Wow! The New Year is upon us and I have so much so much grateful for. Most importantly, I’m so thankful for all of you who follow my blog and send me encouraging messages. There’s nothing more rewarding than connecting with you. Thank you so very much – be blessed exceedingly and abundantly!
This blog started out as a simple channel for me to share my hotel workouts and transformed into my passion-filled prized possession and platform to help us all live healthier, happier and more positive lives. Only a year and half since my first post, GRIT by Brit doubled in size to over 3,000 followers. The 2nd blogiversary is coming up in March. I have even greater expectations for 2014!
So now without further or do I present to you, 2013’s Top 10 Most Memorable moments:
Teaching my 1st Indoor Cycling Class – I got certified in Schwinn indoor cycling in 2012 but didn’t teach my first class until May of this year. It’s so crazy how teaching a new fitness format challenges me, takes me out of my comfort zone and feels exhilarating at the same time. Making playlists full of Jay-Z, Britney and Eminem is also really fun!
Turbo NYC – While I was living in NYC for 7 months, I started a pop up Turbo Kick class in Flatiron. It quickly gained traction and my friends (old and new) joined me every Sunday to sweat and bring some heat to the bone-chilling NYC cold. This was a short stint, but boy was it sweet. Here you can read my reflections from my first Turbo NYC class: https://gritbybrit.com/2013/01/27/the-world-is-yours/
PiYo on the Deck – When I was asked to teach weekly PiYo classes on the W Dallas Hotel Wet Deck I was like, “ah yea…I’m officially on the map!” This was huge personal accomplishment. Better yet, it was fun, free way that I could share mind-body training with my friends and other members of the Dallas community. Free. Fierce. Fitness = GRIT by Brit core values!
GRIT by Brit Tank Tops – We have tanks now finally – yay! Not much to say on this one except that I’m glad I can now “reprezent my clique” in public. And you can too! Buy yours at my eStore: http://gritbybrit-shop.com/
New workout video with BOOYA Fitness – So in 2012 I released GRIT by Brit Ultimate Body Burn, which I hope you already rocked out. On New Year’s day 2014 I will release my new and improved 30 minute, high intensity, music blasting, cardio workout. Booya Fitness, an online fitness video subscription start-up company, was the driving force behind this collaboration. I’m so honored to be one of their featured instructors. You all must go sign up for your subscription today!http://www.booyafitness.com/
Dr. OZ Cleanses –Holy Moly! I don’t know if I should be excited or concerned, but when I started posting reviews of the Dr. Oz cleanses, I got over 2,000 hits per day! Now I love a good cleanse, but I was amazed at our intense interest in cleanse regimens. Just remember, cleanses are a great one-off solution, but living a healthy lifestyle consistently (not only for a 3-day cleanse) is where the real work and the real rewards come.
Blog makeover – So when I started GRIT by Brit I knew nothing about blogging (I think that’s still the case to be quite honest). However, this year I met an amazingly talented photographer/graphic designer who has become my creative director and my friend. Alivia Duran – thank you! GRIT by Brit is looking better than ever. You are a God-send! You can guys can check Alivia’s website: http://www.aliviaduran.com/
Sharing my Lean In Story – I heard Sheryl Sandberg speak at a women’s conference in April and I immediately felt a sense of duty to take more risks in my life and to also share my story with other women. On my way home from that conference, I wrote my Lean In story and submitted it to be published. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here: http://leanin.org/stories/brittani-rettig/ (P.S. I wrote this with a great sense of urgency so there are a few typos – please read with a forgiving spirit).
Being on TV (Good Morning Texas) – Huge thanks to Sporty Afros for being my fit friends and partners in crime on this. Alex and Whitney, co-founders of http://sportyafros.com/ have been my blog mentors and ongoing sources of inspiration. Thanks to both of you for sharing the limelight with me as you tackled the critical topics of natural hair and health. Together, we are going to win the war on obesity among women of color! Health OVER Hair!
Well, that’s the end gang. 2013 has flown by, but it sure was good to me. I’m humbled and grateful for all of the blessings I’ve experienced. I wish you an amazing 2014 that exceeds your expectations – the best is ALWAYS yet to come!
