“Hello, my name is Brad and I am a food addict.”

All kidding aside, that headline is the truth. My truth. And I want to tell you why I think it’s

important to share my truth with others who are working to become more fit and healthy.

Some Are Born to Fitness, Others Work Their Asses Off

There are many fitness and nutrition experts out there who have never had a weight problem and were always athletic. That, of course, makes sense since many people are drawn to careers in areas where they naturally excel. But I—Brad Dienstbier, owner of the Bodysmith—am not one of them.

I came to this career path after years of struggles and after discovering not only a commitment to health and fitness but also a passion to help others find their own commitment.

‘Fat Brad’…Gone But Not Forgotten

For most of my young life, I was overweight. I was called “fat” and bullied at school. Heck, even my friends had a nickname for me. “The bull.” Hardly a compliment, even if they meant no harm. Was my former hefty self the result of a hormonal imbalance or some metabolic disturbance? Nope. I just loved eating!

That would be fine if I loved gorging on vegetables, but my natural foods of choice were empty carbohydrates like tortilla chips…or salty, fatty foods like pizza.

But a lot of people who love the same foods can still maintain a decent level of fitness if they control their cravings. Me? Not so much. You see I am an emotional eater.

Stressed out? “Come here entire bag of chips and salsa.”
Feeling rejected? “A pizza will sure make me feel better.”

Some of you out there understand this trap. After we mindlessly eat without thoughts of the consequences we start to regret our actions. Then, in the aftermath, we are even further away from feeling good about ourselves. It’s the old ‘Wash. Rinse. Repeat.’ conundrum.

‘Fit Brad’…Here to Stay

I was never an athlete. I was clumsy, awkward, self-conscious and was usually picked last for the kickball team. I played organized soccer with friends, but would never have been called a promising athlete in my youth. In fact, I remember collapsing for lack of breath many, many times. (Looking back now I realize that I had undiagnosed exercise-induced asthma. Good times!)

As high school progressed I discovered weight lifting and gradually trimmed down. So even though my natural hormones began to kick in, my eating habits were still awful. Three days each week my workout and partner and I would enjoy a post-workout meal of a large pepperoni pizza and salad bar (swimming in blue cheese dressing), or an entire loaf of wonder bread made into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Then, when I hit my 20s, I gained weight. A lot of weight. I reached 240lbs. I had continued to lift weights and had a new found love of bicycle riding, but as I neared 30 I began to accumulate injuries. Shoulder, back, hips, knees, hands…I was on a path to a life of debilitating pain. Many activities were uncomfortable and I became depressed. Something had to give and unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) it was my back.

A Turning Point

Cliché as it sounds, the turning point in my life was January 1, 2000. I am also a musician and was doing a recording session with friends at a local studio. I was eating a triple cheeseburger while sitting cross-legged on the floor and leaned forward to grab another bite when I felt a “pop.” I was in terrible pain but I still managed to finish my burger and the session while lying flat on my back.

The following day I had to fly back to Texas (my home at the time), and the journey was excruciating, unbearable even. I spent the next 2 weeks on the floor unable to even walk. This was it…I had hit rock bottom.

I saw a spine doctor and he referred me to a physical therapist that gave me sound treatment and advised me on ways to change my lifestyle. I had finally come face to face with my future and it was frightening. I needed to take charge of my destiny.

I began by walking. Each morning I got up and walked trying to increase my distance and intensity slowly. I also began to incorporate new weight training in conjunction with my PT. I found a diet plan in a health magazine and followed it perfectly for 6 days a week (with some splurges on the weekends.)

The weight began to come off and my pain decreased. It was an amazing feeling to buy new jeans every few months as my body changed. I wanted to share with others how great it felt to be in control, so I enrolled in a community college program for personal training. Soon, I achieved my first certification and was surer than ever that I had found a new passion in life.

My Mission

Today, as the owner of the Bodysmith, I am able to feed my passion to empower others to take control of their lives. I am proud to say we help men and women, young and old, fit and frail, from all walks of life. We strive to help each and every one of them achieve their goals in the safest, most rewarding way possible. You see, I have been where many of you are…struggling with food and fitness, injuries and stress…so you won’t hear me preach to you from a place of the “fitness elite.”

So, even more than a dozen years after I found my calling I still deal with my own struggles because old habits do die hard. Food is still a temptation; pain and injury are ongoing risks, and I have setbacks from time to time. But through it all I am forging ahead, gaining strength from my team at the Bodysmith, inspiration from our members and a sense of accomplishment at my progress to date.

You see, we are a product of our past choices. Even today, I have a good friend who tells me “I miss fat Brad” when we are reminiscing about our past salad days. (Salad days? If only…). It’s all in jest, but it’s also a good reminder. No matter how hard we try, we can’t—and shouldn’t—ever forget where we came from. It is our commitment to the future that needs to drive us forward, but our memories of the past can often provide the fuel for the journey.

To learn more about how you can become a member of our Fit Family visit us at www.theBodysmith.com

Dedicated to your success,

– Coach Brad

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