The Rewards of Bodybuilding & Igniting Your Fitness Passion

In Episode 22 of the Wise Eats Podcast, we interviewed Cooper Brunner and Kirsten McCallum.

Cooper was a Division 1 baseball player at Oregon State but got burned out and faced the tough reality that professional baseball wasn’t part of his long-term future. After battling with uncertainty and depression, he ignited his passion for health and fitness by coaching others and sharing his story via his podcast and website,

Kirsten was set to play college volleyball when a rotator cuff injury and two back surgeries derailed her plans. After being bedridden for 9 months, she nursed herself back to health. With college volleyball no longer an option, Kirsten found a passion for weight lifting as a means to shape her body and cleanse her mind. In 2019, she took weight lifting to the next level by competing in body building. Stepping on the stage was just the icing on the cake to a highly rewarding experience that took months of training, sacrifice, and dedication.

Key Takeaways

  • Take fitness advice from individuals who have been where you are and walked the journey
  • The results you get from weight lifting can become addictive…in a good way!
  • Weight lifting is highly motivating because you can easily measure progress
  • Any physique you desire is possible through diet and weight lifting
  • Lifting is fun…dieting is hard
  • Body building requires significant dedication and sacrifice
  • Have a strong support system otherwise it’s easy to derail your goals
  • When training for physique competition, you’re in a calorie deficit nearly every day
  • Staying physically active for life is more important than being able to lift crazy amounts of weight
  • Weight lifting DOES NOT make you look big and bulky
  • Putting on muscle increases calorie burn which makes weight loss much easier!
  • Knowing your goal is just as important as the training and nutrition
  • Training in the evening helps maximize strength because your body is fully fueled
  • Start small and increase training volume as you become more fit and experienced
  • Regardless of the diet philosophy you follow, a calorie deficit will lead to weight loss
  • Surround your workouts with carbs rather than having them at times when you will be relaxed/sedentary
  • Whether it’s fitness or some other goal…take small steps and be consistent.
  • No matter your current fitness level, you can always get started and make progress

Quick Bites!

  1. What was the biggest single factor holding you back from starting your healthy lifestyle?
    • Cooper: Discipline
    • Kirsten: Lack of nutrition knowledge
  2. What is your favorite exercise routine or program?
    • Cooper: German Volume Training
    • Kirsten: Leg Day & Shoulder Day
  3. Favorite specific lift?
    • Cooper: Barbell Deadlift
    • Kirsten: Shoulder Press & Glute Bridge
  4. One healthy food you can’t live without?
    • Cooper: Medium-Rare Top Sirloin Steak
    • Kirsten: Cucumbers
  5. What is your favorite muscle-building recipe?
    • Cooper: Protein shakes
    • Kirsten: Lots of nutrient-dense food all day long
  6. Favorite un-wise food choice?
    • Cooper: Sesame donuts
    • Kirsten: Energy drinks
  7. One thing you’ve been successful in because of your dedication to fitness?
    • Cooper: Ditto Kirsten!
    • Kirsten: Focus in all areas of life.
  8. What is one item in your kitchen you can’t live without?
    • Cooper: Blender
    • Kirsten: Skillet
  9. What book are you reading now?
    • Cooper: The Law of Attraction by Mike Losier
    • Kirsten: Think and Grow Rice by Napoleon Hill
  10. What podcasts do you listen to?
    • Cooper: MFCEO, Gary Vee, Joe Rogan, Ed Mylett Max Out
    • Kirsten: The Mindset Mentor
  11. What is your favorite thing to listen to when working out?
    • Cooper: 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, Green Day, AC/DC
    • Kirsten: Neffex
  12. One song you refuse to take off your workout mix?
    • Cooper: Win by Tee Grizzley
    • Kirsten: Rumors by Neffex
  13. Something that you’re passionate about right now?
  14. Will we see a professional baseball game in 2020?
    • Cooper: Yes, it will be no crowd, but yes we will! Go Mariners!
    • Kirsten: Yes, we’re gonna give the people what they want!!
  15. One last piece of advice for listeners looking to improve their health/fitness?
    • Kirsten: Be knowledgeable about nutrition. Training is easy, dieting is hard
    • Cooper: Find a plan, stick to the plan, surround yourself with positivity


For the full episode, go to

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