Fit Issue: BROWN DUDLEY, 37

Owner of Ultimate Foods and Plato’s Closet, Southaven

Family: Wife, Allie; two sons, Brown (3) and Holmes (9 weeks old)

Sport: Weight Lifting

Most of my workouts are divided between strength and hypertrophy training. To focus on strength, I choose as heavy a weight as I can manage at five reps, then I take a long rest (usually three minutes) between sets. To focus on muscle growth, I decrease the weight, increase the reps, and shorten the rest period between sets (no more than 90 seconds).

I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in 2015. I have a 90% chance of living 20 more years. Currently it’s less risky to try to manage and live with my cancer than to attempt to cure it, so I take a chemo pill every day. But as with any obstacle in life, you can sit around and mope and complain or find a way to adapt and thrive. I’m constantly choosing the latter.

I had been working out prior to being diagnosed but nothing close to the level I’ve dedicated myself to over the last year and half. I’ve had two major changes since diagnosis. First, I started reading everything I could on nutrition and made major changes to the quality of the food I was consuming. My focus was primarily on cutting back on processed foods and added sugars. Second, I became extremely motivated to keep my body in shape in the event I ever have to face harsher treatments for my cancer in the future. The stronger I am going into those types of scenarios, the better I’ll be able to handle and rebound from them.

About six months into treatment I had lost a ton of weight and was tired all of the time. I could barely muster up the energy to play with my son and had difficulty concentrating. I talked to my oncologist about exercising to build up my stamina. He encouraged me to do so but to also focus on my diet and avoid supplements since the chemo was taxing my liver and kidneys.

I designed a week-long diet, meal by meal. I dedicated the better half of my Sundays to cooking a week’s worth of meals and then set an alarm on my phone to eat every 2-3 hours. It didn’t take long to start to seeing and feeling the results. Eventually, I went to work without one of my meals, which left me scrambling trying to figure out a replacement. A few doors down from my office was an Ultimate Foods, which prepares healthy meals on the go, so I gave them a try. Their prepared meals were 10,000 times tastier than anything I was making for myself, and it was convenient. I began supplementing my meals with theirs more and more. I became such a fan of the concept and passionate about the lifestyle that I contacted the owner and told him, “I want to buy your business.” I wanted to immerse myself in a business where I could motivate and inspire others to live their best without having to go through a health scare like I did.

Since purchasing Ultimate Foods we have been consulting with Andrea LeTard on recipe development. Andrea is the host of Andrea’s Cooktales, a personal chef, a culinary instructor, and a contributor to several media outlets (including Memphis Health & Fitness). The Summer Squash Bake, which she consulted on, has been a wildly successful vegetarian option since it recently hit the shelves.

My advice to others is to plan ahead what you’re going to eat and what you’re going to lift at the gym. If you don’t, you’ll end up eating whatever unhealthy thing is within reach and you’ll waste time during your workout.

Photo by Philip Murphy. Compiled by Amy Goode.

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