Brenner loses more than 250 pounds during "Extreme Weight Loss" show
Final weigh-in was held at Carroll University
Bob Brenner said it's easy to take the little things for granted: Getting out of your car. Walking across the sidewalk. Opening the door.
But when he was overweight, more than 400 pounds, everything was a struggle.
"I would get tired. My knees, my joints would ache. I would be out of breath," Brenner said.
Brenner is a detective with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department and spends some of his time training with the Carroll University football team. While his weight yo-yo'ed for years, he knew it was a problem when he could no longer demonstrate drills to his team or say, with confidence, that he could pursue a criminal.
"Could I really assist my partner if I had to? If I had to be honest with myself, the answer was no," Brenner said.
Extreme Weight Loss
The TV show "Extreme Weight Loss" documents the makeover of eight obese individuals who set out to safely lose half of their body weight over the course of a year. Specialist Chris Powell (who has his own loyal fan base) helps train the participants and ensures they receive proper nourishment and exercise program.
In the single-hour episodes, viewers watch as participants undergo a transformation not only of their bodies, but of who they are as individuals.
When Brenner heard that he had a chance to be on the show, he first called his wife to ask her to throw out all the junk food in the house. His wife, Kelly, and his family (a 20 year-old-daughter and a 19 year-old-son) were incredibly supportive during his transformation. They ended up benefiting, as well: Kelly ended up losing 50 pounds, and Brenner's 70-year-old mother lost 72 pounds.
Brenner's episode of "Extreme Weight Loss" aired Tuesday on ABC and his final weight was revealed at the end of the episode. His weigh-in, held at Carroll University's Schneider Stadium, revealed Brenner lost 253 pounds from 448 pounds to 195.
Brenner said his congregation, RiverGlen Christian Church in Waukesha, was a great encouragement for him as members kept him in their prayers. The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department, too, was behind him "110 percent," and he had a few co-workers regularly work out with him.
Brenner ate right and exercised. A lot.
He kayaked, swam, biked, practiced Bikram yoga, joined spin classes, participated in a sprint triathlon and joined Revolution Fitness in Pewaukee. "Find something you really enjoy doing. ... Let's face it, when you get on an elliptical or treadmill, it's like watching the grass grow," Brenner explained.
RevoFitness in Pewaukee
John and Heidi Pietenpol, owners and trainers at the gym, weighed in with him every week.
"I wanted someone I knew isn't in it just for the money. I wanted someone who is interested in my success and genuinely cares about me," Brenner said.
They walked him through the workouts and routines. He broke a sweat in groups and one-on-one, at the gym, on the road and at home. They cheered him on but also held him accountable.
Brenner said Pietenpol helped by tailoring the experience to Brenner. While it was rigorous, he also paid attention to Brenner's bad knees. (And, for the record, he said that every pound lost feels like three pounds off the knees.)
"Even if you are 408 pounds, it's possible. It's possible to lose the weight, and there are people here that can help you do it," Pietenpol said.
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