From Flabby to Not-Too-Shabby: Brent Wraps Up Getting “Ripped”

After a Long Journey, the Biggest Changes Are More than Physical


In addition to improving your physique, sticking to a workout regimen and diet plan can focus your mind, inspire discipline and provide a new sense of pride and self-confidence. Just ask Brent. (Alex Palomino/The Observer)

Published: April 30, 2009

This past December, I was invited to a party full of my closest friends near Morningside Heights. The location was pleasant, the company was comforting, and the liquor did its work. Everything seemed to go well, until the party took a horrifying turn for me.

As the party started to go crazy, all the men at the party sans two had their shirts removed, and my turn was coming up next. Though I was a little tipsy, I tried my best to avoid the situation. However, my shirt came off. The crowd was either shocked or laughing uncontrollably. I immediately put my shirt back on, more out of embarrassment than my excuse of feeling chilly.

This is where All Kinds of Ripped started.

For years, I have tried excessively to cover my body in all conceivable ways. Aside from showers and a few compromising situations, my shirt never leaves my body. Wherever I go wading in the water (I can’t swim) or relaxing on the beach, my shirt becomes my second skin. Due to this, I believe I have one of the worst farmers’ tans possible. The fact that my skin is naturally tan doesn’t help the farmers’ tan in the least bit.

Before this campaign began, I was ashamed of what I was given body-wise. None of my friends would ever call me “fat,” but I was uncomfortably chubby. I have been compared to having a “teddy-bear” shaped body, but, in my mind, you could not Build-a-Bear chubbier than my stomach. Also, for my body type, my arms rivaled those of women half my weight.

I knew I needed to make a change. However, when I approached the Observer editorial board with my idea in January, I did not know exactly how much would change throughout these last few months.

The physical changes happened quickly. With my three-a-week or four-a-week workouts, my stomach was becoming tighter and my stamina was increasing. My biceps were growing in size and I was looking and feeling better physically.

My diet also changed, though in little bits and pieces. I now find myself craving whole wheat bread and pizza slices from Big Nick’s. When meat is on the menu, I tend to indulge more on leaner meats like turkey and chicken. I also have done my best to eat less and drink more water.

However, the biggest changes occurred within me. I didn’t just get all kinds of ripped visually. I got all kinds of busy with my work on the Observer, on Global Outreach and with Peace Games. I got all kinds of accomplished, knowing I will be searching and hopefully getting a special education teaching job through the New York City Teaching Fellows program. Most of all, I got all kinds of strong, dealing with my personal demons.

For me, the All Kinds of Ripped campaign wasn’t just a way for me to get more fit. Yes, I have so far lost a total of five pounds and I’m still working for more weight loss when graduation comes on May 16.  However, throughout the process, I have learned a couple of things.

I learned never to be afraid to try new things, regardless of if others think you’re crazy. Whether it was awkwardly avoiding Rob Beatson, my fellow Co-Editor, or posing for another picture with a turkey burger in my hands, the campaign instilled even more self-confidence in me.

Most importantly, I learned to never fear failing. I took a risk. I have pushed myself harder than I have before in all areas, including working out. I have also fallen back to laziness at times. However, without the support of friends, family, and believing in myself, I wouldn’t have made the changes to improve my lifestyle, however small or large. Not fearing to fail opened me up to success, both personal and physical.

As I near May 16, my worries tend to branch like most graduating seniors: Where do I go from here? What should I be doing with my life? Will I be able to handle one insane last week at Fordham? However, I now know that I can push myself to all kinds of lengths, not afraid to fall and get back up again.

So, I say thank you to my friends, family, and you, the reader, for your support throughout the months. Regardless of what happens from this point on, I will be leaving Fordham with bigger arms, a tighter stomach, and a self-confidence that is even more all kinds of poised.