Stop and Smell the Daisies

Helping a grandmother blossom from poor health into a fit new future.

By Judy Minich
May 21, 2019

CLIENT: Brenda Badish

PERSONAL TRAINER: Kelly Fletcher

LOCATION: KFit Studios, Brighton, Michigan

Brenda Badish had almost given up hope that she could regain her health. “I figured I was a few weeks away from pushing up the daisies,” she says.

Almost is the key word. “I could push up daisies, or I could decide to enjoy them,” recalls Badish, then aged 68. “I decided to enjoy them.”

That decision sowed the seeds for a remarkable transformation, one that flourished because of a trainer with the skills—and patience—to help a determined client create a new life.

“Brenda came into the facility with her daughter, who had to assist her because of her size,” says Kelly Fletcher, a multicertified instructor and the owner of KFit Studios. “She is only 5 feet tall, and she weighed 300 pounds. She had arthritis and was on many medications. She could not step on a treadmill or use any of the equipment. The challenges were numerous and complex.”

Weeding Out Doubt

Brenda Badish Before

Brenda initially had her doubts; she was “utterly surprised” that Fletcher agreed to train her at all. But Fletcher was ready; she began by finding exercises that Brenda could do with less pain.

“We walked the length of the pool in the water for months,” Fletcher says. “Then it was months on the treadmill. We then started to use a weight in one hand. We tried every piece of equipment until we were successful in one way or another. When she was finally able to be on a stationary bike, I knew she was on her way.”

Considering that it took Brenda months just to start indoor cycling, it’s clear that Fletcher is a firm believer in “meeting clients where they are” and can attest that the process works.

Finding Fertile Ground

“There were challenges with everything Brenda did,” Fletcher says. “Emotionally, physically, spiritually and metabolically. We discussed everything. She fought at first, but she developed trust in me. When the weight started to come off, she got energized and began to believe in herself. She became a new person.”

In fact, Brenda lost more than 145 pounds and significantly lowered her body fat. She has completed more than 25 5Ks and participated in eight triathlons. She was even featured in a documentary, The Embrace of Aging, The Female Perspective of Growing Old, signing autographs at the film’s premiere.

“She [still trains] with me, has kept the weight off and continues with indoor cycling and strength-and-conditioning classes. She is an integral part of my life and my business,” says Fletcher.

Garden-Variety Advice

Brenda Badish and Kelly Fletcher

While the results of this training plan are extraordinary, the philosophy behind it is simple. “Brenda is proof that a regular healthy diet and exercise really do work,” Fletcher explains.

As most gardeners know, patience is the key to enjoying what you’ve planted. “None of this happens quickly,” Fletcher says. “Brenda was patient, and she trusted me. I used my personal training and health coach knowledge, and I learned a great deal from her doctors, which led me to getting my medical exercise specialist certification. Now I can work with others who have medical challenges.”

In other words, Fletcher and her client have both grown from their partnership; they’ve even been able to stop and smell the daisies along the way.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Do you have a client who has overcome the odds to achieve new heights in health and fitness? Send your story to [email protected], and you and your client may be featured in an upcoming issue of Fitness Journal.

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Judy Minich

Judy Minich is the production editor for IDEA publications.

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