Brenda Lopez – Fitness Model Statistics
Name: Brenda (Bre) Lopez
Date of Birth: July 16, 1981
Weight: 106 pounds
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Brenda Lopez – Fitness Model Interview
Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I am 33 years old and I’m from a small town in south Texas. I graduated with a Master of Arts in Organizational Management, and I work as a Program Manager for Process Improvement in Austin, Texas. I grew up enjoying what every other kid enjoys like playing outside and participating in all kinds of sports. It never felt like I was limited from doing something I wanted to do and my parents always encouraged my siblings and I to be active and eat healthy. I remember our Sunday treat from my mother was to sit on the front porch and eat cold, sweet watermelon.
I started focusing on fitness when I was eleven years old. My mother used to go to a “women’s only gym” and she used to take me with her. I remember sitting there and watching all these ladies do a dancing routine. I didn’t know it was called “aerobics”, but it looked fun, and I asked my mother if I could do it too, at least during summer break. I loved it so much to the point that I actually competed with three other teenage girls and won second place with our aerobics routine. Running came soon after when I went back to school. I never really competed or ran track but my father used to take me on long runs. I wasn’t fast and my form wasn’t perfect but it was the perfect way to bond with my father. As I got older, I started to have more difficulties with my energy levels while constantly getting muscle cramps in my legs and arms. I was often told I just needed to drink more water.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with something called “Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis” which is a rare condition that causes occasional episodes of severe muscle weakness and low potassium levels. It is often triggered by a high carbohydrate diet and strenuous exercise. As I mentioned before, I was experiencing lack of energy, irregular heartbeats, and muscle cramps. I was constantly in the hospital hooked up to a machine that would monitor my heart. I felt weak, dizzy and had migraines with no energy at all. There were many times I thought I was not going to make it to the next day. Finally, once my diagnosis was given I had no other choice but to learn everything there is about Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.
After learning about this rare condition, it seemed almost impossible to become a distance runner but that didn’t stop me from doing what I love the most. I had to learn how to manage this condition by changing my eating habits and physical activity. After twelve years, I have been able to run over seven half-marathons and many local races.
Being diagnosed with a low potassium deficiency that causes severe muscle weakness is not easy to deal with but it has been my biggest motivator to keep fighting, running, and getting fit and healthy. I ran my last half marathon in one hour and forty minutes. I am proud of what I have accomplished regardless of the obstacles I have faced with my condition.
Running is my passion and I am good at it. I feel free and at peace when I run. Some people need yoga to relax. I just need a pair of running shoes and a trail to find that peace of mind. Running keeps me healthy, fit and most important, content with my life. Some people might never understand the feeling I get after a long run, especially when running a race. I always think to myself, “Thank you God for helping me get through another day, another run, and another race without any muscle weakness”.
In life, we are constantly facing obstacles but we can choose how to react to them. Whether you are facing self-esteem issues, stress, addictions, relationship struggles or a serious illness like mine, don’t let anything stop you from doing what you love the most. Facing obstacles can make us better and stronger people. Love others, but love yourself more.
Dealing with my illness has taught me to love myself and to allow some imperfections in my life. God has a plan for me and I believe he wants me to inspire others to live life to the fullest regardless of the obstacles people face.
How and why did you get started in fitness?
After my diagnosis with Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, I decided to take charge of my life, this health condition, and my health. This has been my biggest motivator to keep fighting, running, and getting fit and healthy. It has been rough at times but I have always seem to make it through. That’s why some people call me a “tough cookie”!
What is the best thing about being fit and living a healthy lifestyle?
The best thing about being fit and living a healthy lifestyle, besides looking good, is the joy and happiness it brings to my life every single day. Being fit and feeling healthy makes me feel like a super woman while always being happy, positive and motivated. It improves my overall health, reduces stress, and gives me piece of mind to know that I am only adding more years to my life every time I workout or eat healthy food.
Tell us about your biggest fitness influence?
I feel like I am my biggest influence when it comes to fitness. I come from a town where obesity is normal and there’s not much education about the benefits of healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle. I had to learn how nutrition can have a great impact on my health and my condition, and I try to learn something new every day about how I can improve my health and avoid depending on medications. The more natural it is, the better for me.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
My greatest achievement so far has been to be able to live a normal life besides having a rare condition that causes muscle weakness and could affect my heart. I have been able to run many local races and half marathon races with a PR (personal record) of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
What is your favorite body part on yourself and on the opposite sex?
My favorite part of my body are my legs. I love strong and defined legs, therefore, I work on them as much as I can, but I do try to keep a balanced workout. My favorite part of the body on the opposite sex is a nice and strong upper body.
What kind of cardio do you like best and why?
Running is my passion and my favorite type of cardio. I feel free and at peace when I run. Running keeps me healthy, fit, and most important content with my life. Some people might never understand the feeling I get after a long run, especially when running a competitive race.
What type of nutritional supplements do you use?
I actually take muscle gainers after my workouts in addition to my vitamins and potassium supplements. I try to stay as natural as possible by eating plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.