If anyone ever asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, my answer was always (and still is ) a “Talk Show Host.” This weekend was like taking a step toward my childhood dream! My “fit friends” from SportyAfros.com and I got to share health and hair tips on Good Morning Texas (that’s me on the right) – woo hoo!
Then we got to share more tips during the Dallas/Fort Worth International Natural Hair Meet Up Day! I was a health and wellness expert panelist for the event and shared all of my GRIT by Brit health and fitness advice! I also disclosed my personal tips for keeping my hair healthy and well-maintained despite my long sweat sessions at the gym.
Below are Whitney Patterson and Alexandria Williams, the co-founders of SportyAfros.com and amazing hostesses of DFW’s International Natural Hair Meet up Day!
Each member of the panel, including me, lives a VERY active lifestyle. Obviously I’m a fitness instructor, but the panel also included a triathlete, a running coach and a personal trainer. While most would think that our love for fitness is what unites us, it’s actually our combined love for good health AND good hair.
That said, here are our Top 5 tips for a healthy body + gorgeous hair:
Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty water is critical for healthy hair. Not only does hydration speed up your metabolism (i.e make you sexy) it’s also needed to moisturize your scalp and thus your hair. Drink up ladies so we can keep those locks flowing 😉
Conditioner is key – I cannot say this enough. You must keep your hair moisturized! Our hair has to maintain an adequate level of natural oils to look and feel healthy. Since I sweat almost every day, I have to wash my hair a lot which strips it of natural oils. So, I always do a deep conditioning treatment and I keep a bottle of leave-in-conditioner in my gym bag to spray down my hair after workouts.
Breath & Meditate – Stress and anxiety causes hair thinning and dryness. If you notice a lot of breakage in your hair, check out your stress level. You may benefits from a little yoga or simply have some quiet time for reflection and relaxation.
Bye bye rubber bands – Make sure that the hair elastics you are using are gentle on your hair. If you are like me and wear a ponytail while you work out, be careful! We often wear our hair pulled back too tight and use hair elastics that cause breakage. Try to find a hair tie that is silky and smooth. A loose ponytail is always better than a tight one!
Biotin is your buddy – Take a Biotin supplement – trust me! It’s a great vitamin for your hair, skin and nails. It’s not expensive and it’s a super effective way to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to keep your hair healthy.
Keep these tips in mind as you continue on your healthy journey – I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me. My mom (middle), little sister (left) and I want to wish you a wonderfully beautiful week!
Happy BLACK FRIDAY everyone! What better way to celebrate Black Friday than trying on some hot, sexy new clothes and being able to fit them all? Well that’s exactly what Alex is getting to do today. On this very special Black Friday, Alex has officially completed her 4-week SHRED challenge and is celebrating some BIG WINS! Here is her update – enjoy 🙂
I lost 7 pounds and lost an inch or two in the waist
I could fit into a dress I purchased in April and look good in it!
Made it to see my 29th birthday and felt amazing
I learned the key for being balanced = there’s a time to rest and a time to run hard!
I made working out a priority by squeezing in workouts such as squats and taking the stairs when I couldn’t do a full workout routine.
Better yet, I’ve also learned 4 important things about myself, my fitness habits and my diet during the 4-week SHRED plan…
Counting calories is key – NO guessing allowed! Counting my calories helped me realize my weakness for breads. It also showed me I needed to decrease my intake of snacks like nuts and fruit to a healthy daily amount.
GRITbyBrit Ultimate Body Burn DVD is awesome. I pressed play and was determined to sweat it out. I burned tons of calories while working out and even more throughout the day. I love this DVD and will incorporate the burn series weekly as a strengthen segment.
BURPEES. I can’t believe the GRITbyBrit Ultimate Body Burn DVD and The 4-week SHRED Plan had me accomplishing burpees! Although I am still weak in this area to simply do more than one is a major accomplishment. I pushed myself and could hear Brit’s voice pushing me too! Mission accomplished!
