A changed life: Husky to healthy
Ruth Nerhaugen
The Republican Eagle - 01/02/2009

The transformation from husky boy to healthy man changed a lot more about Brandon Bullert than his physical appearance.

“Getting in shape changed my life,” he said.

The Red Wing native has built a career as a fitness professional in Southern California, an independent personal trainer who — in just the past two months — has been seen on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and on a four-part Discovery Health Channel reality series.

Back in Red Wing with his parents, Ivan and “Manny” Bullert, for the Christmas holidays, he admitted, “It is so nice to come here and sleep in.” In contrast, he runs boot camp classes at 6 a.m. three mornings a week when he’s home in Oceanside, Calif.

But even on vacation, he never skips his daily workout.

“No excuses” is part of Bullert’s mantra.

When he was a boy, delivering the Republican Eagle on Kosec Drive and Martha Lane, and later working as a busboy at Big Ben, Bullert recalled, “I got made fun of. They called me ‘Fat Albert.’”

Other kids got to wear brand-name jeans, but he had to settle for “Husky” denims from K-Mart.

“In seventh grade, I started changing,” he said. “I was fast. Mr. (Rich) Marshall called me ‘Bulldog’ and gave me the ball to run” at Twin Bluff Middle School football games.

“The body started changing. I started feeling good,” Bullert said.

His father, a former Marine, got him started on Marine Corps drills and running and weight-lifting at the YMCA.

“The euphoria from changing took that negative energy and made it positive,” Bullert said. “I don’t let anybody tell me I can’t do something.”

The positive feeling from exercising and taking care of the body will increase a person’s self-esteem, drive and desire, he stressed.

By age 14, Bullert was a first-degree black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate. He was a running back and strong safety in football, right wing in hockey, and a 200-meter sprinter in high school.

After graduating in 1995, he joined the Marine Corps. During his last year in the service, while stationed in Okinawa, Japan, Bullert became a rescue SCUBA diver.

When he got out of the Marines, however, Bullert said he decided to pursue another passion — “Health and fitness; taking care of people.”

He became certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association, International Fitness Professional Association, and the International Sports Sciences Association, plus he completed coursework for Advanced Effective Fitness and Nutrition, and earned a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology. He is also director of fitness and nutrition for Team Motova8, and has done some modeling.

Bullert admits that his Marine Corps background makes him something of an extremist on the topic of fitness. But he absolutely believes that his teachings can transform anyone into the person they want to be.

And with his training and college education, he added, “I know what works best for people and how the body actually functions.” For his clients, he creates individual fitness and nutrition programs.

“You have a will. You have a drive. You have a desire,” he said. You get only one body; it’s important to take care of it.

“Our bodies are efficient machines, created by what we put into them,” Bullert said. They’ll adapt to movement and exercise, but they’ll also adapt to people’s nasty habits.

Bullert recently completed “the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life “ — a four-episode TV program on Discovery Health Channel called “Could You Survive?”

In the series, which will be rebroadcast on Saturday, average people discovered that they were not mentally or physically capable of saving their loved ones, he explained.

“We gave them their life back” by training them. “We didn’t let them quit,” he stressed, telling them, “Don’t cheat the body. Don’t cheat the mind.”

At first, he said, “They hated us. But at the end they loved us.”

There may be more episodes of “Could You Survive.” Regardless, Bullert anticipates a busy 2009 working with his clients, traveling nationwide and doing motivational presentations for Team Motova8.

He has a goal.

“I want to start changing lives,” Bullert said. “I want to start helping take care of America.”