GRIT by Brit

Fun, Fierce, Fitness


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Year in Review: GRIT by Brit’s Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2013

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:

  1. 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!

    Grinning from ear to ear with excitement before teaching my 1st indoor cycling class - May 2013

    Grinning from ear to ear with excitement before teaching my 1st indoor cycling class – May 2013

  2. 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: http://gritbybrit.com/2013/01/27/the-world-is-yours/

    turbo NYC

    Rockin’ it out at my last Turbo NYC class in NYC – May 2013

  3. 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!

    Teaching my 1st PiYo on the deck class - Summer 2013

    Teaching my 1st PiYo on the deck class – Summer 2013

  4. Lose the Pooch Workout – I had no idea this workout would go viral on Pinterest, but it has!  Clearly many of us are eager to work our lower abs and prevent a protruding FUPA.  This will certainly be my cue to make more “Lose the Pooch” workouts in 2014.  You can get the full workout here: http://gritbybrit.com/2013/03/05/lose-the-pooch-complete-workout-for-your-lower-abs/

    Focusing on the FUPA!  Lower abs workout - March 2013

    Focusing on the FUPA! Lower abs workout – March 2013

  5. 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/

    Tank tops officially for sale!  November 2013

    Tank tops officially for sale! November 2013

  6. 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/

    On shoot day with Booya Fitness - September 2013

    On shoot day with Booya Fitness – September 2013

  7. 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.

    Sharing my bootleg version of the Dr. Oz Juice Cleanse - Summer 2013

    Sharing my bootleg version of the Dr. Oz Juice Cleanse – Summer 2013

  8. 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/

    Old school GRIT by Brit Header from 2012.  But look at me now! haha

    Old school GRIT by Brit blog header from 2012. But look at me now! haha

  9. 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).

    My story about pursuing my fitness dreams on the official Lean In community site.  Summer 2013

    My story about pursuing my fitness dreams on the official Lean In community site. Summer 2013

  10. 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!
Modeling "healthy hair" in light of a rigorous workout regimen on Good Morning Texas - May 2013

Modeling “healthy hair” in light of a rigorous workout regimen on Good Morning Texas – May 2013

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!

Happy New Year!  xoxo, Brit

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Happy Healthy Holidays! A Christmas gift for you…

GRIT by Brit Holiday Sale

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas full of blessings  in abundance, laughter and good times with people who you love.  Enjoy this holiday discount as my personal Christmas gift to you and prepare to kick-start 2014 on a happy and healthy note!  CLICK HERE to visit my eStore.

Love you very much – Healthy Holidays!  xoxo, Brit

healthy holidays


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Fitness Studio Review: The Handle Bar Indoor Cycling – South Boston

handle bar logo

Chillin' w/my mom in Beantown a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving

Chillin’ w/my mom in Beantown a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving

A few weeks again I traveled to Boston, MA for a weekend of shopping and quality time with my mom (pictured right).  While, I was there I took class at the The Handle Bar Indoor Cycling Studio in South Boston.  I heard about the studio from one of my colleagues who has incorporated regular Handle Bar cycling classes into her pre-wedding, shape up regimen.  She is in LOVE with the format.  After personally experiencing the class, I must stay, I like it too…

Before I get started, let me temper this review by confessing that Soul Cycle and Fly Wheel have completely raised the bar in terms of my expectations for indoor cycling classes.  So while I try to review classes with an unbiased mind, I inevitably make comparisons to these two indoor cycling front-runners.

The Handle Bar Basics

  • Price: $20 for a 45 minute class; not bad considering many boutique studios are in $30-$35 range.
  • Ambiance:  Very modern and hip.  Positive affirmations are posted throughout.   It has somewhat of an outdoor, beachy feel with lots of yellow, white and orange.  The studio is very small, but very clean.   The cycling room itself is dark lit only by small red lights.  (Red doesn’t really go with the overall brand/color scheme, so I was a little thrown off by it – see pic below). Also, the bikes are really close together and positioned in a “U” shape around the instructor. Overall, the studio has a cool vibe.
  • Format: The entire workout is on the bike.  You start out with a ~5 minute warm up ride, then do several speed intervals and climbs all choreographed to the beat of the music .  The last 10 minutes has a short arm circuit during which you use light dumbbells (identical to Soul Cycle).  Finally,  you bring it home with a 5 minute cool down and stretch.
handle bar cycling insiide

Inside the cycling room at the The Handle Bar South Boston

Likes

  • Great customer service.  The girls at the front desk were super friendly.  Also, they gave out free towels and the cycling shoe rental was cheap, like $2.
  • Technically Sound.  Some cycling studios get so caught up in the music and being cool that they forget to preach about safety and good form.  I appreciated that the instructor and staff spent time ensuring the our bikes were properly set up and consistently gave feedback during the class on our riding technique.
  • Lots of Base.  The music was super loud and there’s was lots of Eminem on the playlist – me likey.