What do you think of the latest fitness trends like P90X, Insanity and CrossFit?
I have done the Insanity workout and it definitely helped me with speed and conditioning. I think all of those fitness programs work as long as people stay focused and motivated. It takes a couple of weeks to see results, so keeping up and finishing the workout series along with proper diet can definitely help people achieve any fitness goal they might have.
What type of food or supplements do you consume pre-workout and post-workout?
When I can, I try to eat a healthy snack before my workout such as mixed nuts, apples with almond butter, or a protein bar. My post-workout supplement is my muscle gainer shake with either 1% fat-free milk or almond milk. I also have a mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats for dinner. There is no way I will skip a meal!
How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food?
I love sweets and anyone that knows me can tell you I have a weakness for them. However, I try to stay focused on my diet during the week and treat myself on the weekends. I workout every day for almost two hours, so I deserve my sweets! Also, I have to make sure I limit my unhealthy carbs due to my condition.
What are the contents of your refrigerator?
Fruits, veggies, milk, yogurt, cheese, hummus, eggs, bread and lots of containers for preparing my meals. I love to meal prep for the week! It is easy, cheap and healthy.
What are your top 3 favorite exercises and why?
I like doing full body workout to build strong legs, a nice booty and sexy arms! My 3 favorite exercises are:
- Arm Exercises (bicep curls, tricep pushdowns)
What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to stay on a clean diet?
Drink a full glass of water before your meal. Ask for the dressing on the side and avoid the appetizer or complimentary chips, salsa or bread that comes with the meal.
What does your gym playlist look like and what’s your favorite song to listen to when training?
I love techno and dance music so my playlist must include music from DJ’s like Afrojack, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, and Calvin Harris. My favorite song right now is a mix of David Guetta and Nicki Minaj called “Hey Mama”. It really keeps me going!
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
I am constantly battling with my weight. For some people it’s hard to lose weight, and for some of us it’s hard to put on weight. I struggle with putting on the extra pounds so I try to lift heavy weights during my workouts, eat multiple times a day and include lots of lean protein along with drinking my muscle gainer.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Meal #1: Overnight oats with a protein bar.
- Meal #2: Apples and almond butter.
- Meal #3: Protein, veggies, and sweet potatoes or whole wheat pasta.
- Meal #4: Hummus and pita chips or mixed nuts.
- Meal #5: Protein bar.
- Meal #6: Protein with some type of carbs (usually fish, chicken tacos or salmon, chicken sandwich).
- Meal #7: Protein shake or muscle gainer.
If you could share only one bodybuilding tip that has really helped you succeed, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of hitting the weights. Most females are afraid of getting “big and bulky” but in fact, weight lifting has helped me build muscle, burn fat, and speed up my metabolism. Plus I love my muscle definition!
How does your family, friends and significant other react to and deal with your strict fitness lifestyle?
Well, I got the running from my dad, and my mom loves to dance and used to do aerobics when she was younger. They support my lifestyle when it comes to fitness. I try to surround myself with friends that love fitness and staying fit and healthy as much as I do. My boyfriend and I lift together and have done races together and that is definitely something I enjoy doing with him. Gym time is our quality time!
What are your top 5 tips for losing body fat and getting shredded?
- Drink plenty of water since it’s the best natural detoxifier.
- Eat small meals, several meals a day (at least three main meals and two snacks).
- Read food labels.
- Mix up your workout with cardio and weight lifting.
- Rest and let your muscles recover. Sleep a full 8 hours each night.
What are your top 5 tips for building muscle and packing on size?
- Lift heavy weights with lower reps.
- Eat lots of lean protein.
- Make sure you eat enough calories each day.
- Train your largest muscle groups like chest, back and legs.
- Don’t forget to drink your protein shakes!
What is your training routine like?
- Monday: Running or sprints for about 5-6 miles.
- Tuesday: Chest and back (5 different exercises, 4 sets each of 8 reps).
- Wednesday: Running 3-5 miles and shoulders (4 exercises, 4 sets of 8 reps).
- Thursday: Leg and booty (6-7 different exercises, 4 sets each of 8 reps).
- Friday: Rest day or yoga.
- Saturday: Full body workout (chest, back, shoulders, abs, arms, legs with 3 different exercises of each for 4 sets of 6-8 reps).
- Sunday: Rest day.
What is your favorite healthy food and your favorite cheat food?
I love apples with almond butter for my favorite healthy food. It is an easy and quick snack that gives me the energy I need to get my workout started. My favorite cheat food is ice cream with cookies. I love butter pecan or caramel ice cream!
How do you stay motivated?
I write a blog every day called “The Fit Girl Talk” where I share intensive workouts, healthy tips and recipes, and share motivational quotes. I have quite the followers and knowing that someone out there is making a life change helps to keep me motivated.
What does the future hold for you?
I hope to retire from my current profession and perhaps continue to develop my blog by reaching out to more people. I also want to become a personal trainer and maybe have a workout group for free. As far as a personal dream, I want to run a marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon with a finish time of under 3 and half hours.