Name: Brittany M. Turner
Weight: 105 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 8 months
Education: Bachelor of Science in Film/Television/Digital Media, Minor certificate in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Christian University
Branch of Service: Army
Years of Service: 2
Tours of Duty: 1 year forward deployed in Korea, 3 months Fort Hood, TX
Rank: First Lieutenant (1LT)
MOS: 91A- Logistics
Awards, Medals, Decorations: Served 1 year as aide-de-camp for Brigadier General Peggy Combs, Air Assault qualified, German Armed Forces Proficiency badge
PT Test High Score: 300 (Extended scale 351)
The Army consists of millions of pieces of machinery and service members, just like a body consists of millions of cells, muscles, bones, and more. If one little thing breaks down, the mission can fail and lives can be put at risk. This is where logistics come in.
Logistics units supply the demands of the modern military, and Brittany, an aspiring bodybuilder and military logistician, has her body and professional duties squarely in line. Nothing can stop her!
How did you get started in bodybuilding?
I began bodybuilding after one of my First Sergeants saw me doing CrossFit and suggested I enter a local bodybuilding contest for service members in Korea. I initially refused the request, but after falling out of a battalion run and struggling in my new job as a Second Lieutenant platoon leader and not doing so well on my PT test—which was not like me—I was feeling depressed. I decided to accept the opportunity as a challenge to motivate myself back into shape.
Describe your duties in the military...
I am an ordnance officer, but I wear many hats and ultimately identify as a logistician. I generally manage and supervise my soldiers in anything logistical. For example, in Korea the soldiers in my platoon were mechanics, and we maintained equipment and delivered food, water, equipment, and personnel on certain missions. Now, my soldiers in Fort Hood provide shower laundry and clothing repair services for our instillation. I wear many different hats but generally have the capability of transporting mass amounts of goods, equipment, food, and personnel worldwide.
What inspired you to join the military?
I decided to join the military after my dad, who served 34 years in the Army, asked me one day in high school what my passions in life were and what I wanted to do with my future. I had no idea. He posed the Army as an option, but I respectfully declined. After a few days of thought, I changed my mind and decided to apply for the Army ROTC four-year scholarship. I decided that I would spend four years of my life serving my country, which would also allow me some time to figure out what my passions really were and what I could do in life to make a positive impact.
What is the fitness community like in South Korea?
The fitness community in Korea is amazing! I initially began my fitness journey in Korea through CrossFit, which was a friendly community with an overwhelming amount of support. As I transitioned into bodybuilding, I found the community and level of support was even greater. All service members were more than willing to share their wealth of knowledge and the local Korean nationals were extremely supportive. An elder Korean lady helped make my first bodybuilding competition suit in about three days. She was so encouraging and super helpful meeting me at late hours of the night to accommodate my work schedule and transportation limitations.
What was the hardest part of making the transition from civilian life to military life?
The hardest part of transitioning from civilian to military life was waking up early and running. I was never a long-distance runner before I joined the Army, but with the help of my leadership I quickly built my endurance and began maximizing my 2-mile runs. I started out running about a 20-minute 2-mile run but was able to shave 5 minutes off my time within a year.
They say that to learn to succeed you must know what it is to fail. How have hardships have helped you succeed in fitness?
I have been through so much in my life. People have tried to tear me down, physically harm me, and emotionally abuse me. There have been times when I have been alone and had to figure things out the hard way, but I was able to combat the negative by focusing that negative energy into my workouts. My dad always taught me to stay positive and to stay motivated even through the tough times. He often speaks about how failure makes you stronger, but you have to be resilient and find the strength within to keep going. Never quit!
How did your tour of duty in South Korea change the way you look at fitness?
As soon as I arrived in Korea, I went through a really bad breakup, which left me devastated. Soon after that breakup I decided to date again and that relationship ended soon after as well.
I was feeling alone in a new country trying to figure out a new job. It was tough, and my commander was hard to deal with and gave little guidance. The job was nonstop from day one and I had little time to breathe or deal with my life personally or professionally. It felt like my life was moving 1,000 miles a minute and nothing could go right.
After realizing my health and fitness were on the decline, I found myself in a depression. After falling out of a major run, I had my pass privileges taken away by my commander and I was upset that I would not be able to spend time with my loved one who I wanted to go visit. After that incident, I knew I had to prove my commander wrong and begin to hold myself to a higher standard. My failure motivated me to be better and to never accept defeat again.
From that point on, I decided to always do my best and to never accept defeat. Quitting is never an option, and I will conquer all things with God by my side. Fitness provided me with an outline. It became a stress relief away from work and provided me an opportunity to set goals, achieve them, and progress to greater aspirations. I began to feel like I was always improving myself and always accomplishing something. I felt confident again.
Has your M.O.S. positioned you for a career after the military? What do you want to do when you are decommissioned?
Actually, as a logistician I feel like the sky is the limit. There is a need for logisticians in just about every unit in the Army. Every corporation outside of the Army and not only is this field a necessity, but leadership is a useful tool in landing a job anywhere. Without good leadership a business will fail. Management is so important, so I do believe that my experiences in the Army will afford me many opportunities upon my departure.
