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HOUSTON A Houston orthodontist and her team took top honors in a challenge against other business leaders in the Greater Houston area. But this challenge was not about business in financial terms, it was about getting down to business, all in the name of health and fitness.

Dr. Heather Brown won 1st place as Houston s Fittest Female Doctor, and her company, Dr. Heather Brown Orthodontics, came in 2nd place for Fittest Company.

The Fit Company Challenge, a corporate event hosted by the Fit Company Institute, provided area companies and business leaders an opportunity to show the importance of living a fit and healthy lifestyle through a series of challenges. The challenge was held at the Houston Dynamo Amateur Sports Park on February 23, and a portion of the proceeds benefitted the local Trotter Family YMCA.

Business professionals and executives ranging in ages from the early 20 s to the late 50 s competed in categories for Fittest Executive, Entrepreneur, Doctor, Lawyer and the coveted Fittest Company award.

The Fit Company Challenge is an invite-only competition so I was super excited to hear that I was one of 20 female doctors in Houston chosen to compete. Honestly, I was a little nervous at first, but I was ready to take on the physical challenge. My staff decided to join me as a team and compete for Fittest Company so the entire office was motivated, Dr. Brown said.

In Houston s inaugural event, over 60 companies were represented and participants sweated their way through three fitness courses challenging their strength, conditioning, power, agility and ending with a test of endurance in order to show that they practice what they preach. The last course of the challenge was a 5k run.

To prepare for that, Dr. Brown and the team had to stick to a strict routine and practice plenty of self-discipline, while relying on each other for support through the tough times.

Because I knew the competition was going to be strenuous and highly competitive, we sought the help of personal trainer, Evins Tobler of Fitness by Tobler, she said. My staff and I trained four to five days a week for about four months. Our regimen included weight training, lots of plyometrics, and 5 a.m. sprints and long distance running!

Brown admits there were times that she wanted to give up during the event, but her strong support system kept her gunning for the gold.

There were definitely moments where I felt like throwing in the towel, but encouragement from supporters, screams from my trainer and having my husband by my side competing with our team definitely helped me stay in the game, she said. We had all trained and worked so hard leading up to the day of the competition, that it made absolutely no sense to do anything less than our best. Of course, physically, my body was hurting and I wanted to stop but mentally, quitting just wasn t an option.

Dr. Brown is a mother of two young, active sons and runs a successful practice. With all of her duties, it would be very easy to let fitness take a back seat, but she says she makes sure she remains consistent with her program.

I know first-hand how difficult it can be for a mother to balance her family and her career, but if she does not put in time for her health, then all is in vain. You must prioritize your life by putting your health first. Finding at least 30 to 45 min a day to exercise is a must. A trip to the gym, a walk in the neighborhood, or even taking the kids to the park are all ways you can find to stay active, she said. The bottom line is there is really no excuse not to make time for your health. Hire a personal trainer or ask a friend to join you. Sometimes it can be helpful to have some extra support. Lastly, make sure you incorporate healthy eating to give your body the proper nutrition it needs. Believe in yourself. You can do it!

And she definitely did, but what was her toughest challenge at the competition?

The entire event was brutal but I would have to say the worst challenge for me was the most dreadful, burpees! After completing all the challenges and then finishing with a three-mile run also ranked as a tough one on the top of my list, she said.

Brown wasn t the only one of her team members to take home an individual win, Insurance Coordinator Rebecca Romero came in 2nd place for Fittest Female Professional.

Joining Brown and Romero on the team were her husband, former Houston Texans playerEric Brown, along with Stephanie Foster, Jazmine Hawkins, Jessica Rice and Wallace Moore.

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