When Sarge and Joy Brown agreed to participate as a couple on an episode of the ABC television show "Wife Swap," they had no idea it would be the spawn of a big career—and life—move. The reality show, which swaps—you guessed it—wives from two very different families, was only the beginning for the health-conscious couple to show America what good fitness meant to them, and how it could change the lives for millions. The show’s purpose itself is to help two extreme families learn from the other and to become more balanced and harmonious in their everyday lives. The Browns were cast as the order-loving health freaks, and rightfully so. As a former soldier in the U.S. Army and a registered nurse and daughter of a fitness guru, Sarge and Joy couldn’t have fit the part better. Understandably, Joy was to help introduce some order and the ways of a healthier lifestyle to her swapped family. Although her intentions were noble and all in an effort to help, Joy says at times she felt like more of an intrusion.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster for me,” she says of the experience. “Mainly because I am used to people coming to me when they want help and not me being forced into someone’s life that did not ask to be there and had full resistance to change.”
Whether Joy’s new family really turned over a new leaf post-taping is uncertain, but America definitely took notice of the couple’s take-charge attitude and wanted more.
“After the show we started getting inquiries from people around the U.S. who wanted us to help them in their weight-loss struggles,” remembers Joy. “Our weight-loss retreat was partly born to meet those requests in a major way.”
And so was born the R3 Fitness and Weight Loss Retreat, also known as the Naples Fitness Boot Camp in Naples, Florida. The “R3” explains the program’s goal: to reverse psychology and sickness; retrain taste buds and mind; rebuild cells and body. The retreat’s website says the program consists of a rigorous, four-week period of fitness instruction, nutritional counseling and motivational training to help men, women, and youth not only to lose weight, but to train themselves to live a healthier life.
Sarge says he especially kept women in mind when planning the program because as his wife points out to him, women can have an increased risk of obesity because of hormonal and anatomical factors.
“I want ladies to find themselves in themselves,” says Sarge. “I want them to discover that what has been holding them back from obtaining their goals has ultimately been them.”
So, what what is the best way to do this?
“Ladies, don’t allow yourself fall in the trap of defeating yourself before the goal is obtained,” he says in reference to many getting bored of their workout regimens and quitting early. “Because you’re only a failure if you quit.”
The Browns incorporate everything from core conditioning, circuit training, and short-distance running to yoga and Pilates into their fitness program and promise that no one looking for help will be left behind. With that said, they invite people to challenge themselves like they’ve never done before.
“It will be a tough road, “ says Sarge. “But everything in life that is worth doing is going to be challenging to obtain it.”