Dislikes

  • Nothing distinctive.  Overall, I found The Handle Bar to be a smaller, Soul Cycle.  It provides exactly the same workout, exactly the same branding (even the colors), just a different name.
  • Class lacked energy (i.e. no cheering, excitement from the riders).  However,  it was 6am so that may have had something to do with it.
  • Now before I make these statement, let me first say that since I became a fitness instructor 2 years ago, I am WAY LESS harsh on fitness instructors – it’s not an easy job.  However, my Handle Bar instructor could have done more in the way of choreography.  Pretty sure we did tap backs for 75% of the class. (Tap Backs are movement done while riding when you shift booty back over the saddle and then raise back up to a climbing position – “tapping” back and forth)

Overall Rating (scale of 1-10)

7.0 – I give the Handle Bar a pretty solid score because it was good bang for my buck.  The staff was friendly, the ride was sweaty, the music was loud and it was only $20.  Boston crew, you officially have my “go ahead”  to book a class:  http://www.handlebarcycling.com/

picstitch

Happy Cycling!  xoxo, Brit


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Thursday’s daily dose of inspiration

A short, simple and very true positive affirmation for you guys. SAY it – BELIEVE it!

Hope your week is going well. I’m working on some special holiday workouts and recipes that you’re sure enjoy – stay tuned…

Lots of love to you! xoxo Brit


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Hotel Room Workout to Keep You Fit During Holiday Travel

Hey Gang –  Happy “Tone it Up Tuesday!”  Work travel has been crazy busy for me recently, which means I’ve had to get creative with workouts that I can do in my hotel room.    I designed and tested this workout a few days ago and I really liked it.  Better yet, I was able to hammer it out while listening to a conference call (wink wink).

Like most of my workouts, this one requires no equipment and blends a nice mix of cardio and strength training.  Warning – there are 90 push ups – prepare to pump them out!  I HATE push ups because they’re challenging, but I LOVE them because they simultaneously strengthen our upper body and core.  Overall, the workout takes about 20 minutes and you can expect to burn ~200 calories. Let me know how it goes!

Hotel Room WorkoutEnjoy staying fit on the road! xoxo, Brit


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Brit’s Fit Holiday Picks: Top Fitness Gifts…a Gym Rat’s Dream!

holidaygifts (1)

Alright Gang – it’s that time of year.  I can’t believe we are only 2 weeks away from Christmas!  In my lifelong efforts to be like Oprah, I’ve compiled Brit’s Fit Holiday Gift Picks (my version of Oprah’s Favorite Things).  Unfortunately, I’m NOT a baller and you will NOT receive a free gift set of the items above.  However, because I’m in the Christmas spirit, I will send a free GRIT by Brit workout tank top to the first 20 people who email me their preferred color (black or blue), size and mailing address (email brit@gritbybrit.com).  You’re welcome 🙂

So let’s get to right to it.  My holiday fitness wish list goes a little something like this…

