Category Archives: Success Stories

Dreams Coming True: GRIT by Brit + Dallas Fit Body Bootcamp teaming up to launch the BEST group fitness studio in Dallas!

 

new destinyHappy Monday Friends!  I have big news.  Just over a week ago, I quit my job – AHH!   I’ll share more details later this week about how made this decision as it took many sleepless nights, self-reflections and panic attacks.  Nonetheless I’m super happy to announce that starting today, I will spend all day every day pursuing my passion.  Each day I get to wake up and help people live healthier, happier and more abundant lives!  I’m overflowing with joy right now because I have been waiting for the moment for over 2 years.  It’s been exhausting living a double duty life of maintaing a corporate career AND teaching fitness glasses AND blogging.  Now I don’t have to constantly switch personas. I can just be myself and it’s so liberating!

God works in mysterious ways.  Just after I gave my 2 weeks notice, I was teaching my usual Turbo Kick class at 24 Hour Fitness and after class I had a long chat with one of my regular class members.  Her son happens to be one of my closest, hometown friends so we often chat about the good old days growing up in Mesquite, TX.  She also has another son, also a friend of mine (Turner), who is  well-respected personal trainer and owner of Dallas Fit Body Bootcamp.  She mentioned that he was looking for a fitness partner to utilize the other side of his gym which was currently sitting vacant.  I literally jumped with joy when I heard this news.  Long story short,  Turner and I are now partners in crime!

Having my own fitness studio is my DREAM!  It’s so crazy that this opportunity came only AFTER I took a leap of faith and quit my job.  If you want to walk on water you’ve gotta get out of the boat, right?

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Me and Turner last Thursday after signing our business agreement!

The very next day I met with Turner to tour the gym.  The space is perfect for my own fitness studio.  It’s about 1,300 sqft, has a beautiful foyer, long walls for big mirrors and is perfectly located in East Dallas.  On one side of the gym Turner will run Dallas Fit Body Bootcamp and on the other side, I will run GRIT Fitness.  We are offering all-access passes for those who want to workout on both sides of the gym.  So excited!

collage for grit site promotion

GRIT Fitness will be the 1st and only studio in Dallas providing a variety of leading group fitness formats!

You guys know I’m a group fitness junkie so I’ll be offering a variety of my all-time favorite group fitness formats including PiYo, Turbo Kick, Power Yoga, Body Sculpt, Dance Cardio and Hip Hop.  I’m also bringing on some of Dallas’ best yoga and dance instructors to help me create the ultimate, energetic experience.

Turner and I are on a  mission to create the #1 group fitness studio in Dallas.  We are passionate and we work our butts off so I’m 100% confident we will succeed.  I’ll keep you posted on our journey – there’s sure to be ups and downs but we are ready for the challenge.  BRING IT!

Our gym is located at 3821 Ross Ave. Dallas, TX 75204.  We will start demolition on the new space today!  Visit the GRIT Fitness website for updates, dallasgritfitness.com – Grand opening January 2015!

teamwork

 

Guest Post: Ariana’s Healthy Lifestyle Makeover #TransformationTuesday

Happy Tuesday friends! Today I’m sharing a story from my new Dallas “fit friend,” Ariana!   We met this Summer when she attended my PiYo classes at the W Dallas Hotel. We instantly hit it off given our love for hardcore workouts and bright workout clothes (see pic of us in PiYo class on Instagram). I was inspired by Ariana’s dedication coming to class every Saturday and the fact that she always rallied a group of girls to come along with her – talk about accountability! As we got to know each other better, Ariana shared her healthy lifestyle journey with me. I was instantly energized by her story, so I asked her to share on my blog today!  I hope her story encourages you as much as it encouraged me…

Ariana’s Healthy Journey: Connecting with a Positive Community

Ariana's Before & After Photos

Ariana’s Before & After Photos

My name is Ariana Michelle and my life has always been very adventurous. I love traveling and a good challenge. I’m a packaging engineer in the cosmetic industry and just moved from New Jersey to Dallas to be closer to my fiance! We met 2 years ago in Turks and Caicos!

My before picture was taken in March right after I moved to Dallas. I’ve always struggled with food. My family knew me as the garbage disposal…I was such an athlete that I thought I could burn it all off. After college, that wasn’t the case anymore, and real athletes don’t treat their bodies with diets full of ice cream and bagels! It’s taken a really long time to listen to all the advice I’ve been reading about for years. I have lost 20 lbs since then and countless inches. I was a size SAD, now I’m a size SASSY! Never give up, your journey will take time! I wish I had listened back then and stopped eating all the foods that made me sick. Without the right foods I wouldn’t be such a ray of sunshine!

