- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

ROY, Utah (AP) - In the long list of things that get put off when life gets tough, hitting the gym is usually among the first things to get cut out.

Frank Brown, who has a litany of health issues and devotes time to caring for his ailing father, is exactly the type of person who could have every excuse not to make losing weight a priority.

But thanks to some new found friends, the 27-year-old Roy man has gained a lot more than a smaller waist at the gym.

Brown’s challenges are many. He has multiple disabilities, including spina bifida, hydrocephalus and he’s been having frequent seizures that doctors haven’t been able to explain. He was also born without a skull and has had too many surgeries to count to correct it, but as a result only has hearing in one ear and has no peripheral vision.

On top of all that, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within the past year and he has made efforts to help with his father’s care.

And yet, Brown has managed to lose 58 pounds in four months and says he’s found his share of happiness in the process.

He’s well on his way to becoming a weight-loss motivational speaker for Isagenix International, a company that markets dietary supplements and personal care products. His company sponsor is planning some local speaking engagements and he’s a hopeful in the national Isagenix weight loss challenge, which could net him a prize of up to $25,000.

Brown’s Isagenix sponsor, Layton resident Kimber King, said his challenges are what make him an inspiration.

“A lot of people have lost weight but he has the challenges too,” she said. “I’ve coached a lot of people through the system but he’s been the easiest because he’s so motivated.”

Brown’s mother, Tammy Brown, said Brown refuses to see the obstacles in his path.

“Frank does not feel he is disabled or has any limitations,” said Tammy Brown. “He wants to do everything he can.”

That’s not to say Brown has always found it easy to be upbeat. At one time, Brown said the lack of close friends in his life was making him lonely and sad.

Tina Bryan, who knew Brown from the SNAP Fitness Gym in Roy, said it all started with a comment Brown made on her Facebook under a post about a girls’ night out with her friends.

“He said ‘I wish I could have a guys’ night out. . But I don’t have any friends.’”

Tina’s son Tanner Bryan stepped forward saying he would give Brown a boys’ night out, complete with dinner and video games.

The workout and nutrition help soon followed.

Tina said she can’t believe the number of people she has discovered who consider themselves Brown’s friend. She said people recognize him and go up to him all the time.

“He is, without a doubt, the gym favorite,” she said.

But even so, Brown didn’t feel as if anyone was really close to him.

“It broke my heart when he said people are nice to him but they don’t want to be his friend,” Tina said.

The result of Tanner and Brown’s instant friendship was that Tanner decided to become Brown’s personal trainer. And like in any strong friendship, Tanner was willing to make sacrifices.

Tanner is a competitive body builder who has won a number of novice titles but he decided to give up his competitive schedule for a few months to help his friend.

Tina gets tears in her eyes when she thinks about her son and his bond with Brown.

“He said ‘I’m going to bag this year and just help Frank get to his journey,’” she said. “He’s 22. He’s fit. He’s got things to do.”

Tanner said his goal is to use his skills to help others too. He wants to get more clients and become a full-time personal trainer.

“It’s changed the way I train for sure,” he said of his efforts to help others. “I’ve definitely had to incorporate more beginning types of workouts.”

Tanner said Brown’s challenges limit his range of motion, making creativity necessary in designing the workouts.

“We’ve had some struggles,” Tanner said.

But with a lifelong dream of owning his own gym and becoming a personal trainer, Tanner said he’ll be a better instructor as a result.

Tina says she believes the blessings have been worth any sacrifice.

“It’s been great having him as a part of my family,” she said. “It makes you realize everyone has stuff.”

___

Information from: Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net


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