Emily, our BIN editor, finds out how Brooke finds the energy (even when she’d rather hit snooze)
We all have those days when showing up for a pilates class feels as impossible as scaling Kilimanjaro. Sometimes we get over it. Sometimes...it just isn’t gonna happen. Hey, it’s all about balance. Brooke’s been there, too, and knows a combination of mind tricks, (responsible) rewards, and being gentle on yourself is key to getting healthy—your way. (Although even she can’t help you enjoy boot camp. Sorry, but she’s not a miracle worker.)
Let’s talk about motivation. How do you convince yourself to work out when you really don’t want to?
“I know, inevitably, that I’m going to feel better after. I know that if I just get there, get in the door, or get on the machine, I’ll feel better in my brain. If I don’t do something energetic—and it’s not even necessarily about exercise—I’ll feel more ready to approach things that are tough.”
But honestly: do you ever just skip it?
“Yes! It’s been a big lesson for me: there are moments when you just have to give yourself a break. You can injure yourself if you don’t listen to yourself. It’s not about no pain, no gain—if I let my ego get in the way and either try and beat myself or be as good as someone else, that’s when I get hurt. You have to listen to your body, even more so than your brain with that kind of thing.”
That’s all very respectable, but like...ever just can’t be bothered? Real talk.
“Of course. You have to give yourself that too! You know, you don’t need to feel like a hero every day! Or if I was out late the night before, a couple of tequilas, dancing, laughing...it’s okay to give yourself a break. You just have to hold yourself accountable and be responsible for you.”
Do you reward yourself after a workout?
“I always reward myself for workouts. I don’t like to completely undo a workout with, like, an ice cream sundae, but I always like to do something I enjoy after it. Even just coffee or tea with a friend. I like having wine or tequila with dinner, and part of the reason I do that is because I work out. I don’t work out just to do that, but it’s so I don’t have to deny myself all the things we’re told are bad for you.”
I like the sound of that.
“Are you craving something? Then have it. Just don’t have it every night! Balance and moderation are the hardest things for people to strike, but it’s the healthiest way to be.”
What kind of exercise is your personal nightmare?
“My least favorite thing—and I used to love them—are those boot camps. Rolling tires and climbing up a rope and all that. I used to love it, but now it just makes me cringe.”
Craziest workout you’ve ever done?
“When I was younger I went through all of physiology training to fly with the Blue Angels of the U.S. Navy. That involved everything from getting ejected—in a simulator obviously—to going in the compression chamber, to getting dropped in a pool upside down and having to undo my latch underwater and then get the parachute out of my way so I could come up to the surface. I thought it was the best thing in the world when I was 18! But those kinds of exercises make me crazy now because I am so aware of what I am no longer capable of.”
What makes you feel great?
“A good spin class with great music that I can just get lost in. Or dance classes! I used to take jazz because that was the best training for me for Broadway. I like the idea of moving, but not thinking about it as exercise.”
Yeah, “exercise” just feels kinda like a to-do sometimes...and not in a good way.
“So switch the way you talk about it to yourself! Don’t call it exercise, and don’t do it to lose weight. Think of it in terms of getting your blood moving and getting your adrenaline going.
Find things you like that make you sweat. Do you like gardening? Mowing your lawn or raking your leaves? Start by practicing those things. During COVID lockdown, I vacuumed this house 1000 times more than I ever had. And by the end of it, A. I had a clean house, and B. I was sweating! Paddle boarding or roller skating or bowling—if there’s an activity involved that you have to use your body for, and you enjoy, do that thing. Stop calling it exercise. Call it something else in your brain, and you’ll be amazed at seeing little changes. We just need a shift in approach in how we move. You have to enjoy it.”