Winnie & Will Brooks

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Growing up I never exercised. I was always interested in other things like sewing or shopping, especially shopping! But after having kids, I hadn’t lost any baby weight and decided I needed to do something. Will often encouraged me to run with him,
but I found it so boring. Instead, I often did Zumba. Will always told me that exercise is not for weight loss but for getting fit. I knew I needed to do something different so when a friend told me about Warrior Boot Camp, I was excited to try it. I joined Warrior in October 2016, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed the workouts. The exercises were really tough, but the coaches all brought different insights and made each workout unique and fun. The fellow warriors were very encouraging and there were exercises for people at every fitness level. The people and the coaches make everything very enjoyable. We are all like good friends so we laugh and talk
and joke together during the workouts.

After joining the workouts for 9 months, I am much stronger now. I can do a lot of things I couldn’t do before. For example, on a recent trip to China, the train only had an elevated storage rack. All the passengers were wondering what to do with their heavy luggage since they couldn’t lift the bags that high. Without hesitation, Will and I starting grabbing everyone’s 20 and 25kg suitcases and heaving them up on the storage racks. When we sat down, we looked at each other and said, “Train Hard, Fight Easy!” I used to attend the 8:30 A.M. sessions and made a lot of friends there, but attending the 5:30 A.M. sessions gave me more time during the day. I enjoyed developing relationships with the other warriors. Our kids have also seen the changes we have made, and now they want to become more active. Both our boys ran in the kids Spartan race, and even my 3-year-old daughter will say, “Mom, look at my Spartan jump!” That brought a big smile to my face!


When I was in high school and college, I was a strong runner. I could run a 4:30 mile and could run 21km in about 1:15. After graduating from college, I moved to China to teach English for two years. During that time, I developed some digestive problems that, over the course of one and a half years, became quite severe. My weight dropped to 109 lbs, and I was hospitalized numerous times. I was so sick, and it sounds overly dramatic, but several times Winnie and I thought I was going to die. The digestive problems affected not only muscle strength but also cardio ability. I went from running 3:45/km (what I once considered jogging) to not being able to run 400m without stopping to walk. It was humbling, and in the end, it took me about six years to get back to a healthy place digestively. I joined Warrior in November 2016. Winnie had joined in October, and I couldn’t believe how much she enjoyed it. She encouraged me to join her, but initially I was hesitant. In the five years or so since my health had improved, I’d slowly become active again. I’d done some running, but because of the loss of muscle from my sickness, I always had knee pain after I ran. As a result, I did a lot of jump squats and sometimes added weight training with programs like P90X. Plus, the idea of bear crawling through the mud didn’t sound like my idea of a good time!

When I finally started coming to the Warrior workouts with Winnie, I was surprised how much fun it was. I enjoyed the community and the opportunity to exercise with and compete against others. The combination of strength and endurance was also new and exciting. Even though I was in decent shape when I first started, I was always really sore after the workouts – I was doing exercises and working the muscle groups I never had before. The emphasis on total body fitness and strength training is wonderful. I haven’t had any knee trouble since I started, and overall, I am much stronger physically. Warrior has also had a big impact on the rhythm and pace of our lives. I’ve always been a night owl, often working well past 2 A.M. during my Ph.D. days. Given my schedule in Penang, though, it’s best for me to attend the 5:30 A.M workout sessions. In January, I made the commitment to go to bed and get up earlier, and now I feel much more rested and full of energy throughout the day. In addition to the 3 days a week 5:30 A.M. sessions, I also often attend the Mayhem sessions and the weekend Endurance Runs. Being a part of the Warrior community has given me the confidence to do two Spartan races and two triathlons this year. I’m looking forward to the next challenge!

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