My biggest motivation was striking out on my own. The move to Texas was really hard! I didn’t know anyone. My fiance still lives 6 hours away, and so I had to learn to cook for myself! I needed a community, a place to call home, and friends who enjoyed the same things I did. I was tired of having acne, not fitting into my clothes, and I knew if I was going to make new friends I first needed to feel confident in my own skin. So, I decided my health would be the #1 priority in my life. I found community in all different fitness groups!

Ariana & the Tone it Up Babes!  Being a part of a healthy community increases accountability!

Ariana & the Tone it Up Babes! Being a part of a healthy community increases accountability!

I set out to make some goals for myself! The Tone It Up (TIU) BIKINI SERIES was extremely helpful to set goals. I challenged myself with different cardio workouts like Turbo Fire, and T25, and TIU running routines. Each week, you have to keep yourself accountable, and remember that every small change yields large results! An easy goal to start with, I added something green to each meal. The following week I added more cardio. It’s so important to go slow and have a vision for your journey or you will be overwhelmed and give up. It’s the sum of your choices that makes a radiant person. Goals are the key to loving life!

Did I have set-backs? Yes! It has been a two-year journey to get where I am now. Between a devastating breakup, the loss of a dozen friends who were once my support system, and family struggles, there were times that I wanted to focus on other things, and help everyone else. But the biggest thing you can do for your family is to be a constant example of positivity. It took a long time for me to find a job in Texas, and then I was finally able to get connected to a great group of girls! I dove right in, making sure that I had a new support system if I was feeling helpless or tired. My journey would not have been possible without my #tiusisters and #teamuproar

I’m going to continue to follow the Tone it Up Plan and my new lifestyle for life~ eating the right things at the right times is going to help me keep up with my kids (someday ;)! I always tell my friends that each day adds up, so even if you only have 20 minutes to be active, that makes 140 minutes per week. I take it day by day, and set goals each morning. I never feel guilty for indulging once in a while because what I do 85% of the time keeps me right on track.

Sunset in Cali

Ariana now feeling good, looking great and still staying connected to her fitness community

You can keep in touch with Ariana on Instagram @Fitgirlmechanic or email at arianamichellefitness@gmail.com

Fibroid Removal Surgery: Real Talk About Myomectomy

Hey Gang!  So in case you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting many gym #selfies lately.  It’s not because I’m being lazy and skipping the gym, rather I recently had fibroid removal surgery (myomectomy) and have been out of commission.  I had no intention of writing a blog post about this experience, but I’ve encountered so many women that struggle with fibroids that I feel compelled to share my story.  Now don’t fret, this is a story of a success and hope, not of negatively and fear.  So let me start from the beginning…

Source: www.ivfplano.com

Source: www.ivfplano.com

I’m very active young woman, 29 years old with no history of any medical problems. However, like a year and a half ago my periods started getting really heavy to the point that they were inconveniencing me at work and making it difficult to get through the day.  I thought it was just due to my body changing with age and because I had stopped taking birth control. A few months later I mentioned my symptoms to my OBGYN during my annual exam and she responded that my heavy menstruation could be due to fibroids.  I was like, huh?  Surely enough during my exam she did feel some lumps on my uterus so she instructed me to a have an ultrasound, during which my fibroids were confirmed.  At this point, I totally freaked out.  A million questions ran through my mind like –  “Can I still get pregnant?” “Do I have cancer?” “Is this because of my diet or lifestyle?” “Do I need surgery?” “If so, what kind of surgery?”

Fortunately, my doctor was very thorough and walked me through the severity (or lack of severity) of the situation and explained that fibroids are benign tumors very common among women of child-bearing age and in most cases can go left untreated if they are not causing symptoms.  However, mine were causing symptoms and were fairly large (ranged from 2cm to 7cm) so she highly recommended that I have them removed if I planned to become pregnant in the future.

