Carterville woman inspires others with her bodybuilding | Life & Style Magazine


CARTERVILLE – A Carterville woman continues to win award after award nationally for bodybuilding.

Melissa Brothers has been an athlete her whole life, and as she got older she started looking to her next challenge. Little did she know she would settle on a sport that would make her an inspiration to many.

Melissa Brothers was a long distance runner before she finally started bodybuilding in 2018.

“It was kind of like an ‘I’m about to turn 40’ bucket list item thing for me to even get into competing,” Melissa Brothers said. “I thought if I can push my body through 50 mile ultra-marathon surely I can train my body and diet down for nine months out of the year. So, I just decided to get into it. Then I got into it and found out that it was something I truly enjoyed.”

Close to that time Melissa Brothers decided to join a new gym to up her fitness.

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She joined The Den Fitness Center where she began training under former bodybuilder and her future husband, Brent Brothers.

It was through Brent Brothers training and his passion for the sport that Melissa developed a similar passion.

She went on to win the first place in PCA USA Midwest Qualifier in the Women’s Masters Toned Bikini class and in PCA USA Nationals in the Women’s Masters Toned Bikini class.

Melissa Brothers’ national win got her a qualification seat in the world competition.

However, the pandemic put a halt on her bodybuilding.

“We had all started into our prep season and registered for several shows like we normally do for the year,” Melissa Brothers said. “One after one they started getting canceled. One particular got canceled, like nine days out from the show, which was very disappointing. We really put a lot of work in to not only our training but our diet and to have it pulled for months like that nine days out was very disheartening.”

The pandemic not only shut down the season Melissa Brothers and the others she trained season. It also shut down the world competition she was set to compete in.

Thankfully though the next year’s competition season was right on track.

She went on to win several more first place awards in 2021 including:

  • PCA USA Pro Gear Classic in the Women’s Masters Trained Bikini class
  • PCA USA Pro Gear Classic in the Women’s Trained Bikini class
  • PCA USA Pro Gear Classic Overall Women’s Bikini Champion
  • PCA USA Iron Bay Classic in the Women’s Masters Trained Bikini
  • PCA USA Iron Bay Classic in the Women’s Trained Bikini
  • PCA USA Iron Bay Classic Overall Women’s Bikini Champion
  • PCA USA Nationals in the Women’s Masters Trained Bikini
  • PCA USA Nationals in the Women’s Trained Bikini
  • PCA USA Nationals in the 2021 Women’s Overall Bikini Champion Title

It was the challenge that the sport provided that truly made Melissa Brothers fall in love with it.

“It’s like the saying goes if it was easy, everyone would do it,” Melissa Brothers said. For me when if it’s something you love it doesn’t seem like a chore, doesn’t seem like a struggle. It doesn’t seem hard. I’m not going to paint a rosy picture and make it seem like its easy and all fun and games. It’s not easy to train yourself every single day when you’re tired. Just like with anything in life it comes down to how bad you want it. If you want it, you’ll do it.”

Brent Brothers had stopped competing in bodybuilding competitions before Melissa Brothers became his client.

However, he has since started competing again having been inspired by his wife.

It has been a whole new experience for Brent Brothers going from training on his own to doing so with his wife.

The two have even won first place in two couple’s bodybuilding classes.

“We dearly love the sport,” Brent Brothers said. “Whether we placed first or third or fifth, it didn’t matter. It was just the fact of us being together. There’s nothing like it. To be able to start from day one and end up on stage together, was a great experience.”

However, Brent Brothers wasn’t the only one his wife had inspired.

Melissa Brothers and her husband are also trainers who not only train people for competitions but also just to get into better shape.

Jessica Drake, one of her trainees, said it was seeing Melissa Brothers’ progress that truly got her interested in the sport.

“It was something I never thought I would ever do in my life,” Drake said. “But just seeing them and everything they were training for that and just watching the group do that kind of inspired me to want to try something like that.”

Melissa Brothers is not only an amazing trainer but also a good friend, Drake said.

It is through her advice that Drake knew the only person she really needed to beat at each competition was herself.

“I always say I tell all my girls on our team, don’t worry about who else is on that stage with you,” Melissa Brothers said. “Don’t stress about it leading up to the day of wondering who’s going be there. The only person you’re competing with on that stage is you. The only thing that you need to do is be better than the one you were before.”

Melissa Brothers has also had to couch her girls on how to deal with the negative comments that come with being a female bodybuilder.

While Melissa Brothers said she believes everyone is entitled to their own preferences she does encourage those who aren’t fans of the body type to visit a show.

“I wish that more people truly viewed it as what it is and it’s a sport,” Melissa Brothers said. “We work very hard and we are athletes. I invite anyone to come to a show and see the hard work that’s done on the stage. Because even though it’s a ton of fun and you’ve done all that work leading up to it, you’re still posing and it’s hard work posing. You’re exhausted by the time that day is over.”

Through Melissa Brothers’ training, friendship and mindset Drake has been able to come out of her shell and explore the sport for herself.

“I can’t thank her enough for everything that she did for me not only for my shows but just for helping me get out of my shell,” Drake said. “I was a very shy person before going into the Den and having her training me and doing the shows I just broke out of my shell. I just can’t thank her enough for that.”

Melissa Brothers, a mother of four, has also been an inspiration for her kids.

Though it is doubtful any of them will go into bodybuilding it is the dedication they are picking up from their mother, Brent Brothers said.

“I think what it does teach is it shows them that if you set your mind to do something, you can do anything,” Brent Brothers said. “Melissa came from a running background. She took it from day one and just did the work. So what we want to try to instill into our kids is if you want something bad enough, then do the work and make it happen.”

Melissa Brothers’ next local competition where individuals can find her is set for 10 am on June 11 in Paducah, Kentucky.

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