Taking the lead with fitness

AFTER: Tribal members, Brandi Raines (left) and Mikki Naranjo (right) smile as they strike a pose in their new sweaters.
BEFORE: Southern Ute Tribal members, Brandi Raines (left) and Mikki Naranjo (right) months prior to joining the SunUte Community Center.
Sean Etcitty | SunUte
Sean Etcitty | SunUte

Southern Ute tribal members Brandi Raines and Mikki Naranjo have become frequent visitors of the SunUte Community Center. Though their schedules do not allow for a set time to visit the gym, getting a workout in has become routine for their day. Their commitment to this new lifestyle showed, as they were able to win the final “Tribal Member-Exclusive Fitness Incentive” of 2017. The contest ran from October 4 thtorug December 31, and required participants to sign in an average of three times per week. Mikki averaged 4.5 visits per week, while her sister Brandi averaged 3.4 visits. For their efforts, Brandi and Mikki received customized sweaters. Additionally, they gained completely new perspectives on what they can accomplish when they commit to their goals.

Mikki’s gym visits began a year and a half ago, with walking and planned workouts with SunUte Fitness Trainer Abel Velasquez. After a few months, Mikki extended an invitation to Brandi. What started out as a way for the two to spend time with one another soon turned into a full-blown addiction. When Abel moved into the role of Fitness Director, I had the privilege of working with both Brandi and Mikki. It was clear that the gym was an escape for the sisters; a release from the stresses of everyday life.

Over the past seven months, Brandi has dropped 50 pounds; she went from wearing size 24 pants to wearing a size 12. Mikki has lost 80 pounds; she is down 7 pant sizes and 3 shirt sizes. Brandi and Mikki are an inspiration for the women of the community. They want everyone to know that anyone can accomplish what they have with dedication and hard work. They want to continue to live healthy, productive lifestyles so they can be around for their families for years to come.


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