“Okay,” I thought to my self, “So I know I need to have surgery, the questions now are: When?  And how I will have the operation?”  This is where my GRIT by Brit hardcore research mode kicked in.  During my investigation, I learned 3 key facts that changed my world for the better:

  1. You are  NOT alone – up to 80% of women experience fibroids before the age of 50.  So don’t freakout.  You’re not critically ill or cursed.  As long as you treat your fibroids appropriately, you are likely to be well.  Also, the presence of uterine fibroids is mostly genetic.  So if you your mom had them (mine did) you will likely have them too.  Also, some studies show that high consumption of alcohol and red meat are likely to lead to fibroids, but this hasn’t been scientifically proven.
  2. You do NOT need a hysterectomy – If you have several fibroids and ovarian cysts you may think that a complete hysterectomy (removal of your entire uterus and ovaries) is your only option.  This is not true!  For many older women in their later 40’s and 50’s this is the best option because they are not likely to bear children.  But if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, you can opt for a myomectomy to remove your fibroids and preserve your fertility.  For some women who have really small fibroids that are not growing rapidly, birth control is an effective treatment to mitigate heavy bleeding and no surgery at all is needed.
  3. You do NOT need to get a giant C-section scar – So many of you, like me, are very active wellness-minded young adults who cringe at the thought of being cut open and laid up on the couch in agonizing recovery for several weeks.  Fortunately, there are several non-surgery options and minimally invasive surgery options (e.g. laparoscopic myomectomy, DaVinci Robot myomectomy, high intensity focused ultrasound- HIFU)
Leaving the hospital just after my fibroid removal surgery 1/22/14

Leaving the hospital just after my fibroid removal surgery 1/22/14

Personally, I decided to go with the laparoscopic myomectomy to treat my fibroids.   I really wanted to do HIFU, but it’s still in the clinical trial phase and radiologists will not let women who wish to become pregnant undergo the procedure – so HIFU got ruled out.

I had surgery on Jan. 22, 2014 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with Dr. Jon Einarsson.   It was a day surgery and the procedure itself took about 3 hours.  I checked in the hospital at 8:30am and went home around 3pm.  Here’s a pic of me leaving the hospital (in some pain but still cracking a smile for the camera).

Below is a photo of my uterus before and after my surgery.  As you can see up top, the fibroids were making my uterus much larger than needed and taking up way too much space in my belly.  I also had an ovarian cyst which you can see on the bottom left corner of the top photo. On the bottom you can see my uterus now, without the fibroids and without the cyst.  So much more space! There’s some stitches and internal gauze that will dissolve over time.

Brit's Uterus before and after the Laparoscopic Myomectomy - fibroids and ovarian cysts removed!

Brit’s Uterus before and after the Laparoscopic Myomectomy – fibroids and ovarian cysts removed!

Here’s a photo of my incisions.  I’ve gotta be honest, I was really concerned about having a giant scar on my belly – who wants that?  I was so relieved to learn that I could have my myomectomy surgery done laparoscopically (even though lots of gynecologists told me I couldn’t…hmmmm).  As you can see, there are just 2 small incisions on the left side of my abdomen (each only 1 centimeter) and then there’s an incision in my belly button.  So, 3 incisions altogether.  Each incision is covered with a dermaglue that peels off in like 2-3 weeks.  Not bad huh?

Brit's incisions from Laparoscopic Myomectomy by Dr. Jon Einarsson

Brit’s incisions from Laparoscopic Myomectomy by Dr. Jon Einarsson

Look at me now!  Feeling healthy, fibroid free, and ready to hit the gym :)

Look at me now! Feeling healthy, fibroid free, and ready to hit the gym 🙂

Today, I’m grateful to report that I am 3 and a half weeks post surgery, have ZERO fibroids or ovarian cysts, a fully functioning uterus and ovaries and I feel AWESOME!  The laparsocipic surgery has significantly less recovery time and uterine scarring than the open myometocty, which is puts me in better shape for when I get pregnant in the future.  I’ll return to work full-time this week with zero restrictions.  Last week I’ve even starting working out again!  Also, my scars are tiny and healing very well.  I have minimal swelling in my abdomen but my pelvis region is still a bit tender.  I also have some bruising around my groin and on my upper thighs which will last for another month – that’s the worst of it.  Overall, I feel so blessed for the abilities of modern surgery and for my amazing surgeon, Dr. Einarsson. 

