Hey Friends! This year I set a goal to read at least 1 book per month and I’m so excited about my 12 book, boss babe reading plan! I spent a ton of time selecting a solid combo of personal growth, fun fiction and girl power inspiration and tried to align them with the seasons and how I usually feel at certain points in the year. Sooooo….any ladies looking to join me on the 2019 reading journey can check out my 12 picks below! I think I’ll call this “Brit’s Book Club” and now officially be on my journey of becoming Oprah 🙂 Enjoy!
January– Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis
February – The Secret, Rhonda Byrne
March – Activate Your Brain, Scott Halford
April – Becoming, Michelle Obama
May – Visioneering, Andy Standley
June – What To Ask The Person in The Mirror, Robert Kaplan
July – Nine Women One Dress, Janel Rosen
August – How the Might Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, Jim Collins
September – GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth
October – Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind, Joyce Meyer
Last year I suffered from a stress induced illness called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which temporarily paralyzed the left side of my face. I was shocked when the doctors told me that despite living a “healthy lifestyle” (i.e. exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet) this sickness is caused 100% by stress – that’s right, a lack of mental health!
The cure/prevention was not to do more but rather to do less. My doctor essentially prescribed me a heavy dose of R&R – I was supposed to CHILL OUT in order to get better. For a Type A, highachieving person, this is totally counterintuitive. Do nothing? Do you know who I am? I thrive in stressful situations! I thought I was going to go crazy! However, I’m grateful for the illness and for my recovery process because they taught me to value self-care. And if you are a high-achiever, self-care is not going to the gym or writing a “to do” list or reading a book about growing your business. Self-care is just relaxing and then relaxing some more… that’s it! It’s about placing a high value on “me time.” It’s about learning to CTFD (calm the F down). Here are 7 ways I chilled out during my recovery from Ramsay Hunt and ways I still chill out today. They are NOT productive, but they are relaxing which makes me a mentally healthy woman…
Get artistic – Buy a coloring book and color a few pages (for real), draw, make a beautiful bouquet of flowers for you bedroom, find some arts and crafts on Pintrest, etc. I find creating something from nothing is very therapeutic, especially when there is no pressure to perform and the final product is simply for me to enjoy!
Write a letter to yourself – Pretend you are living 10 years from now in you DREAM life and write a letter of encouragement, advice and hope to yourself today.
Go for a walk – Don’t jog, or run, or count your calories. Just walk for the sake of enjoying the walk. I recommend listening to a fun book, podcast or a relaxing music. I personally like to listen to praise and worship music and I find that I’m instantly calmed. My dog, Pearl, often joins me for these 🙂
Soak in Epsom salt – Yay bath time! Fill up the tub with warm water, bubbles and Epsom salt (great for reducing inflammation in the body). Light a yummy candle and just soak for 30 minutes.
Enjoy a face mask – I’m obsessed with paper masks. Trader Joe’s Rich Hydrating Face Sheet Mask is my personal fav. I like to put on one of these and enjoy a glass of wine. Very relaxing. I also got into acupuncture. At first I was just going because I wanted to get my face moving again, but then I really loved it and usually fall asleep and take an amazing nap while the needles settle in.
Read (just cuz) – No self-help or business growth books allowed! Just read something mindless and fun. I like romantic comedy fiction novels but just pick whatever interests you, as long as it s NOT productive and ONLY fun!
Follow a morning routine – About a month ago I started following a morning routine and it totally brightens my day! I actually look forward to waking up and following my routine. Every morning I take my supplements (one of which is cherry-flavored gummy biotin supplement), take a shot of Elderberry Syrup, make a cup of black coffee in my Keurig, and have “Quiet Time” (more the quiet time later)
Most importantly, I believe self-care should be done ALONE! So the focus is you and only you. Sometime we think a movie night with a friend or a girl’s night out is self-care, but the reality is that when we are with other we usually consider their wants and needs and make compromises. Self-care is about making time for you and only you! What are your fav self-care practices? Please share, I’d love to hear!
