IT’S PRETTY SPECIAL WHEN YOU HAVE MUM, DAD AND THE KIDS ALL EXERCISING IN THE ONE PLACE. THE BARDINETS HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN BBR’S HEART, THEY BRING NEW MEANING TO #FITFAM AS THEY BLITZ THROUGH OUR HIIT AND STRENGTH GYMS TOGETHER. THEY’RE LED BY THEIR GORGEOUS MUMMA BRENDA, WHO SPORTS SOME KILLER ABS AND A SMILE THAT LIGHTS UP THE ROOM. SHE’S ALSO ONE DETERMINED GAL, ALWAYS LOOKING SHREDDED, BUT SHE TOOK IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN 2019 WHEN SHE WON THE FINAL SIX WEEK CHALLENGE OF THE YEAR AGAINST SOME VERY STIFF COMPETITION. BRENDA TOOK SOME TIME TO SHARE WITH US HER STORY, HOW SHE STAYS MOTIVATED, HOW HER FAM IS HANDLING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR HER…
Tell us about your fitness background and how you started up at BBR…
I started BBR around October 2017 with a seriously half-hearted effort made simply from the fact that I was bored and needed to change things up. A friend doing Ryan’s classes had had some pretty amazing results and I was secretly hoping that would also happen to me by osmosis! I absolutely hated the early mornings. My previous exercise used to be after school drop off followed by a coffee (and probably an almond croissant) and I never stuck at anything for a decent length of time. There was lots of pilates, xtend barre, beach walks – but none was ever done with the commitment or effort that gave any major changes to my body or mind. When I did a BBR challenge in April 2018, I started to understand there was more to this than I thought. I will never forget the first after pic Ryan took and I spied the first hint of abs. I think I literally jumped on him with joy and probably cried – and then, I was totally hooked. I know it sounds quite vain, but along with the hint of abs came so much more. My family started to notice that I was happier and more relaxed ( I am naturally a bit of a stress head), I was sleeping like a baby, lots of people started to ask what I was doing as I looked happy and healthy, some of those friends joined BBR and some are still here today. And… I’m not going to lie, when you pull on an old pair of jeans you haven’t been able to wear for a while, it’s pretty damn exciting. Suddenly waking up early became normal, moving three times per week, then it became four and now it’s almost everyday, plus planning meals for the family based around my own food plan from Ryan had the knock on effect that everyone in the house was eating well.
Tell us about the journey since the early days up to now, including your impressive challenge win at the end of 2019…
I was quite happily plodding along at BBR, but then noticed the old complacency setting in and I even put my membership on hold thinking I needed another change. This was around July/August 2019 and my hiatus lasted two weeks. I was back after checking out a couple of other places and there was no question that I was in for the next challenge. I went into the October/November challenge totally ready to see where I could take it but never thinking for a moment I would win – there were some serious weapons in that group but it was definitely the best challenge I have ever done. It felt like the group was a tight knit, well-oiled machine, it was seriously motivating physically and I felt totally supported and encouraged all the way. I now realise that feeling of complacency all came down to me not being willing to step out of my comfort zone and push myself to another level. I was stuck in the mindset of ‘I am a 44-year-old mum of three kids, there’s no way I can do that’. It was only due to the safe zone we have at BBR that I pushed through that feeling and got results I never thought I’d get. I have never been in a gym before where the people have been so kind, fun and supportive of everyone being unapologetically yourself. I honestly feel like we have a BBR family.
It obviously inspired your family with your husband and two daughters now at BBR, did you drag them to the gym or did they follow your lead?!
Ever since starting at BBR, my family had to listen to me talk non-stop about what I’d done in the gym or “watch how many push ups I can do”. Challenging them to planking comps and constantly finding new ways to casually flex my biceps at the dinner table was becoming the norm! You can image the reaction from two teenage girls and a pre-teen boy!! My husband Frederic has always been into sport, surfing is his big passion, he’s also obsessed with tennis and is massively competitive. He always promised to come along to BBR with me and had no way to back out when Ryan did his ‘bring a friend for a week’ offer. I’m not sure if I can safely say Frederic loved it in the beginning, he definitely felt challenged. The biggest upside was he felt fitter and stronger on the tennis court and surfing – so he was hooked. Another major plus was Frederic was due to have a shoulder operation early this year, however as a result of building up muscles around his injured shoulder he now has next to no pain and has cancelled the surgery, which would have meant six months no exercise.
How about your daughters?
Lucie & Ella joining BBR felt like a natural next move for us and they were both definitely enthusiastic to come along. I am acutely aware of the positive impact exercise has on mental health. I find as teenage girls get older and school work becomes more stressful and time-consuming, there is less priority given to physical movement. We figured coming with us to BBR was a great gift to give the girls and it has certainly given us so many laughs over the time we’ve been going together. We made them a deal that if they did not attend a minimum of three classes per week their membership would be cancelled. They both love the classes and are really missing going at the moment.
What have been the biggest benefits and challenges you’ve faced training at BBR?
There are obvious benefits such as feeling great and good skin as it’s like a detox sauna most days with the amount we sweat. Sleeping well is fabulous too as I have a history of restless nights.
