Three years ago, Brandi Morgan, 28, moved to Memphis from Nashville with her fiancé, Aaron Turek, and three-month-old daughter, Hannah. She found herself struggling in a new city while trying to navigate the early stages of motherhood.
Her pregnancy had been high risk, which made her fearful jostle around her baby with exercise. Brandi became sedentary and gained a significant amount of weight during her pregnancy. On top of that, she experienced a traumatic birth and recovery.
“Even walking to the mailbox left me out of breath,” Brandi says.
Once moving to the Bluff City, she started to get out, meet other moms, and find local events.
“Memphis has some of the friendliest people and communities I’ve ever met,” she says.
Six months in to being a Memphian and new mom, Brandi and Aaron found out they were expecting again. The excitement and fear was overwhelming. Brandi found herself circling back to one thought, ” I have to get in shape now or else this pregnancy will go the same way as the last.”
Wanting to be able to play, run, and encourage her children to live happy and healthy lives, she came to the realization that she had to be that example for them. While living in Southaven, she started doing yoga religiously at DeSoto Athletic Club.
“To this day yoga is such a special practice close to my heart because it helped form that mind-body connection that was lost,” she adds.
Brandi slowly worked in weights and eventually hired a trainer. Staying active through her second pregnancy allowed for an easier birth and recovery—for which she was incredibly grateful.
Six weeks postpartum with her son Connor, Brandi found Fit4mom Memphis, which became her tribe.
“I loved being able to bring my babies with me to work out and having the community of moms who get it,” she says.
“I loved being able to bring my babies with me to work out and having the community of moms who get it.”
Often, the one-hour Fit4Mom workout was the only time Brandi had to herself. She appreciated that all of the moms could show up just as they were: some exhausted from sleep-deprived nights and in all shapes, forms, and sizes.
After about a year of working out with Fit4Mom, her instructor asked Brandi to become a trainer. Eventually, she became an instructor and was able to help so many moms on their journey.
“Being an instructor has been the biggest gift, to be able to throw out a hand and pull others up from the trenches you were once in—it’s incredible.”
Brandi also became a certified personal trainer and works with clients in all stages of life. She goes to clients’ homes and also trains clients in her own home.
“If I can get even one mom to believe in herself and find her strength and happiness, then I’ve done my job. Sometimes all it takes is someone else believing in you until you can see it yourself. I am forever grateful to everyone who believed in me and helped me get here today because there is no way I could have done this on my own.”
Since having her son, who is now two, Brandi has lost 66 pounds. She acknowledges that she is a work in progress and has about 20 pounds to go, but she is proud of the headway she has made.
Brandi also got Aaron on board with working out and a healthy lifestyle. They work out at a CrossFit gym in Arlington, and her passion for health and wellness has trickled down through her entire family.
Part of her journey was reevaluating her relationship with food. She didn’t come from a household that understood calories, proteins, or fats.
“I was clueless. I had no idea how much I was eating in a day. To me, it’s about reevaluating my whole relationship with food and not use it as a coping mechanism.”
Brandi says that working out is now how she deals with stress. While she sometimes falls off the wagon, she consistently picks herself back up and gets back into her routine.
By Christin Yates
Photo by Tindall Stephens