When Brenda Rule-Osburn graduated from Tucumcari High School in 1977, she said things were certainly different.
For one, she said the town was a lot more energetic and offered a lot more activities.
For another, she said she was fat.
Now a certified trainer who offers face-to-face sessions as well as fitness by phone, Rule-Osburn, 46, tips the scales with the weight she can lift, not the weight she carries around.
“In regards to lower body I can leg press at least 350 pounds,” Rule-Osburn said, adding she curls 35-pound dumbbells with each arm, bench presses at least 90 pounds and exercises five to six times per week.
Rule-Osburn said she is so overjoyed with her healthy lifestyle she is eager to encourage fitness and share her expertise with others.
“High school has very difficult,” Rule-Osburn said, adding her family moved to Tucumcari when her dad was stationed there with the National Guard. “Your peers are your worst enemy,” she said, adding, “besides yourself.”
A series of incidents led her to transform herself from a frumpy female into a femme fatale.
One was growing up a twin, she said, especially with a sister who was thin.
“It’s one thing when kids make fun of you,” Rule-Osborn said, “but it’s another when it’s adults. I remember one saying ‘Your sister is so skinny, how can you be so nice and plump?’”
Time went on; things changed. Rule-Osburn, who said she’s always wanted a career helping people in the health care field, became a dental hygienist. She got married, had two kids, got divorced. But she said one thing remained the same — she still was not happy with her appearance, or herself.
“My divorce is what prompted me to get into shape,” she said. “I knew it was time to change my life. It was time to get healthier, get fit and start to like myself.”
Rule-Osburn said the first change was cutting down her work hours to part time, the second was converting her three-and-a-half car garage into a home gym and the third was hiring a personal trainer.
She said her knack was so great for bodybuilding that she became certified as a trainer herself — and even received an interesting invitation.
“A person came up to me and asked me to compete (in a body building contest),” Rule-Osburn said. Although she declined the offer, she found another venue she just could not turn down.
“I learned about Fitness by Phone through a woman in California,” Rule-Osburn said. “It teaches people not to have babysitters. People lose the fat that they need to lose on their own.” She said her clients are welcome to call her every day if they need to, although many check in once a week. She said she reviews their diet, their exercise and the readings on professional monitors that are part of the program.
Rule-Osburn, who is certified with the ISSA, an organization that certifies trainers, as well as certified with the Association of Fitness by Phone coaches, now lives in Albuquerque but said her clients come from as far away as New Jersey.
“This gives people a chance to work out who may not normally have access to a trainer,” she said.
No personal trainers are on staff at Tucumcari’s Apollo’s Gym on Main Street, said owner and operator Mary Jimenez, but it offers generous hours and a generous array of equipment. In addition to the treadmills, exercise bikes, trampolines and elliptical equipment, Apollo’s is stocked full of free weights for all shapes and sizes. Jimenez, who has been running the gym for almost five years, said monthly membership varies.
Willie Rush, a helicopter pilot passing through town, was the sole occupant of the gym on Monday afternoon. He said it was too windy to perform his duties of spraying the river to rid it of salt cedars so he took the opportunity to check out the gym.
Although he said he was not surprised to find a gym in a town of Tucumcari’s size, he said he was surprised no one else was working out in it.
“This is a great gym,” Rush said, “it has everything.”
At the gym:
121 E. Main St,
Open Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday until noon
Phone: 797-3778 or 440-0447
Web site: www.bodiesdefinedbybrenda.com