I just wanted to share my experience with you guys so that hopefully it can be a story of encouragement for anyone going through the same thing.  If you have ANY questions at all feel free to post a comment below.   Also, if you have had experience with fibroids, please share your story with us!  Let’s support each other 🙂

Be a Well Woman!  xoxo, Brit

New GRIT by Brit Workout Video on BOOYA Fitness

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That’s me, front and center, delivering the GRIT by Brit workout for BOOYA Fitness

Last weekend I filmed my 2nd official GRIT by Brit workout video!  The video will drop on Thanksgiving Day as part of the launch of BOOYA Fitness.  BOOYA is an revolutionary new fitness company that provides high-end workout videos to consumers on demand.  Think NetFlix for workout videos. It features amazing fitness instructors mostly from the best boutique fitness studios in NYC.  You can check out more details on their alpha site www.booyafitness.com but be on the lookout for the Thanksgiving Day launch of their new site and new workout videos – featuring yours truly!

Personally, I decided to support BOOYA and be a featured instructor on the platform because I love the idea of being able to connect with my students outside of the group fitness classroom.  Also, the co-founder, Prita Kumar, is a fellow Harvard Business School MBA and Fitness Fanatic (like me).  Prita and I met each other over Twitter and instantly connected.  I’m so excited for her to transform the fitness industry through high-end video content.  You can learn more about her journey to starting BOOYA Fitness on this cool start up documentary, CLICK HERE to watch.

So, let me move on and tell you a little about the cool experience I had at the BOOYA shoot and what you can expect from the new and improved GRIT by Brit workout…

Headed to the studio with my cue cards in hand!

Headed to the studio with my cue cards in hand!

So if you have a copy of my DVD (if you don’t buy one on Amazon – PLEASE) you’ll notice that the workout I designed for BOOYA is very similar.  However, I really tried to take my game to the next level.  In addition to the jammin’ music, I incorporated new techniques I’ve learned to over the past year to enhance my workout.  Specifically:

  • More FUN – I incorporated some “dance-like” moves into the cardio sections and into the choreography overall
  • More FIERECE – After each cardio round I have a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) section
  • More FITNESS – Through the workout I really focused on focus on toning the legs and core.  Also I only use of body weight resistance training – no hand weights this time

I feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment after this shoot because I can look back on my progress over the past year and see how I’ve really grown as a fitness instructor and personal coach.  It feels good knowing that I’m better able to help people reach their fitness goals.  I’m VERY confident that my new workout video will inspire and motivate tons of people to have fun, get fit and show their GRIT 😉

I'm clearly very excited to explain the GRIT by Brit workout during my BOOYA fitness interview :)

I’m clearly very excited to explain the GRIT by Brit workout during my BOOYA fitness interview 🙂

For the BOOYA shoot, I was fortunate to have a rock star group of participants, Minal and Lateefah.  Minal, is another HBS MBA / Fitness Guru – she is the founder of BollyX and did me the honor of being in my video.  “BOLLYX is a Bollywood-inspired dance-fitness program that combines dynamic choreography and intensive workouts with upbeat music from around the world.  The workouts are fun and invigorating but, more importantly, designed to drive fitness results through cardio and muscle-building exercises. ”  Lateefah, is the founder of EmpowerFit.    “Empowerfit is empowerment through fitness.”  Lateefah and I met the day of the shoot, but we instantly connected – it was like we had known each other for years.  She brings a solid dance cardio background to the video which complimented the GRIT by Brit signature moves very well.

Both of these lovely ladies ROCKED IT OUT and brought some serious energy and enthusiasm on shoot day – I’m super grateful for them both!

Lateefah, me and Minal after a successful shoot!

Lateefah, me and Minal after a successful shoot!

Overall, I cannot wait for the official video to drop on Thanksgiving Day!  I’ll keep you guys posted on the details.  In the meanwhile, keep grinding, keeping shinning and keep showing you GRIT.   I’ve got a new ab workout coming this week, so stayed tuned for that as well.  All the best to you!

Lots of luv,

Brit 🙂

Healthy Habits for Sustained Success

10 healthy habits

I made up this healthy habits list about 2 years ago when I got really serious about taking control of my health, my weight and my life.  While these habits may seem a little extreme, they are doable and beneficial!  Personally, I have not mastered the list, but each day I try to do a little better.  It takes a lot of GRIT to develop healthy habits.  But healthy habits are the only way to a sustain a healthy lifestyle.  While these habits can take a lifetime to develop, we should strive to perfect them EVERY DAY.  Doing so helps us be our BEST SELVES!  If we focus on 1 healthy habit at a time, soon enough we’ll be living by the full formula.  GOOD LUCK! Luv, Brit 😉

need a littl GRIT

BRIT’S LIST OF HEALTHY HABITS – MY FIERCE FORMULA…

0 – Hours of television

1 – Hour of exercise

2 – Liters of water

3 – Cups of hot green tea

4 – Short mental breaks

5 – Small meals

6 – AM wake up time

7 – Minutes of laughter

8 – Hours of sleep (at least)