Keeping the 5 year tradition alive! So happy to share the highs and lows of 2018 – I’m grateful for all of it. If you want to go back in time, here are my year end reviews for 2013, 2014, (think I missed 2015), 2016 & 2017…enjoy and be blessed! xo, Brit
1. Giving a TEDx Talk
This was hands down the most exhilarating experience of my year. It challenged me and took my back to my old high school speech and debate days (nerd alert). Not only did it challenge my public speaking skills it forced me to be super introspective as a leader and really dissect my leadership style and be vulnerable about sharing my passion for people and building a strong, sustainable community of women that I lead at GRIT Fitness. You can watch my TED talk at the link below (I’m the very last speaker and go on at 04:02:00): https://livestream.com/tedx/events/8155001
2. Hosting 2 Wellness Retreats (Cabo + Lake Texoma)
Now these were just fun! I like to call them the “fitness bachelorette parties” instead of retreats, lol. My friend/teammate Kaleigh Walker approached me with the idea of hosting a retreat, something I’d never done before, and we did it! It took lots of planning (itineraries, collecting payments, logistics, communications, creating workouts, etc) but it was an awesome experience. Hosting these retreats totally gave one of those “OMG I can’t believe this is my job” moments. I remain so grateful for my work. It’s so hard to believe that only 4 years ago I wrote this blog post “10 questions to ask yourself before you quit your job”, just when I decided to quit my long term management consulting career… so glad I took the leap!
3. NYC reunion with my business school friends
Work hard play hard! Over the summer I had the good fortune of taking a trip to NYC, during which I took a TON of fitness classes and spent lots of quality time with my best friends from business school. I bonded with the ladies almost 10 years ago as we were in the same section (Section B Class of 2010) at Harvard and spent every single day together for 1 year. While we all have very different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and even live in different countries and work in very different industries, what bonds us it our commitment to personal growth, excellence and genuine love and respect for each other. That said, every year we make a point to see each other face to face (no matter where we have to fly in from) and encourage each other, talk about our business ventures and have some good ole’ girlfriend fun!
4. Battling Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
This one hit me like a ton of bricks…I pride myself on my “grit” and “perseverance” and ability to push through anything. But I learned the hard way this year that self-care is not weak, it’s necessary. I had a lot on my mind this year: opening a new studio, turning 34 and freaking about not having a family yet like all of the other Dallas girls (comparison is so stupid), managing over 80 staff/employees, my business growing so fast I felt like I couldn’t keep up – anxiety overload! Then one day I literally hit the ground and couldn’t do anything. I went to the emergency room and was quickly CareFlighted to the hospital. After tons of CT scans, IVs and blood test the doctors confirmed that I had a shingles outbreak in my ear which caused lots of inflammation in my cranial nerve and paralyzed the left side of my face. Crazy thing…the entire illness is 100% stress induced WTF?! I freaked out even more at this point because the doctors said that there was 50% chance my face may not recover and go back to normal…This was the wake up call I needed to truly “let go and let God.” SURRENDER has been my word for 2018. I had to rely my on my faith, my friends and my family and quit trying to be superwoman and do everything on my own. The biggest lesson I learned from all of this is to be vulnerable and ask for help. That doesn’t mean I’m weak, it actually means I’m strong.
5. Hiring a Full Time Studio Management Team
After almost 4 years of business, I’m so grateful to have a full-time management team to operate our 3 DFW locations! Sad part is, if I hadn’t gotten Ramsay Hunt syndrome, I don’t think I would have hired another manager. Maybe everything happens for a reason…Now our team consists of 2 general managers, 1 social media manger, over 45 fitness instructors and over 40 front desk staff. Can’t believe it!
6. Freezing My Eggs
This was the biggest decision I made this year (and a huge financial investment). Okay real talk ladies: I felt so guilty because I was 34 and I felt like I should be settling down and having kids, but the reality is that I don’t want to do that right now. I’m having a blast growing my business and empowering women. I feel a strong conviction that what we are doing a GRIT is so much more than fitness, it’s a ministry to speak life and hope to women all over the world and if I don’t put my whole heart and soul and time into this right now, I’ll regret it forever. That said, I do value family and I want to have one of my own some day. BUT the reality is that female fertility drastically declines at age 35….so I bit the bullet, invested a ton of money, gave myself 3 shots in the belly every day for over a week and froze my eggs. I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders! Now, I can chill out a little bit more and not worry so much about my ability to have kids in the future because I have stash of 34 year old eggs in the freezer that I can grab later on. Thank God for technology and more options for women!
This was such a blessing and a a huge team victory! Watch the video tour above and see inside our newest, dreamiest GRIT Fitness location!
8. My 2nd Fibroid Removal Surgery
This year I had to go back under the knife and get more fibroids removed. I wasn’t really having symptoms (like the last time – you can read more here) but during the retrieval of my eggs, my doc noticed more fibroids and highly encouraged me to get them removed. I’m super picky about my surgeons, so I flew back to Boston to Brigham and Women’s hospital so the best laparoscopic surgeon could do my operation. I’m grateful that the surgery was a success and I’m healthy and blessed to have a body that can carry children! Ladies, it’s so important to be proactive about your fertility – ask lots of questions and always get 2nd and 3rd opinions from OBGYNs.
