Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World


Becoming a Lifter: The Boogaloo Bertha Story

by Nick Delgadillo, SSC | July 29, 2020

Bre Hillen, also known as Boogaloo Bertha, walked into WFAC nearly 4 years ago a damaged, weak, and skinny CrossFitter. I started helping her with her programming in November of 2017 after she had already been in the gym for a while, and have been working with her since. During that time she had shoulder surgery, decided she wanted to get skinny, changed her mind and decided she wanted to be strong, had another shoulder surgery, started working for The Aasgaard Company, and became an internet sensation through Starting Strength YouTube videos. She has gone from accusations of being an android to now having gushing fans across all demographics. 

The most interesting part of Bre’s training history, though, is her dedication to her training goals. When she wanted to rehab her shoulders, she listened and did what we told her to do and it worked. When she wanted to lose weight, she listened and did what I told her and she lost weight. When she wanted to get strong, she listened and did what I told her and she got strong, and is continuing to get strong. There was doubt and argument along the way, but she always listens, trusts the process, and sticks to the plan. It’s convenient to look at somebody’s current level of performance and dismiss it as something that has come easy, and to disregard the hours spent in the gym grinding through grueling workouts to chase another pound or two on the press or another five pounds on the squat. 

Bre is one of these people who doesn’t do normal things. She eats the same shit every day for every meal – some combination of gruel, protein gel, and white meat chicken – and she doesn’t miss training sessions. I’ve only seen her eat a meal out somewhere two times as long as I’ve known her, even though she claims to go to Menchie’s every once in a while. When a modification needs to be made to her eating plan, she implements it immediately and sticks to it every single day. She hasn’t skipped a single training session since I’ve been working with her. Not one. Definitely not normal.

bre rack pull at wfac

This obsessive personality, although not conducive to having much to talk about, makes for an excellent training client. I’ve been able to try all kinds of wild programming schemes with her since every variable that is an issue with normal people can be accounted for in her training. Most of my time and effort in programming for clients is dedicated to getting them back on track or getting consistent with training due to the constant starts and stops most of us allow our training to be subjected to. Bre’s starts and stops have been only due to surgeries or tweaks, and even then these would be only adjustments in exercise selection and load based on the situation. 

Here’s a look at Bre’s progress over the last three years: 

November 2017

  • Squat - 2x3 @ 175 lbs
  • Press - 3x3 @ 80
  • Deadlift - 2x3 @ 200
  • Bench - N/A due to shoulder issues

July 2020

  • Squat - 6x2 @ 260
  • Press - 2x1 @ 125
  • Rack Pull - 5x1 @ 340
  • Bench - 4x1 @ 150

bre bodyweight over time

Bodyweight 146 lbs in November 2017. Current bodyweight 159 lbs. Lowest bodyweight was 135 lbs in August 2018.

bre before and after front view

bre before and after back view

Before (left), September 2018: Chest - 33 in, waist - 29.5, hips - 39. After (right), July 2020 Chest - 37 in, waist - 29, hips - 40

Bre continues to make progress, sometimes on a weekly basis, and has moved beyond the phase in her training career where she’s chasing different goals. Bre is now a Lifter – who wants to squat 300, pull 400, and press 135. She’ll be there soon.


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