9 – PM end of the day and off to bed

10 – Prayers of gratitude (list 10 things you’re thankful for)

Lean In: My story of pursuing my passions

GRIT by Brit Lean In

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about an inspiring women’s conferenced I attended at my alma mater, Harvard Business School.  Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO,  was the keynote speaker and I become very moved by her advocacy for women to “Lean In.”  I could relate to her stories about over coming corporate obstacles, balancing work and life and trying to build and maintain self-confidence.   She even talked about the importance of maintaining her health and wellness (she was also a fitness instructor on the side, like me!).  This woman has some #GRIT.  Anyway, I decided to share my “Lean In” story with the global community, so I today I wanted to repost it for my GRIT by Brit readers.  Hope my story inspires you and encourages you to make your dreams come true!

lean in logo

The only person who can hold me back from making my dreams come true, is me!  Lots of luv, Brit

And here’s my story…

I drained my savings account to develop and produce an original home workout DVD. I was working crazy hours in management consulting and had recently completed my MBA, but could not ignore my deep desire to share fitness, health and wellness with others. I chose to lean in.

I realized I had unique ability to motivate and encourage others through fitness and wellness. At a very young age I began struggling with my weight. I weighed 106 pounds in the 3rd grade. However, my weight loss journey transformed my way of thinking and revealed my personal strength. My new-found mental grit positively impacted my career, relationships and my faith. I had a duty to share my weight management success story and tools for others to succeed.

First, I auditioned at a major fitness club to start teaching part-time group fitness classes. I was terrified. Completely out of my element, I had to study for fitness certifications, get my body in impeccable shape and learn to lead a class. I would have been much more comfortable in a conference room with PowerPoint slides.

I then started a fitness and wellness lifestyle blog in which I became totally immersed. After long days with my corporate clients, I would stay up late designing workouts and writing motivational messages for my blog followers.

Last, I took the big leap by draining my entire savings account, hiring a producer, and shooting a home workout DVD, staring me! While being in front of the camera was very uncomfortable, it was also amazingly exhilarating. In less than one year, I finalized the video content and packaging. The DVD was picked up by an Amazon distributor and is now for sale online to customers worldwide. In the first three months I sold over 100 copies without any paid marketing or advertising. Also, my blog grew to almost 2,000 followers. In the meanwhile, I received a promotion from Senior Consultant to Manager at my full-time consulting job—wow!

My lean in decision taught me that I’m capable of doing things far beyond my imagination. While I haven’t led a major corporation or raised millions of dollars, I have encouraged the lives of many people by simply sharing my gifts and taking a risk. The only person who can hold me back from making my dreams come true, is me.

BeachBody #OperationTahiti

Brandon Gayle #OperationTahiti

Meet my friend and former business school classmate, Brandon!  During a Twitter convo last week, I learned that he’s about to go on an amazing vacation to Tahiti on April 16th!

Since, I LOVE “beach ready” workouts AND many of my male followers have been requesting some “dude focused” plans, I thought this was perfect timing for my 1st official “get right for the summer” workout plan #OperationTahiti.  

Brandon’s #OperationTahiti Goals

  • Add 7 lbs of muscle and get back to 170 lbs (currently at 163 lbs)

  • Get back to an 8 pack and tight core

  • Tighten upper body (chest and arms) definition

  • Restore base of strength in shoulders, back, groin, quads, hamstrings & calves

  • Improve cardio endurance (not my favorite thing in the world)

Brandon’s GRIT by Brit Workout Schedule

Operation Tahiti

A few things to note about Brandon’s workout schedule…

  • This is ~2 week workout and diet plan which requires training 2 days on and 1 day off, alternating.
  • All of the cardio workouts are in red text, strength is in blue text and abs are in gray text
  • I tried to incorporate 3 days of cardio each week
  • I want Brandon to lift as HEAVY as POSSIBLE during his strength workouts
  • Here are links to detailed GRIT by Brit workouts included in his schedule:

Now, we all know you can’t out exercise a bad diet, so here’s Brandon’s diet change ups to go along with his workout schedule…

Brandon’s Diet Change Ups

Stayed tuned for Brandon’s progress report and “after” pics!  I’m sure he’s gonna kill it!  #OperationTahiti – Leggoo!