Inspirational Fit Chic{k}: Brianna

When I come across a blog that is exceptionally inspiring I feel such an urge to share it with you guys- so today it was a must that I share the amazingness that is Brianna of Shine or Set. I was introduced to her website by J and since that happened about two months ago I was hooked. From her mentality on fitness, to her inspiring weight loss story, to yes, even her workouts/meals on instagram {find her at brianna_sky) … you can say I’m slightly obsessed. You guys know I’m all about healthy body image around here and she embodies that…

What does YMC do when she is slightly obsessed with something? Well, she shares it with you because she is slightly crazy like that! 

Below is an interview with Brianna and a bit about her story.. I think you’ll become hooked much like I did- I am so happy she agreed to share it with us all. At the very end of the post there’s a great recipe and workout for all of you! 


When did you start your journey into a healthy life style?
I signed up for the gym three years ago, and began eating clean just over a year ago.

Did you jump right into it or has it taken time for you to adapt to eating clean and working out as often as you do?

It has taken time to get to the point where I am at. In the beginning, I believed that cardio and counting calories were the most important factors. I was so focused on the number on the scale, rather than building a body I could be proud of. While I did lose forty pounds, it became a very obsessive lifestyle. I thankfully broke out of that mental trap. I realized that there had to be a better and healthier way of living, and there was. This is where strength training and eating nourishing foods came into play. I started to have more fun in the gym and in the kitchen, and my body rewarded me with progress I never thought possible.
Before you started focussing on you were putting in your body, were you working out as much as you do now?
I was very active in high school. I played every sport that was offered, and was on the cheer team. I would often play a basketball game, change into my cheer uniform, and then go cheer on the boy’s basketball team. It was a crazy schedule, but I enjoyed every minute of it. When I started college I wasn’t active anymore. I just didn’t have the desire to work out. I think I was intimidated by the university gym and the big campus. My high school was tiny, so it was easier to be outgoing there. In college, it felt like I was a tiny fish. It didn’t help that I was an extremely shy person either. I didn’t start working out again until right after I graduated from college.
Do you find that you can work out less by eating clean? Or do still work out as much as you did before?
I don’t feel like eating clean has given me an excuse to not push as hard in the gym. I actually work out harder now than I did before. I constantly want to push my limits and challenge myself. The body is an amazing thing, and it’s even more amazing what it can do with proper diet and workouts.

When you were at your heaviest, what was your breaking point? What gave you the determination to change your life style?
I was at my heaviest weight around three years ago. I was at a very rough point in my life, and had somehow found myself in a mentally and physically abusive relationship. Throughout the course of that relationship I had gained a lot of weight, probably due to emotional eating and, sadly, drinking. I remember looking in the mirror one day and not recognizing myself. My spirit was gone, along with my happiness and the body I used to have. So, what did I do? I went and saw a movie, and as silly as it sounds, it changed my life. I had never gone to the movies by myself, but I decided to buy a ticket and find a solo seat in the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I had never cried so hard in my life. I left feeling this amazing sense of clarity and empowerment. The next day, I ended my relationship. While I didn’t go off and travel the world like Elizabeth Gilbert did, I found a different type of solace in the gym and in cooking healthy foods. I wanted to find myself again, and part of that was being healthy again, both mentally and physically. It’s a continuing journey, and one that I am committed to for life.

How do you continue to motivate yourself?
I think when you hit the lowest of lows, you never want to go back to that point. Knowing where I have been is what keeps me going. I’ve learned so much over the course of three years, not only about fitness and nutrition, but about myself as a person. I just want to be the best version of myself, so I make myself my own competition. Sure, looking at fitspo accounts on Instagram will give me a push to get to the gym, but I know everyone is built different. I may never have that girl’s abs or that girl’s booty, but knowing there is such a strong fitness community is a very encouraging thing. My family is also a great support system, along with my boyfriend. I believe in surrounding myself with people who will push me and make me better as a person, and I thankfully have that.
I know your boyfriend doesn’t have the same healthy life style as you, how do you keep away from his stash of junk food?
Sigh. He is somehow blessed with a permanent six-pack, even though his meals mainly consist of chicken nuggets, hash browns, and ice cream. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, though. I actually find it amusing and it’s one of the many things I love about him. He has a stash of junk food that he so nicely put in a lower cabinet. Isn’t he sweet? Nothing I need to cook with is in there so I don’t have to open it and see the piles of candy and cookies. Just because we don’t share the same healthy lifestyle, doesn’t mean we don’t cook together and enjoy our meals together. We still enjoy those moments together, just with different foods.
Speaking of your boyfriend, he is in a band and touring with Warped Tour this summer, when you are on the road with him how do you plan to stay healthy and active?
Yes, he is in blessthefall. It’s their second year in a row on Warped Tour, which is very exciting and I am so proud of him. I plan on visiting him a few times this summer, which I’m really looking forward to. As for staying on track, I am taking a mini cooler and stocking up on some healthy and convenient foods. Convenient, because cooking on a bus isn’t really an option. To be honest, I doubt I will be working out at all while I am out there. I may go on some runs with my friend, Courtney, who is also on the road for Warped Tour with the Keep a Breast Foundation. Mostly, I’m out there to be with my boyfriend and I don’t feel guilty one bit for taking some time off from the gym.

You inspire your followers to stay fit and lead a healthy lifestyle, who inspires you?
My followers are my inspiration. They’re so incredibly supportive and positive. They really push me to work harder, eat cleaner, and keep up with my account. I never would have thought social media could grow into something like this, but it’s such a powerful thing. I feel very blessed to have reached the people I have. Another inspiration to me is Jillian Michaels. She just seems like such a hard-working and genuine individual who I have enjoyed following throughout my journey.
What’s your advice for women who are just beginning their journey into a healthy, clean lifestyle?
Be patient. Results don’t happen overnight. They happen through dedication, workouts, and filling the body with good foods. It can be difficult to not feel defeated when you don’t see abs after two days. Just remind yourself that every day you are taking steps to get to where you want to be. Oh, and don’t beat yourself up. You had a bowl of ice cream, so what? It’s life! There are things you can still enjoy. Heck, I love a good cookie dough Blizzard from Dairy Queen every once in awhile. Is it going to kill me? No. It’s just important not to make a habit of it. There is a proper balance to everything and for everyone.