What is the biggest obstacle in leading a military lifestyle?
The biggest obstacle in leading a military lifestyle is time. Your time isn't your own, it is the government's. Whether the time is spent away from family and friends on a deployment or time at work helping your fellow comrades successfully complete a mission, you don't dictate where you will be from day to day; the mission does. Often plans are changed or canceled, soldiers miss once-in-a-lifetime events; we sacrifice our time so American citizens can enjoy theirs. I sacrifice time to work out too. It's just a small portion of the price we pay, but time is precious and I do believe it is a huge obstacle in the military lifestyle.
How important is it to you to perform well on a PT test?
It is very important to me, not necessarily because I want a high score, but because I want to demolish the challenge. I look at a PT test as physical challenge that I refuse to let defeat me. I will take every PT test and I will own it. I have the discipline to prepare myself and I will not settle, but hold myself accountable to exceed the standard. My score can always improve and I always strive to beat my last score. You can always run a little faster or push out just a couple more push-ups!
Personal sacrifice is an accepted part of the military. How does that translate to fitness for you?
In fitness we sacrifice constantly. We sacrifice lounging around to put in work. We sacrifice eating poorly to make healthy choices. We sacrifice sleeping in to get up and prep our meals. We sacrifice buying unnecessary alcohol to buy whole foods. We sacrifice Friday night pre-gaming (on occasion) to get in a good leg workout before the night really begins. It's the little sacrifices —like time—in the military which translate into fitness, which leads to a longer, healthier life.
Gender roles are changing in the military. How does that affect you?
Gender roles changing in the military opens many doors. The opportunities are limitless, and if I decided one day I wanted to go to Ranger school or join the Infantry, I would eventually be able to do that. It is good to know that I have the opportunity to challenge myself to higher levels than what were previously accepted. I set my own destiny, not the limitations of the organization.
Do you think the Army needs to improve its overall level of physical fitness?
I do believe the Army needs better physical fitness. We need to look at the overall mission and exercises that actually improve physical fitness. The gym is not the enemy! We also need to support healthier eating habits within the Armed Forces, but every organization can improve in some way. These are just improvements that I can see at my level.
What workout plan worked best for you?
- Monday: Upper Body - 45 minutes, 5 sets, 15 reps
- Tuesday: Legs/Glutes - 45 minutes, 5 sets, 20 reps
- Wednesday: Back/Shoulders - 45 minutes, 5 sets, 15 reps
- Thursday: Legs/Plyometrics - 1 hour, 3 rounds, 2 minutes per exercise
- Friday: Cardio/Abs - 1 hour
- Saturday: Shoulders - 45 minutes, 5-6 sets, 20 reps
- Sunday: Rest
Which nutrition plan works best for you?
Which supplements give you the greatest gains?
What are your future bodybuilding plans?
My future bodybuilding plans are to earn my pro card and create a fitness brand, become a personal trainer, and lead military-style boot camps to encourage others to lead healthier lifestyles and to challenge themselves.
It would mean so much to me to earn my pro card. It is a goal that I have set for myself and I wont stop until it is achieved. I started bodybuilding to give myself an outlet, to combat depression and to prove to myself that I was better than my circumstances. I won't forget why I started and I won't stop until I have achieved what I set out to do for myself. I like to refer to myself as a conqueror. I have been able to conquer every obstacle placed in my way throughout my life. Any obstacle that stands in the way of me and my pro card will be demolished! I will conquer.
How was your experience at the Texas Shredder? What did it teach you about yourself?
My experience at the Texas Shredder Classic was amazing. There is no feeling like setting a goal and achieving it, but to set a goal and to go beyond what you set out to do is indescribable. It taught me that, regardless of circumstance, anything is possible if you work hard and have faith that God will bless you with the desires of your heart.
I started my prep in Korea and throughout the duration of my prep I moved from Korea to the United States. I went on leave, I relocated, started a new job and had to get oriented to a new environment, but I stayed dedicated. I never quit and I remained persistent and resilient throughout.
Who are your favorite bodybuilders?
My favorite bodybuilders are Andrea Calhoun, who is an IFBB Figure Pro and just an amazing genuine and sincere person. She has personally given me advice in my fitness journey. Dana Linn Bailey has so much personality it's irresistible and her work ethic is unmatched. Nicole Wilkins has an amazing story and just seems so down to earth and respectable. Phil Heath, well he's a beast! Kai Greene is a favorite because of his dedication and willingness to motivate others. Last, but certainly not least, I am inspired by Ronnie Coleman and the all-time great Arnold Schwarzenegger. Enough said.
What one tip would you give other bodybuilders in the military?
I would tell other military bodybuilders to just be dedicated regardless of circumstance. If bodybuilding is what you want to do, then do it. Just be flexible. There will be times when you have your heart set on a show but then a deployment comes up or a training exercise ruins your diet. Don't let that stop you. Continue to build, grow, gain, exercise, train, eat the best you can, drink water, and get back at it in your reset. The sky is the limit! Charge hard!