Our member of the month isn’t just an awesome attorney — she’s also a world-traveler, military veteran, a writer, and yogi. Brandi has really made time to show up regularly to the Strength & Conditioning classes and work hard no matter what the program is that day. We are super proud to have her as part of our BlackBox family!
Tell us how you discovered BlackBox, what drew you to us, and why you keep coming back. I started looking for gyms that weren’t just the usual run of the mill and found Blackbox by doing a simple Google search. I had a membership to LA Fitness, but find I have a hard time motivating myself to work out alone. My past work out partners proved to be unreliable, too. And that’s really the reason I keep coming back—I’ve grown to enjoy the people at the gym. I did Crossfit years back and enjoyed the group aspects and intensity, but was worried about some old injuries I had from my service in the U.S. Army. The trainer-coaches are great, interesting individuals and my work out partners, Erik and Amy, are always great for a laugh. If we’re sucking together, it sucks a bit less somehow, right?!
You have some entertaining workout partners. Do you have a favorite Erik or Amy quote or memory? Erik and Amy are a riot! It’s so much easier to work out when you’re looking forward to seeing people, and I’m always looking forward to seeing them along with the other people at Blackbox. If you hadn’t asked me, I’d probably be able to come up with some more specific stories or quotes, but my memories of my work out partners are saturated with laughter. That’s what’s in my mind.
You do quite a bit of humanitarian and charity work. What are some organizations that are close to your heart, and what do they do? I do. I feel the need to give back despite already being a public servant and having served in the military. Plus, I’ve met some lovely people. It’s been a way to get involved since moving here in October 2015, too.
I am a member of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization that focuses on American history education and historical preservation locally and around the country. I’m currently serving as their treasurer.
Every month for a day or so I volunteer with Trinity Habitat for Humanity to build houses for low-income buyers.
Shortly after I joined Blackbox, I volunteered to work with FEMA doing hurricane relief following the major hurricanes last year. FEMA sent me down to the USVI where I stayed for almost 40 days. It delayed my initial programing (“Fundamentals”) with the gym, but it felt like I’d wiped my slate clean when I returned. I’ve kept coming back since then.
A significant part of my life is fostering homeless dogs. I almost always have a dog in addition to my two staying at my house that I own. I’ve fostered dogs (13 so far!) for the Fort Worth city shelter and Lucy’s Lost Loved Ones , the latter which has mostly small dogs like Chihuahuas. But closest to my heart is Cane Rosso Rescue , which is associated with the Fort Worth (and Dallas and Austin, etc.) Neapolitan style pizza restaurant, Cane Rosso. This organization does mostly pointer-type breeds: English, German Shorthaired, Vizslas, and others. These dogs are athletic, gorgeous animals that just want love. They’re a handful, but if you want a family-friendly running partner and like to spoon with dogs, I highly recommend one!
When you’re not at the gym, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy hot yoga (Indigo Yoga off Pershing is my jam!) in addition to sessions at Blackbox. I am an aspiring author, too, and I’ve written a full-length novel with my best friend I hope to get published someday. I do have a short story coming out in a local writing group’s anthology sometime late this year (I think?). I also read on a myriad of topics and love to travel.
Do you have any big health/fitness goals? Nothing specific, but I don’t want to be sedentary in my golden years, which I’d also like to get to… Exercise helps my mental state as well. Following my time overseas, I developed some serious anxiety. Working out helps calm my overactive brain and helps me sleep.
Everyone’s heard of a “bucket list”. What are three things on yours?
1: To travel to Antarctica.
2: To publish the book (and series) my friend and I wrote together.
3: Get certified to teach yoga. I’ve been practicing for 16 years, and I might get certified this fall!
What achievement in your life are you most proud of? So far, that would be my service in the U.S. Army. I served eight years as a signal officer and did time in Georgia, New York, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.
What’s the last best thing you read? Last best thing you watched?
(I’m a nerd—you’ve been warned!)
Lately, I’ve been on a philosophy kick. I recently read Bertrand Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness. One of my favorite quotes from that book is: “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
I’ve also just started reading a fair amount of poetry. I went through a tough break up around a year ago, and poems from r.h. Sin in a book called Whiskey Words & a Shovel have really given me all the feels.
As for watched, I recently saw the new Super Troopers movie. I was worried that it wouldn’t be as funny as the original—it’s a cult classic! But I laughed a lot, despite often cringing. See it if you enjoyed the first one.
Where is your favorite place you have ever been and what do you love about it? I’ve traveled a lot and have favorite places for different reasons, but I’ll try to be brief. I loved Egypt where I took a Nile Cruise and saw all the major sites. Egyptians are as warm and kind as their desert summers are hot—lovely people. I adored New Zealand too. The landscape was often otherworldly: strange, rolling hills and steam escaping the ground all around in random places. I’d go back given the chance.
But I also enjoy my couch with a good book.
Who inspires you? I’m always inspired and impressed by the ordinary people: people who accomplish goals they set for themselves, buy their first house, take a trip they always wanted to take, finally get that degree, buy a car. Those are the sort of people I want to surround myself with—the doers.
Also, the people of the USVI I met while there were particularly inspiring. Some lost everything yet would still smile and be genuinely kind to us. I got multiple offers to come back to celebrate carnival, which is sort of like Mardi Gras. When I asked how one man was holding up, he quipped, laughing, “Well, I’m six feet over, not six feet under.” Too true.
Lastly, share with us a favorite quote, lyric, piece of advice, or anything else you’d like! “She wasn’t waiting for a knight—she was waiting for a sword.” –atticus, poet