brenda-mcneil-webTaking a job opportunity as a professor at Seattle Pacific University, Brenda McNeil relocated to Seattle from Chicago with her family about four and a half years ago. It was important for Brenda to continue her healthy lifestyle in a new city, so finding a gym eventually lead her to Magnuson Athletic Club.


MAC: When did you join the MAC?

Brenda: I have always been a person that takes my health, nutrition, and my physical well-being very seriously. While living in Chicago, I had a personal training. So when I moved to Seattle, I wanted to keep my fitness regiment as normal as possible by finding a trainer.  Not knowing that MAC was right around the corner, I started at a small gym down the street, and that’s where I met Dustin Short, who became my trainer. Shortly after I started to workout with Dustin, he transferred to Magnuson Athletic Club, and he asked me if I’d be interested in continuing to work with him. So, not knowing anything about the MAC, I transferred primarily to follow my trainer; I was committed to working with Dustin because he was committed to my well-being.


MAC: When switching health clubs, what was your first impression of the MAC?

Brenda: It was big! I was impressed with the state-of-the-art facility and how everything was new and very well maintained. I appreciated Tyger

[MAC’s Lead Front Desk Host] and how welcoming and professional she was. But I was also really surprised to find that members were so welcoming. I found that women encouraged each other by saying, “Hey, you look great!” or  “I saw you working out and you were putting your heart into it”.  It’s become a community of people that inspire each other and recognize each others’ hard work.


MAC: Considering you already had a well established fitness-base background working with Dustin, how did you take health to the next level?

Brenda: I was training hard with Dustin and sweating at the gym, but I was concerned because I wasn’t seeing the results I was looking for. So after meeting Breanne Curran [MAC’s Nutrition Specialist], Dustin encouraged me to look into nutrition guidance. He said that Breanne is a wealth of information. I quickly realized if you work out hard, then you need to repair it by coupling that with a real nutritional meal. When I added that component to my training routine, I began to see the difference and not just in losing weight but in inches and body fat.

So, I started to work one-on-one with Breanne on my personal nutrition plan, of which she would then work directly with Dustin. She would tell him, “Hey, this is what I’ve seen, and this is what I’m working on, so I need you to increase her weight to see more results.” So, Dustin would incorporate that into our twice a week personal training.” Overall, it has been a great system.

Breanne has also taken my health and fitness routine to another level. She had me use the Body Composition Machine, which told me more things about my body that I didn’t think were possible: metabolic rate, body fat percentage, imbalanced muscles, etc.


MAC: Adding nutrition to your life, what has been a great impact on your life?

Brenda: Well, I feel like Breanne tailors nutrition to who you are and begins to look at what realistically can you do. I travel very frequently; Breanne knows that, so one of the first things she helped me with was to develop strategies for travel so I wouldn’t lose all the work I had done in the gym. Because I’ll be flying, she taught me how to buy certain snacks that are portable and how to make sure that I have them at the right times. So, I am much wiser about things to pack at all times.  


MAC: So out of all your hard work, what do you see that is rewarding and what’s difficult about it all?

Brenda: There’s no “free lunch”. You got to stay consistent, and you need to do the work. It’s not easy, because if it were then, everyone would do it. It’s hard work to be consistent when you have to be in the gym at 6:00AM in the morning to do Kettlebell. So there are days that I don’t feel up to it either, and you have to have a higher reason why you have made the commitment. Myself, I want to age in a way that’s strong, fierce, beautiful, and balanced. I feel that I’m creating a life that I want, a healthy life that produces longevity and vitality. So I am very pleased with the overall results that I’m getting not just physically, but also the alignment that I experience in my mind, body, and soul.


MAC: Outside of the club, who is Brenda?

Brenda: I have been married for 30 years to my husband who is also a professor; he’s a psychologist for a graduate school of psychology. We have two kids; my son is 26, and he is down in California finishing his master’s degree, and my daughter is 20 who loves her brother, so she is studying in California too. So I have two California kids one at Loyola Marymount University and the other one works for the Disney Corporation on a sitcom.

I am a theory professor as well as a consultant – that is what makes me travel so much. I travel and speak at universities, churches, and conference about diversity, liquidation, equity, equality, women, gender, culture, and race.

I like books. I’m an author, so my newest book is doing quite well, but I’ve also written three other books thus far. I love to dance, and I love music. I’m runner, I like to cook, and I’m also a big-time fashion chick.