9. Spring Fun in Los Angeles: Girlboss Rally & GRIT by Brit Pop Up Tour
It’s always been so important to me to focus on the mind/body connection when it comes to fitness. That’s why I named this blog “GRIT by Brit” and my company “GRIT Fitness” – this year I created a program of daily positive affirmations and a law of attraction workshop that went along with the workout program. I’m super proud of it and plan to keep improving it and eventually offer it virtually to women all over the world!
Hello friends! Please join me for my 21 Day GRIT Challenge! I’m excited to share my personal tips and philosophies to getting stronger mentally, physically and emotionally. This program connects the dots between physcial fitness, spiritual inspiration and mental toughness. If you’re need of some genuine, authentic motivation, this is the program for you!
I believe that mental grit (i.e. passion and perseverance for long term goals) can be learned and we are capable of being gritty and great at whatever we do! The key is to practice daily habits that make us stronger. During this 21 days, we’ll train our minds to support the pursuit of our biggest dreams!
Kick Off Workshop
21 days of unlimited GRIT Fitness classes to all locations (OR participate virtually via the GRIT by Brit app)
Law of Attraction Seminar
Brit’s Healthy Habits Guide & Tracking Workbook
Workout Planning Tips
Participation in private GRIT 21 Day Challenge Facebook Group
I have an upcoming event that I’m so exited about. For one, it’s going to be a super high-energy, sweaty workout with awesome music from a live DJ – yay! Secondly, it’s totally FREE for the Dallas community.
Show your GRIT and burn some major calories in my signature mash-up of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and toning! The entire class is rhythm-based and set to an energetic mash-up spun by DJ Rocko. *Dont forget your yoga mat, sneakers, towel and water.
All of the fun is a part of a mobile tour sponsored by TaxAct (hello tax season!). The TaxAct Mobile Tour will feature my 30-minute workout and a short talk about starting your own business with yours truly and Amy Karp Photography founder, Amy Karp. Don’t forget the jams by DJ Rocko, coffee, food trucks and so much more. Kick off your tax season with me – I’ll see you at The Bomb Factory parking lot (details below)
Since I started this blog 5 years ago (wow!) I’ve kept the tradition of writing a year-end post to recap my Top 10 most memorable moments. I’m not proud of my blogging frequency this year (will do better in 2018, fingers crossed)…but I am proud to end the year with one final post! So here we go, in order of occurrence (not importance), here are my Top 10 moments of 2017…
1. Getting a dog, Pearl
Let me start by saying that I’m a not a “dog person” and never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined getting a dog. Doing so, however, was hands down the best decision I made last year. I love Pearl SO MUCH, more than I ever thought possible. Having a dog has made me more patient and helped me be more balanced and get my mind off of my company every once in a while. Although, my company inspired Pearl’s name, “No Grit No Pearl!” (Yes, she transformed from a little brown puppy to a big white fluff in 12 months…IDK)
2. Hosting My First Conference, WHAT SHE SAID
This was a really big team accomplishment. All of my boss babe friends and I put our heads together and hosted Dallas’ first young women’s empowerment conference. The conference took place at the W Dallas hotel with a welcome reception at GRIT Fitness. We enjoyed over 25 amazing speakers, tons of vendors, a dance club cardio happy hour, tons of swag from Tory Sport, mimosas to kick-start the day and cocktail reception to finish the festivities. I was also the keynote speaker (you can watch my full speech above). I was very honored to share the entire GRIT Fitness start-up story and important lessons I’ve learned from taking the company from a small side hustles back in 2012 to a successful small business in 2017.
3. Attending the Inaugural Girl Boss Rally in LA
Yay for 2 conferences in 1 year! After hosting my conference in Dallas, I then traveled to LA to attend the Girl Boss Rally hosted by Sophia Amaroso, author of the book GirlBoss and Founder of Nasty Gal. She had a SICK line up of speakers including two of my ultimate girl crushes, Ty Haney (Founder of Outdoor Voices) and Emily Weiss (Founder of Glossier). This conference inspired me because it made my BIG dreams seem more attainable. Just listening to so many young ladies who were about my age lead and grow mutli mullion doallar brands made me feel very confident that I can do the same.
