"You Have to Get a Hold of Your Thoughts" with Brittany Greene (WHM Series Part 2)
Welcome to Post 2 in the Women’s History Month Series! This three-part series features health and fitness tips from real women who find ways to prioritize their health and fitness in the midst of their busy lives.
In case you missed Part 1 with Rachel Kestler, you can check it out right here!
Today, we’re talking to Brittany Greene, a self-taught artist, athlete, and the creator of BrittanyMGreene.com! In this post, Brittany shares why fitness is important to her, how she makes time to stay active with a busy schedule, and how she overcame a major setback in 2021. Keep reading for Brittany’s tips!
"You Have to Get a Hold of Your Thoughts"
Q: Why is fitness important to you?
I’d narrow it down to three big reasons:
It keeps me healthy. My heart, immune system, and muscles are better for it.
It keeps me sane. I can always tell when I haven’t been active. I’m a little crankier and get frazzled easier. A quick sweat helps flush that out.
It keeps life in perspective. Fitness has taught me perseverance, and how to embrace and push through the sucky parts.
Q: What does an average day look like for you?
My days are kinda hectic (working on this)! I work for a non-profit, freelance as a digital strategist, and have an art business. My best days typically look like:
Early morning session with myself to jot down big tasks
A moment of pause/rest/stretching/sitting in silence to gather myself
Work meetings and phone calls
Lunch break and a walk, or some type of movement
Stretch or strength before bed (new addition)
Q: How do you make time for fitness on a day-to-day basis?
I like to relieve myself of the pressure to do something intense by promising a small window of at least 15 minutes of movement. If I get moving and decide to do more, great! But getting those 15 minutes, preferably outside, have helped me a bunch. I used to work out in the mornings, but I’ve found now that when I work from home, carving out a midday walk helps a bunch.
Q: What motivates you to move your body on the days you don't feel like it?
I think knowing that after I’ll feel so much better has been really helpful. That or breaking down whatever workout to super small increments, and telling myself if I just do the bare minimum, that counts.
Q: What is a setback you've faced with your health and fitness? What did you learn, and what advice would you share with someone going through a similar challenge?Last April, I developed a paralyzing fear of open water. I had swam open water before, but for some reason, when I got in the water at what was supposed to be a refresher race, I froze. It was frustrating and demoralizing! I was putting in so much work in the pool, I had Ironman Maryland in a few months…it just didn’t make sense, and I didn’t have the “time.”
Thinking back on it, part of the fear was probably the result of how much pressure I was adding to the situation. After taking a break from swimming, and much support from my friends and family, I decided I was going to work my way through this fear. I was going to seek out every open water opportunity I could, and swim until I wasn’t afraid. I ended up swimming in Annapolis, Oxon Hill, and even San Francisco. I was determined! Race day came, and I still panicked. I finished the race, but not after having to work my way through some of the tricks I picked up along the way.
[The advice I’d give is,] first and foremost, how you talk to yourself is critical. You have to get a hold of your thoughts. The more you say you can’t, you won’t, focus on the scary part, your body will respond to that.
Second, break up whatever feels overwhelming. I told myself I just had to make it to the buoy, then I’d take a break. We’re not looking at the whole thing, we’re going to worry about what’s right in front of me.
Lastly, control your breathing. I had breathing drills that intentionally forced me to slow down, and repeated phrases like, “Deep breaths and baby steps.”
Q: What’s a favorite fitness or wellness product, app, or resource that you can share?
I used Training Peaks for the first time last year, and it worked out great! Having a set plan of exercises each day, without me having to map it out myself, made it easy for me to train. Every week I knew what to expect. Also, I love Strava.
Q: What are you currently working on?
Last year, I did one of the biggest physical challenges I’ll probably ever do, my first Ironman. I haven’t quite decided yet what I want to go after next. I’m kind of enjoying this “break,” and just moving when it feels right or necessary.
Q: Are there any other tips you want to share?
Start small. I get so many questions from people who feel like they’re behind, judging their pace, feeling overwhelmed by their current plan, and my advice is always to start small. Walking counts! Walking and then running counts! The most important thing is starting small, and being consistent with that amount first. You’ll feel when you’re ready to up that amount. And be patient - everyone’s body is different. You aren’t helping yourself by beating yourself up for progress you feel you “should” be making. You’ll get there, I promise.
Have fun! I'm guilty of getting too serious while working out, but try your best to have fun. Take in your surroundings, and laugh a little.
Share your goals with others! They can help you get there, and push you when you lose motivation.
You can visit Brittany's website, BrittanyMGreene.com, and connect with her on Instagram @britt_mgreene to see her incredible artwork! To follow her fitness journey, follow her on Instagram @brittmg_!