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Meet my personal trainer: Dennis Brent

Written by: Cary Castagna, QMI Agency
Feb. 27, 2014

Dennis Brent, Castagna's personal trainer. (Supplied)


Like so many of his clients, Dennis Brent has his own story of physical transformation. The 26-year-old personal trainer recalls being uncomfortably skinny in his teen years with “no chest whatsoever and very small arms.” In fact, Brent graduated from high school with a measly 170 pounds on his lanky six-foot-five frame.

“I was very self-conscious with regard to that,” he admits in a recent interview. “My body type is definitely ectomorph — very long and lean.”

Brent grew up in the small north-central Newfoundland town of Botwood, where he played a variety of sports, including basketball, volleyball, hockey and slo-pitch. “You name it, I’ve done it in terms of sports,” he notes. “I was super athletic but … I was very skinny.” And that’s the way he stayed until his second year of classes at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, where he was studying physical education. One fateful day that year, Brent wandered into the strength and conditioning centre in the basement of the physical education building. And he fell in love.

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“We called it a dungeon,” he says with a chuckle. “That was one of my favourite places to go after class and before class.”

Brent followed a bodybuilding regimen and soon started packing on some hard-earned muscle. The extra mass, however, was more than just a boost to the circumference of his chest and arms. It also bolstered his previously sagging self-confidence.

“It definitely made me feel much better about myself when I started to see some transformation,” he notes. And he found other immediate benefits in that “dungeon,” too.

“I found my true self in there, and found out what I truly liked and how happy it made me as a de-stressor for relationships, for the workload of school and living on my own at the time,” he explains. “There was a whole lot more to it than just a positive self-image. It made all of my relationships better. It made me a more positive person. That’s when I knew that this was something I wanted to pass on to each and every person that I possibly could.”

After university, Brent moved to Edmonton at the urging of a good friend and found work as a personal trainer with the gym chain then known as Club Fit (after a couple of ownership changes it has since become World Health Edmonton).

Over the past five years, Brent worked his way up to the head trainer position and did some assistant fitness managing before taking on his current role as fitness manager at World Health’s Mayfield Common location in west Edmonton. During that time, he also built up his own physique to a lean and mean 245 pounds. But following the birth of his daughter in September 2012, Brent moved away from his bodybuilding-style workouts and has since adopted a regimen emphasizing more flexibility, posture and core training, along with some Olympic weightlifting.

 

“Of course, a big part of that has range of motion and mobility. I never quite had that when I was doing more of the bodybuilding concepts,” he explains. “So that’s something that I really enjoy.”

rent, who weighs about 225 pounds these days, also makes time for ball hockey and slo-pitch. A big chunk of his day, however, is spent in the gym. A very big chunk. Brent has been known to pull shifts of up to 14 hours.

“And it honestly seems like eight-hour days because it doesn’t feel like you’re working,” he adds. “You meet with the most amazing individuals on a daily basis and get to listen to their stories and help inspire them to better their lifestyles. That’s awesome. That’s a great feeling. I go home every single day with a smile on my face knowing that I’m in the right career.”

One of Brent’s newest clients is yours truly. As detailed in this space last week, I’m working under the big man’s tutelage for six weeks as part of the 2014 World Health Media Transformation Challenge. Nine Edmonton radio personalities are also taking part in the challenge, which includes nutrition coaching. World Health will be picking the winner based on the following criteria: total weight loss, best written testimonial, change in body composition, before and after photos, and changes in measurements. Up for grabs, besides bragging rights, is $1,000 to be awarded to the winner’s charity of choice. Brent’s vision for me, as with any of his clients, goes far beyond six weeks.

“It’s about making it a part of their lifestyle. Sometimes that takes some inspiration. It takes some life coaching,” he explains. “We create that habit and get them accountable to themselves, make it part of that lifestyle. That’s when I feel that I’ve been successful is when somebody’s making this a part of their lifestyle and it’s something that’s ongoing.”

For more on the 2014 World Health Media Transformation Challenge, visit the Keeping Fit blog at blogs.canoe.ca/keepingfit.

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