4. Closing my original business location in East Dallas
I shed so many tears on this day. This was hands down one of the toughest moments of my year. I have so many amazing (and difficult) memories at the original GRIT Fitness East Dallas location. This is where my idea came to fruition – we opened this studio in Jan 2015, just 3 months after I quit my consulting career at Deloitte. My OG team members and I hosted a big “grand closing” party and each of the original instructors taught together – it was super fun and nostalgic. Someday I plan to buy real estate back in East Dallas and open young women’s co-working space with a fitness studio in the back – a tribute to where GRIT began!
5. Opening a New Business Location at SMU Blvd, Dallas, TX
When one door closes another door opens. Soon after we moved out of the East Dallas studio, we celebrated the grand opening of our SMU location. This studio is much bigger with better amenities and a cycling studio! It was a very proud moment for me and my team. This transition reassured me that the best is always yet to come.
6. Summer Fun in California
California LOVE! I took the best summer vacay to the west coast – it went like this: A bunch of fitness classes in LA > baller wedding in Newport Beach with my family > hangout with a bestie from biz school in Palo Alto > hang out with a bestie from undergrad in Oakland > another amazing wedding in Sonoma (where I caught the bouquet – hey!) along with wine tasting and quality time with my sister.
What more can I say?
7. Launching the GRIT by Brit app
So proud fo this! Launching my home workout app was a big item on my 2017 goals and it’s launched! I invested a lot of time, money and energy into this project, because strategically I know that having a tech service offering, in addition to brick and mortar studios, is critical for the long-term viability of my company. Now I can workout with ladies all over the world! I’m still working on some live stream functionality and very cool timer plug-in that leads my workouts with sound effects so you can just press “start “and start sweating! If you haven’t already, DOWNLOAD MY APP
8. Hiking Camelback Mountain
I went to a wedding in Scottdale for one of my high school friends. The day before the ceremony, I hiked (the hard side) of Camelback Mountain with two awesome ladies from Houston who were also friends of the bride. It was freaking HARD! I’m talking rocks on rocks on rocks. But, I did it. And I felt really good about myself. I even shed a tear at the top because I truly believe I can feel God’s presence when I’m alone with nature.
9. Being Awarded “Best Fitness Program” by D Magazine
Could. Not. Believe. This. So grateful for this huge honor. To me, this award means that GRIT is officially on the map in Dallas. Now the pressure is on like donkey kong to continuously improve our services, meet the needs of the growing #GRITFAM and continue creating the strongest women in Dallas!
10. Euro Trip 2017
I traveled a ton back in day when I was a consultant, but since I founded GRIT 3 years ago, I haven’t had the opportunity to travel as much. I got a serious itch to get back to Europe this holidays season and I’m so grateful that I finally reached a point where I had the financial stability and free time to make it happen. I visited Manchester > London > Amsterdam > Paris = 1 heck of a way to end the year!
Hey friends! I’m so excited to announce the launch of my official mobile app – YAY! Now you can have me in your pocket, literally, with on-the-go workouts and daily inspiration.
Since I opened my boutique fitness studios, GRIT Fitness, I haven’t blogged as much as I once did 🙁 So I was determined to find a creative way to:
Stay connected with my beloved blog followers who live all over the world
Provide home workouts and inspiration to my GRIT Fitness members who live Dallas (so they can sweat when they can’t make it to the studio)
Over the past several months I’ve been working diligently to create the content, test the functionality and execute all of the small details required to develop my very first mobile app! I think this is a first step to something HUGE! It’s been such a challenging and engaging experience, much like 4 years ago when I created my first workout DVD (remember that?!) I’ve really enjoyed the process as it’s truly a labor of love. I hope you love the app as much as I do.
Throwback! Launching the GRIT by Brit Workout DVD in 2013
So now you’re probably wondering, what’s in the app? Well here’s a run down:
My personal 21-Day Fitness challenge complete with workout calendar and nutrition tips
Several on-the-go workouts categorized by focus (arms, legs, abs, cardio, etc)
On demand workout videos featuring my original workouts
Inspirational pep talk videos from yours truly!
GRIT by Brit Mobile App Coming Soon!
Because I’m so excited about this new creation, I’m making it FREE to EVERYONE for one day only – August 21, 2017. Once you download it, you have it FOREVER – so I suggest you save the date and get ready to download.
To download the app, just got to the app store and search “GRIT by Brit” – the app will be available on both iOS and Android.
Thanks so much for your continued support. Get ready to get GRITTY!