Hannah Bronfman focuses her work on improving people’s health and well-being, and encouraging them to take time to take care of themselves. The HBFIT founder and author of Do What Feels Good writes about fun and easy ways to eat healthier, break a sweat, and pamper your skin. 

She sat down with Thrive to share how she deals with a lull in her fitness routine, her genius way to prioritize self-care, and how she stays on track at work. 

Thrive Global: What is your morning routine? 

Hannah Bronfman: Immediately upon waking up, I drink some hot water with apple cider vinegar. That’s my go-to in the morning, and then I’ll follow it up with a glass of room temperature water. Then, depending on if I’m working out in the morning or if I’m just trying to just get my life together before going to the office, I usually make myself a smoothie. I like to have a smoothie usually before 10:30 a.m.

TG: Have you ever experienced a fitness lull?

HB: I’ve definitely struggled with my fitness goals as it pertains to trying to get pregnant. It’s been a long journey for me and my husband. We’ve been very open about it, and it’s been really difficult to stay committed to my fitness goals when there are certain times of the month where I shouldn’t be doing exercises. Things that are integral parts of my wellness journey have definitely been revamped or reimagined as I embark on this very long road to pregnancy.

TG: What are some of the things that have helped you get motivated to work out again?

HB: For me, it was really important to remember that working out comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s not all or nothing. It’s really about taking the time to listen to your body and hear what it needs — so whether that’s 20 minutes of core work next to your bed, or that’s five minutes of one-minute intervals and wall sits, and that’s your lower body workout for the day.

Remember that fitness doesn’t have to be an hour-long boutique class or Soul Cycle workout, and it doesn’t have to be a gym membership. You can go out for a walk or a hike, you can do moves next to your bed like pushups, sit ups, or a wall sit. The world of wellness can be very intimidating, and the media has really made it seem like working out has to come in this certain package. But I think that it’s really important to remember that working out can be done anywhere and it’s really about what fits with your schedule — and what fits with your body type, and your goals, and that there are so many alternatives.

In order to reset and get your mind in a place where you feel really good — sometimes for me that means a week of not working out and just really focusing on what I’m eating and making good decisions. That can be a really great reset — one that really puts you into a great mindset. Then you think, “That felt great, what am I going to do next week?”

TG: How can we make small changes in our diet to make healthier food choices?

HB: I think it is important to recognize when you’re having cravings for things and trying to understand why you might be feeling that way. Was it an emotional trigger? Is it more that my body’s actually thirsty and not hungry? Is it that I’m feeling anxious? Understanding where the triggers come from is really helpful, even if that means just writing down your feelings before or after you stress eat. Understand where the action is coming from will shift your perspective and then eventually create a habit of action.

TG: How do you prioritize with so much going on? 

HB:  I live by my calendar. It’s very up-to-date. I even schedule my workouts in my calendar. I schedule my free time in my calendar. I schedule my dinners or the dinners that I’m having at home. Everything is in my calendar, and I literally don’t know what I would do without it. As soon as I finish my to do list, I have another to do list in my inbox. So it really helps me stay on top of checking things off the list.

TG: You run your own business, HBFIT.  What is your communication style with your team?

HB:  We have a meeting once a week on Thursdays where we go over everything that we have in the pipeline, everything that we’ve accomplished, and that’s really our feedback session for the way we’re running. It’s not only an opportunity for me to give feedback to my team, but it’s an opportunity for my team to give feedback to me. 

We’re a really close-knit group, and we’ve been working together for a long time. So we’re not shy around our communication, but we all have the same collective goal: to be successful and super mindful in the things that we do. And so we really just respect one another, and we bring that level of care to our feedback sessions.

TG: How do you stay focused? 

HB: I try to respond to email immediately  — it kills me when I look at my inbox on Gmail and it says this email came in and you haven’t responded in six days. And I always CC my assistant, that way if someone responds back and I missed it, there’s someone chiming in so we’re not ever leaving anyone hanging. 

I also Slack myself everything. I have a conversation with myself on Slack. It’s basically the same thing as texting yourself. But then I will go through everything that I’ve Slacked myself — whether that was a company  to look up, a piece of literature I heard about, a profile on someone, or a new product. I will spend maybe two hours every three days to just go through everything that I Slacked myself that week.

TG: What causes you stress, and what are some of the things that you do to alleviate it? 

HB: The things that I like to try and do to combat stress is a whole other ecosystem in itself.  The pregnancy journey is so real and the stress from that is very intense. That’s hard enough to deal with. So I try to get ahead of other things in my life.

For me, it’s really about making sure we are clear on what our deliverables are, that the products are arriving on time, and that the lines of communication are open. My team is very hands on, and they’ll make sure that there are no question marks by the time it’s coming to me and we’re in that time crunch to get it done. We try to minimize the stress by making sure all the questions are answered ahead of time.

TG: What is your sleep routine?

HB: My sleep routine changes. I am off my phone an hour before bed. I light a candle next to my bed every night. I use a magnesium spray from my acupuncturist. I definitely spend at least 20 minutes in my bathroom prepping my face before I go to sleep and I do all of my facial massage stuff. I try to do that before my husband goes to sleep so that way we have a couple minutes to chat in bed before going to sleep.  Then, once I get into bed, I do a little intention setting and breathing routine and close my eyes.

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