Maintaining a Healthy lifestyle is an ongoing effort. I learned what works for me and my body. I learned many areas I was weak in and started to adjust and make plans for weeding them out. In terms of diet, it isn’t about being “raw” or “organic” but more importantly about finding what works for you. For me, I learned I was a lazy vegetarian who was enjoying too many potatoes, nuts and processed soy products. I also learned due to some of my bad eating habits, my body wasn’t getting critical minerals such as omega-3s. I’ve made some good diet adjustments. While I’m not perfect, I have definitely made many strides and am happy to see what I have done. The end of the 4-week SHRED is just the beginning of even bigger, better and healthier things to come for me 🙂
Scale Deception – I’ve discovered that when I don’t see the numbers change on the scale, I should also take a look at my clothes. I was amazed at the clothes and how they were fitting. I took a photo of my new pair of jeans verses my old jeggings. To see the change was amazing!
Time Off – My doctor has me reducing my stress level thus I am making sure I get my 7-8 hours of sleep each night no matter what. I am drinking a lot of tea and have found a recent new tea to help bring down stress levels and relax. Tea is great for the skin and is an easy way to drink more water.
Exercise – Even if I am not meeting the goals every day with the plan, I am making each step and min count by keeping my heart rate monitor on. I had a pretty crappy run outside last week, but what made me smile was the calories burned.
Mental & Spiritual Strength – I am feeding my spirit and mind with educational opportunities but also the word (read: The Bible). Mostly during the day I am listening to sermons and uplifting music. This is making the day go by so much faster and my mood a lot better.
Grocery Shopping – I am loving Trader Joes as I get a chance to try new foods but also save a lot of staples. Since I have a salad every day, I can pick out a variety of salad toppings and bagged lettuce at the store $1-$2 cheaper. I also keep breakfast at my office now. I brought breakfast a few weeks ago to offset the amount of growing Halloween candy.
Food and Choices – The choices are becoming easier each day. I still love my bread but I am finding alternatives. The biggest changes are in my snacking as I have decrease my nuts/granola and fruit. I only have berries for my fruit and half or small apple or banana after a workout. I also started back eating fish as I am not having enough omegas, bored and needed to change a few things in my diet. I am keeping things in check much better. Dieting sucks and I binge badly after a few weeks (or days! lol) so being realistic about my life and time has helped amazingly.
Overall, I am feeling really good about myself and my progress especially since I am a few days out from my birthday 🙂
Alex (on the left) after successfully completing Week 2
Alex has officially completed week 2 of her 4-week GRIT by Brit Shred plan. Long story short – she killed it! You probably remember that Week 1 was all about “adjustments” but week 2 was all about “achievements.” Below is her progress report; be sure check back next Thursday for her week 3 update. Lots of luv, Brit 🙂
I’ve lost a few pounds but mostly lost inches. I got into my skinny jeans and can breathe in them – yay! Even better, I went shopping for a few staple items and was so happy I could fit most of the items I picked out!
Overall, my diet was a really good last week. I stayed within my 1,600 calorie budget everyday! I also incorporated a few “tricks” to keep my eating in check. Like when I eat out, I look at the menu beforehand and plan what I’m going to order. Also drinking lots of water (sometimes 1 gallon per day) and unsweetened tea has a help me manage my diet. Last, cooking at home for the week has helped me save time and money and cut calories. Stir-fry is my default and love! (below is a pic of my favorite meal – organic (no-gmo) tofu stirfry)
I’ve kept up with my GRIT by Brit workout plan for the most part. I missed my Saturday workout, but I actually still got some exercise in during the day by walking around and do some heavy lifting at a trade show that Sporty Afros was participating in. I kept my heart rate monitor on the entire day of the trade show and ended up burning 500 calories during the day!
Alex on the right @ hair expo in Oklahoma City last weekend
In case you missed the kick off, Alex (@Alexandriawill) is my new 4-week challenge chick, CLICK HERE to check out her full 4-week GRIT by Brit SHRED plan. After 1 solid week on the plan, Alex has learned some lessons about herself, her eating habits and her fitness. Here are her thoughts:
Calorie counting is key, but too few calories are not beneficial – Really proud of myself on the calorie control because I was counting EVERYTHING I ate and if I didn’t know the calorie count, I would over estimate it. However, I realized I was not having enough calories at one point and ended up feeling a little sick. So I adjusted to ensure I got the calories my body needed while still staying in my budget.
