my skin looks.  That made me feel fantastic:)

Over the weekend, my nephew married a wonderful girl in a spectacular, beautiful wedding and then we celebrated all evening and if you have never met me…I LOVE to dance!  It makes me happy!  So after about 2.5 hours of dancing, I was one happy girl!  And the biggest and best wishes go out to my wonderful nephew and his equally wonderful new bride:)  Love them two!

I also ran a 5k Saturday morning.  Not a bad time for me, about 32 minutes.  Great course, just a bit windy, but the perfect temp.  Then I went straight to Legacy for FIT class.  So as you can see, Saturday was pretty busy, which left Sunday to do ALL of my weekend stuff in one day.   Which, did not work out great for me since I was starting to feel a little blah already by the afternoon, which then went into full blown not feeling well around 3AM Monday:P  I even stayed home from work yesterday.  I also was without internet from Saturday afternoon through Monday afternoon.  Talk about feeling cut off from the world!  I missed you all!  Back today, but a little sluggish still, and hoping that my effort at class tonight will even look CLOSE to what I am used to putting out.

I also wanted to tell you all, that since I have been asked MANY times WHAT exactly I eat, that I am working on something.  Although I will not post an actual “diet”, because I believe there is no “one-size-fits all” diet, I am working on a Foods List that shows the foods that I try to have in my diet (except that I am now gluten free, and this list will not reflect that).  I will hopefully have it organized and finished by next week.

Until next time….Eat Healthy!  Train Hard!  Put one foot in front of the other!  AND  Make Each Day GREAT!

A little inspiration from the one of my favorite IFBB Pros, Nicole Wilkins!


Gluten Free and this weeks progress!

ON EDIT!  Sorry, I changed my line of thinking and NOT the title.  GF snacking will be coming soon:)

I know it has been nearly a week since I have been in here, but I have NOT been slacking off!  Quite the opposite actually.  I have been really busy, and I don’t see a n end in sight for at least another week, so I am trying to knock out a quick blog post on a break at work to catch up a bit:)

Starting with the gluten free experiment.  I believe I am starting to see some good effects from it.  I have only had one small cyst on my face in the last 2.5 weeks.  I wish it would solve ALL of my blemish problems, but I do blame some on hormones considering the timing.  I also think I am noticing less bloating in my belly.  I have still not accomplished 100% GF, but I am getting closer, and am curious to see what other changes I will see.

Next, my diet overall.  Pretty good!  Staying on track with the calorie range I have set for myself, but thinking I may be just a tad high, so may try to lower by at least 100/day over the next week and see how I feel.  Then go from there.  It is hard to find that balance some times as your body changes.   Be patient and keep doing what you know is right!  Success WILL come.

And finally…the workouts!  Going GREAT!  I am lifting 1-2 body parts per day 4 days a week, FIT class 2 days a week, yoga one day a week, Zumba 3 days a week, and  running or other cardio 4 days a week.  I will do this for one more week to see if it is overload, and see if I need to adjust something.  Training HARD is one thing, but over training is another.  No time for a plateau in the middle of a 7-week challenge:)

Well, this actually took me BOTH of my breaks, and now I have to finish my work so I can head to the gym in about an hour and a half!

Take a step forward on your healthy journey and Make today GREAT!


The Holiday season is now upon us!  Halloween is over(though the candy is still lingering) and Thanksgiving is exactly 3 WEEKS away!  After that, starts what is commonly known as one big food fest right through Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and right up until the dreaded 1st of January which is when, in our minds at least, it all comes to a screeching halt and the “resolutions” begin!

I am here to propose a challenge to you!

What if we defy the odds together and get a jump on all the New Years fitness hoopla and work on getting fit NOW!  Starting Monday, we have exactly 7 weeks until Christmas Eve.  Do you want to be the “Average American” and gain 5-10# by then, or would you like to see what kind of fitness goals you can achieve by then?  ME?   I am participating in a challenge at Legacy Martial Arts, that I have set my goals for.  But for those of you who can not join me there, we can still do this together.  If there is enough interest, let me know on my FB page and I will open up the Facebook Group that I have set up for anyone wants to join in.

Even if your goal is “only” to get through the holidays without gaining, that is still a FABULOUS goal!  All the parties, goodies, baking, you name it, makes it HARD!  And TRUST ME…it helps to have someone to share the frustrations with!  A support group can sometimes be your most valuable fitness/weight loss tool.

Let’s talk goals.  SMART goals!


Here is my SMART goal for the next 7 weeks:

I am going to train hard 5-6 days a week, and get my BF down to 19%(specific and measurable). That is only about 3.5%(approx 6-7# of fat), so it is realistic and should be attainable in 7 weeks time with hard work!

The only question left to ask……How bad to I want it??? Bad enough that I hope to see a big enough difference in 7 weeks, that on December 22nd, this pic looks like a “before” pic.

So….what is my plan?  Not much different than my current lifestyle, but instead of just working out and eating clean, I will be “in training”.  In training for what you ask?   HHMMMMM…not positive yet, but a new adventure could be right around the next corner.  A competition maybe?  Trying to win Transformation of the Week on  Just to wear a bikini in public without being self-conscious???  You just never know, but my dreams are big and…..

Who is with me???