As for challenges, the only ones are the ones I have created myself and I feel like I have overcome most of them. The waking early was the initial one but now I don’t even need to set the alarm – I’m awake at 5.30am ready to work out by 6. I overcame that with my three second rule, once I opened my eyes I had three seconds to get out of bed, which helped me create a new habit. Another challenge is to force myself to do some kind of stretching or yoga so I don’t get too sore. I can be found most nights on the living room floor with a foam roller watching TV with the family, working through my sore bits. Getting used to the amount of food was also initially a challenge, but your body very quickly adapts and I was surprised how hungry I always was by the end of a challenge.
How are you all handling the changes at BBR caused by Coronavirus?
I think we are so lucky to have access to BBR Live classes on Zoom during this time. For me it has been the only constant these past weeks and definitely my rudder which has kept me on course. The fast changes we have had to adapt to with family life, home schooling (especially with Ella in year 12), our family business importing French food has undergone some major changes like so many in the hospitality industry, which honestly shook me up in the beginning. We have family overseas we are worried about too, so some days it was hard to breathe.
Knowing I can get up in the morning and have one thing that has not changed too much has been so important for me. We have moved the cars out of the garage and converted it into a temporary gym. My son Remy does kickboxing and his classes have continued via Zoom, so we got him a bag and sourced the weights we needed from the shop, and Ryan kindly filled the gaps with kettle bells and plates so the whole fam had enough to share around. The 6am Live classes are mine, it is my time in the gym and it sets my day up and keeps me in my routine.
As we are all home most of the time, we all seem to have slotted into our own routine exercising alone and its working. The girls are still working out, they’re incredibly self-motivated and mostly make up their own routines, much of it based on what Ryan has taught them. They both understand good form and know what they like to do. However, both girls only commented today they can’t wait to go back to BBR when this is all over. Frederic is still heading to the office and working incredibly long, stressful days during this crazy time, so he usually works out when he gets home before dinner. It’s helping him with stress management massively. So we are all staying active during this.
What daily routines have you found are keeping you sane during this time, any new ones?
The main routine for me which I love is my morning. I wake up, do my BBR Live class, have my protein smoothie and my two-egg omelette – all before anyone else is up. I have been doing this for a while now, but never knew how important these moments are to me. Then I’m ready for whatever the day may bring.
I guess some new Covid habits are checking in more on family and making sure we all get outside for some Vitamin D walking with our dog Chico. I love the Friday afternoon BBR yoga classes and will definitely consider continuing long-term. I’m really enjoying the kids cooking more during this time and Lucie really enjoys preparing the evening meal – definitely something I hope continues once Iso life is over.
Have you made any goals since going into #isolife?
I don’t have any crazy ambition to learn an instrument or start knitting during this time. I’m too busy cleaning up after my kids! I do have the goal to stay mentally and physically fit during this to be the best possible support I can be to my family and friends, both near and far. I also make a conscious effort to acknowledge how blessed we are to live in Perth during this time. Our isolation is really a walk in the park compared to what others are enduring in the world – I hope I will remember that after this and continue to feel that gratitude.
What is something we wouldn’t know about you and your fam?!
Maybe you don’t know that Frederic and I met on my 21st birthday at the Bounty Bar in Bali! Very soon after that meeting I jumped on a plane and joined him in France, and only two weeks after that we both knew we would get married. By the time I was 22 Frederic was living here in Perth, we were married and Frederic had started up his food importing business which is now Australia wide. Frederic likes to call it a ‘coup de foudre’ aka ‘love at first sight’ and as corny as it is, I guess I agree. 22 years, three beautiful kids and a dog later – we are still here. We all speak French and mostly speak french at home. I think we have managed to raise three children who genuinely feel they are connected to two countries and a proud of their heritage from both. I’m pretty happy about all of that!
Fave HIIT station?
Brenda – Bulgarians
Frederic/Lucie/Ella – Box jump
Least fave HIIT station?
Brenda/Ella – Ass bike with a passion
Frederic – burpees
Lucie – Sled
Fave café and your order there?
I always have and always will love the crew at The Kirkwood Deli. Skinny flat white (sorry no almond milk Rhino)
Fave cheat meal?
If I’m going simple a hamburger and a beer, if I’m making it fancy it has to be confit de canard with baby potatoes cooked in duck fat with french green beans accompanied with a nice bottle of red from Bordeaux
Fave holiday destination
Far out, too hard! For a quickie….somewhere in Bali, probs Canguu with just frederic. He surfs all day and I chill. We scooter around the island eating yummy food and drinking bintang. Otherwise it is obvious, a summer trip to France with the family, Paris to see my sister who lives there, then head to the South West. A few days in Bordeaux where we lived for two years back in 2010 then we drive down to St Jean De Luz to Frederic’s parents home with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. Rosè every night and good food. Mountain walks and picnics in the Pyrenees, visits to Spain to eat tapas, warm days and long evenings as the sun doesn’t set until 10pm. I could go on but I think you get the picture….I actually can’t wait to do that again.