Continuous diet adjustments are needed for success – I realized I needed to consistently eat smaller meals/snacks throughout the day instead of 3 larger meals. My eating habits are just that HABITS. On the weekends I eat 2-3 larger meals (probably 2) and 1-2 snacks where as during the week I eat much smaller meals with snacks every so hour. Since I’m working out a lot more during the week on the GRIT by Brit SHRED plan, my body wants more energy = food.
Gotta keep it together on the weekends – I realized I binge bad on the weekends, even with just 1-2 meals. Couple that with not working out and I just killed all the work I did for 5 days! I crashed and burned this past weekend with being out of town for a natural hair expo in Oklahoma City. I didn’t fully prepare as I wanted too and eating in Oklahoma City as a vegetarian on a budget was harder than I expected. I simply didn’t have time to find a Subway at 11pm when things close at 10pm. I also just went into a “screw it” moment and forgot my whole goal. I was walking around, presenting and dancing during the weekend, but overall my eating habits were very poor – time of month too! (maybe TMI, but hey, we’re family). Overall, I am proud of my progress so far and I will push even harder in week 2!
BRIT’S 2 POINTS OF ADVICE FOR ALEX
Great adjustment on the calorie intake! Remember, a calorie budget helps prevent over eating, but under eating can be counter productive to weight loss as well. When we don’t eat enough calories, our body goes into starvation mode and our metabolism slows down, thus we burn less calories at rest.
If you know it’s going to be tough to stick with the plan on the weekends, go ahead and adjust your week day diet and workout regiment to be more strict to make up for your “slacker” days. An extra 10-20 minutes of cardio and a few super lean meals will help balance things out so you can meet your goals.
Meet Alex, co-founder of SportyAfros.com and my newest 4 week challenge chick! Alex and I became gym buddies/good friends about a year ago and always try to inspire each other – she does a great job at this 🙂 As a triathlete and hair care guru, Alex is always looking for new ways to enhance her fitness, detox her diet and live an overall healthy lifestyle.
Scroll down to check out the fitness and nutrition plan I’ve put together for her. Also come back to track her progress each week and, even better, try the plan for yourself!
Notice that I have given Alex a sneak sample copy of my GRIT by Brit Ultimate Body Burn DVD (Have you watched the promo yet?). She will be my live “guinea pig” to show you results. Not only that, she’ll be sharing with us unique ways that she keeps her hair looking good while pumpin’ and sweatin’ on my fitness plan. Wish her the best – LET’S GO ALEX!
Hi pals – Week 3 of my Grit by Brit 4-week plan is done and I’m still going strong.
I had a little drama in the workout arena this week because I had a Keratin hair treatment. For those who are blessed with naturally silky smooth hair, when you get a Keratin hair treatment, you can’t wash your hair for three days. How does one stick to a workout regime? #texturedhairproblems. My body was so in the habit of hard core workouts that I started to feel really antsy when I couldn’t workout. Like cranky and irritable. My work around was to bike and use the elliptical, but just to go really slow so that I wouldn’t sweat. Yes, the calories burned were significantly less, but I felt much better. Moreover, I was more amazed by the fact that my body was telling my brain, “Get your workout on!”
I had some moments going off track in the food arena, but by in large, I’ve stayed on track. The G by B plan has done an excellent job of telling me what to eat and when to eat. But, I realized that I need another rule around how much to eat to really kick me into gear. Being 5’2″, I just don’t need as many calories as I want to eat. Any guidance here, Brit?
Brit’s Advice for Lakshmi
In regards to you #texturedhairproblems I suggest you check out www.sportyafros.com – “Where Hair and Sports Collide”
As for the calorie intake, Lak is definitely right. There is only ONE true way to lost weight = Burn more calories than you consume. For the last week of the plan, try to keep your calorie intake to 1,400 calories per day on days that you don’t work out and 1,600 per day on days that you do work. YOU CAN DO IT!