  1. OMG That’s Paleo? Recipe Book ($19.85) – So I started following Juli Bauer on Instagram and quickly became a fan of her blog/social media community PaleOMG.  Her recipes are super savory and made with the fitness enthusiast in mind.  She gets creative with the Paleo diet which is awesome if you’re sick and tired of eating the standard “burger no bun.”
  2. Quest Bars Variety Box ($26.99) – If you guys remember my post on the Best and Worst Nutrition Bars, Quest Bars topped my list due to their low sugar, high protein, high fiber and great taste.  There are SO many yummy Quest bar flavors, so I would love a variety box.  They are also convenient “meals on the go” especially when I ‘m traveling for work.
  3. Nike FlyKnit Multi Colored Sneakers ($129.90) –  I’m a Nike FREE junkie partially due to functionality, but mostly due to style.  However, the new Nike FlyKnit sneakers  are supposed to be really light, flexible and comfortable.  Also, they have this cool multicolored print that I love.  I will definitely be getting some of these.  Probably 2 pairs.
  4. Lululemon Reversible Wunder Under Yoga Pants ($92)- These leggings are bold fuchsia on one side and black on the other.  Plus they fit like a glove and give your booty a nice little lift.  I would wear these to yoga and then continue to wear them to prance around in the grocery store – word.
  5. Nike Twisted Headband ($15) – Because I’m a headband junkie, 2 different types of headbands made my list.  This one is a new design by Nike that’s also very wide and twists like the Turban one.  However, this is made of dri-fit moisture-wicking fabric and looks more sporty.  I will wear this one to the gym and actually workout in it.  I REALLY want one.  Bad.
  6. Puma Women’s All Sport No Show Socks ($14) – These socks are the perfect texture – not too thick and not too thin.  They keep my feet relatively dry during sweaty workouts and don’t show at all.  Simple and effective.  Just my style.
  7. Up 24 by Jawbone ($149.95) – So, you guys already know I’m obsessed with my Jawbone UP wristband.  I wrote a product review a few months ago and my only beef was that there is no blue tooth capability.  Well, that’s not the case anymore!  The new and improved Jawbone UP 24 now has blue tooth capability so you don’t have to manually plug it into your iPhone to sync.  I like to think I influenced that product enhancement.
  8. Focus T25 by Shaun T & Beach Body ($119.85) – As much as I want to be a Shaun T hater, he has a way of sucking me in.  I’ve never tried Insanity, but I’m intrigued by this new T25 program.   Essentially, the program is like Insanity but more “focused.”  Each workout is only 25 minutes long and is promised to deliver the same results as a longer workout.   Also, since I’ve come to the realization that I can only do a home workout for 30 minutes before I start to zone out, I’m even more eager to try T25.  I plan start the Focus T25 program the day after Christmas.  I’ll give it a formal GRIT by Brit review and share with you guys.
  9. C9 Champion Cold Weather Pull Over Fleece ($21.24) – This is super cute, super warm and super inexpensive.  You can get it at Target. Enough said.
  10. Bosu Ball ($79.95) – Like 3 years ago I had a personal trainer and he always made me do Bosu Burpees and Bosu Plank stability drills.  Since then I kind of stopped because I usually just go to group fitness classes.  But, this holiday season I want to buy a Bosu Ball to keep in my house so I can start incorporating the exercises back into my routine.  They are super effective for cardio and strength training.  Actually, I’ll do a blog post on my favorite Bosu Ball exercises…
  11. Tribal Print Turban Headband ($10) – Aren’t these headbands presh?  So, I don’t necessarily want to wear these to the gym, I just want to wear them with gym clothes.  They come in all different patterns, but the tribal prints are my favorites.  They give me the perfect balance of looking chic yet effortless.  You can get them on Etsy.
  12. Olive Oil Deep Conditioning Replenishing Pack ($10 for 3 packs) – These deep conditioning treatments are my saving grace.  I sweat a lot.  Like my hair is wringing wet after a tough workout.  I have to be diligent about hydrating my hair, so I do use one of these replenishing pack treatments each week.  It’s a good, weekly, deep conditioning routine especially for women with hair texture similar to mine which tends to dry out.
  13. Lululemon  Yeah Yoga Tank ($58) – How cute is the back on this?  I like this tank because it’s supportive for those of us who are bustier, but also cute and sexy with the backless crisscross design.  I can wear this to yoga AND to kickboxing because it provides enough support.  Also, the fabric is thick and fits very snug, which I appreciate.
  14. Foam Roller ($15-20) – Foam rolling is my massage substitute.  It’s also a  good warm up for high intensity workouts (along with some light cardio).  The foam roller allows you to massage deep into your muscle fibers, generate heat and break up lactic acid.  It’s a really good tool to have around your house if you do lots of high impact and high intensity workouts (i.e Kickboxing, Boot Camps, CrossFIT, etc.).
  15. Sporty Afros G+ Hair Spray ($5-10) – I started using this product from Sporty Afros after I got a sample in a swag bag.  It’s amazing!  The spray is made specifically for athletes.  So after a workout when my hair is sweaty, I spray it heavily on my roots and lightly on my ends, then comb my hair with a wide tooth comb.  It helps prevent breakage and keeps my hair moist.  Most importantly, it doesn’t feel greasy.  I’m a fan!

What’s on your holiday wish list?


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Better Sore Than Sorry: Activity alternatives to avoid skipping workouts

better sore than sorry

We had some crazy cold weather in Dallas this weekend – an ice storm to be exact. Consequently, many of my favorite group fitness classes were cancelled, which kind of put me in a funk.  A big part of me wanted to just skip my workouts all together and curl up on my couch.  Fortunately, while doing some internet browsing I came across this article, 10 Questions to Ask Yourself before You Skip Your Workout, and it became very clear to me that I needed to get my butt off of the couch and into my workout clothes.  While there’s nothing wrong with resting (our bodies do need adequate recovery), I’m really glad I went ahead and got some alternative activity in.  My workout schedule this weekend went like this:

  • Thursday = Run up and down the stairs in my house for 10 min + 50 push ups + my 10 Min Abs vol. 1
  • Friday = TaeBo 60 min fat blaster DVD + dancing around in my living room with ankle weights on to some of my favorite jamz
  • Saturday = Turbo Kick + Body Pump (my gym opened for a few hours – yay!)
  • Sunday = Hot Vinyasa Flow Yoga

Now that I’m getting ready to embark on my work week, I’m feeling energized and happy that I didn’t skip my sweat sessions.  In fact, I think changing up my routine actually benefited my body – I’m pretty sore in areas that I don’t typically focus on.

For the Dallas readers who are still going to be stuck at home tomorrow, here’s a 15 minute workout video created by yours truly that will get you sweating 🙂  You can knock this bad boy out in your home with no equipment.  The routine is designed to get your heart rate up, work all of the major muscle groups and burn 150-200 calories.

Enjoy the workout, be encouraged  and have a wonderful week! xoxo, Brit