Briana Chandler, or @bribaebee, is taking the fitness world by storm. This girl with a 300K Instagram following and booty goals galore started off just like all of us. Stressful college days and ups and downs led to an unhealthy relationship with food. It also led her to fitness and discovering her true calling in life. The fuel to her fire…
How it began
“In high school, I ran cross-country and I played soccer but my sister was always the super sporty active one,” she begins. The community behind these sports is the aspect that Briana really appreciated. “It’s just super encouraging,” she adds. Little did she know that her new community would grow to be close to 300K.
“And then came college,” Briana laughs. “You know that typical college story, I gained 20 pounds, I didn’t want it to be like that.” As an honours student, she really felt the stress of the workload. “I had anxiety and depression,” Briana adds. As a super smiley person, she hid how she was really feeling. “I’m not the type of person to be like, ‘hey guys, I feel like shit’,” she says. And for this reason, food became Bri’s comfort. “I was emotional eating. I just always joked about it,” she admits. “But I wanted to have a constructive outlet to actually build my life. I didn’t want to be in an even worse spot in a few years.”
Gym became Briana’s safe haven. A chance to escape, work on PR’s and enjoy those sweaty endorphins. “It was more of a hobby at first,” she continues. “But then over time, I remember seeing other fit females (Instagram wasn’t as huge as it is now) but in magazines. And I remember seeing these people and thinking ‘how do they look like that?’ So then I started pushing myself — if they can do it then I can too. What’s stopping me?” Bri had found her passion. “It became the fuel to my fire,” she adds.
READ MORE: “Health and fitness were my escape from the stress of being a student”
A workout week in the life of Briana Chandler
“Now that I’m balancing work and fitness, it’s really interesting,” Briana begins. The day will include a sesh at Sweat1000 and a weight workout of her choice. “I really like the HIIT workouts here at Sweat1000, they’re intense!” says Briana. “I’ll do 2 leg and glute workouts per week, and then also a back day and then arms, shoulders, chest, abs all in one day. I try to work out five times a week, mostly during the week.”
And then for extra cardio as if Sweat1000 classes weren’t enough, Briana gets in an extra sweat sesh with treadmill work and the stair climber. “It’s one of my favourite cardio machines,” she admits. And when summer comes, there are even more options. “I just love getting outdoors and being active.” Hiking, rollerblading, beach walks, you name it. “Just do what you enjoy,” Briana advises. “At the end of the day, you are able to make it a lifestyle when you enjoy what you’re doing.”
“I’m really big on not restricting your diet.”
“I’m very flexible with my eating,” Briana explains. “I try to eat protein with every meal so that’s one of the key things, that’s key to building muscle.” And damn girl, it’s definitely working for Bri.
“For breakfast this morning I had some eggs,” she says. This is the usual: two whole eggs and an egg white accompanied with fresh fruit on the side. When it comes to keeping herself hydrated it’s sparkling mineral water all the way. “I’ll add fresh lime or lemon juice to it,” Briana adds.
“And then for lunch, I really just do any sort of protein source, like chicken with rice,” Briana continues. “I love chicken and rice together, that’s such a bro food,” she laughs. And snacks? Greek yoghurt with a twist. “So Greek yoghurt is already loaded with protein, but what you can do to up your intake is add a scoop of protein powder or protein granola to it.”
For supper, fish is the meal of the day. “I love fish,” Briana says. “Here I have been having the kingklip with some lemon on top.” Served with greens, like a salad, and rice and you’ve got yourself a great meal to end off the day.
READ MORE: These diet and fitness hacks keep Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in shape
‘But does she count calories?’ I wondered. The answer, no. “It is good to have an idea of what you’re consuming, though,” Briana advises. “Once you’re into fitness, you want foods that are going to make you feel good.” It’s also about what nutrients the food contains, not just the calories. How do you know what’s good though? “I basically just know at this point,” Briana says. “But when I first started — like I was a nerd at school — translate that to fitness and nutrition!”
Research, research, research. Bri also wasn’t afraid of asking others for advice. “I’d talk to people at the gym and ask what they do,” she explains. “You also have to know your body and understand how it works, because something might work for someone else but it’s not gonna work for you.”
For example, the flexible diet that Briana follows may not work for everyone. “A very strict diet works for some and they get the results they want,” she adds. But for Bri, a strict diet just leads to eating more of what she’s not ‘supposed’ to be eating. “I end up wanting all the foods that I’m not eating. I learned to be flexible and that’s actually the key to getting the results in my opinion because once you enjoy it you’re able to make it a habit.” Everything in moderation. Even this fitness queen enjoys the occasional unhealthy meal. Her favs? Burgers and ice cream but nothing beats Mom’s cooking.
READ MORE: “I’ve tried over 20 diets — and this is the only thing that worked”
Briana is booty goals for sure. But she’s put in the work. Her top three go-to moves for a perkier peach are hip thrusts, sumo squats, and cable kickbacks. These can be added to staple leg and glute workouts such as lunges and deadlifts to really get that burn.
When it comes to hip thrusts there are many ways you can step them up to keep things interesting. “You can add resistance bands either above or below your knees to switch things up,” Briana says. “You can also tempo train, so you can come down slowly and fire up. You can add a pulse too, so add a pulse at the top.” This one can be done with a barbell as well. Bri ends things off by doing as many bodyweight hip thrusts as she can manage. “And then just be dead,” she jokes.
READ MORE: This is the deadlift you must master to achieve your booty goals
“I have a lot of projects in the works,” Briana says excitedly. “I’m releasing a ‘Tone Your Core’ programme for females that want a tight tummy.” All of us girls, me thinks. This programme runs over five weeks. “I’m also working on a ‘Home Glute’ programme for females that can’t make it to the gym, stay at home moms, those that work at home…” And that’s not all, there are a few HIIT programmes in the works as well.
But the one that has really got people talking is the ‘Advanced Glute Guide’ that will be released soon. “This one is for all the females who have finished my regular glute guide, it’s essentially the part two.” This will be another 12-week programme and it’s intense. “I do the workouts before the programmes are released and I did the Advanced Glute Guide and I was like, everyone that does this workout is going to hate me because I hate myself right now.”
It’s not all fitness though. “I am coming up with a programme to help entrepreneurs and even people that are hoping to get into the fitness industry, launch their business. I want to be able to use what I’ve learned and give people the encouragement to continue on their journey and pursue their dreams.” Yaas girl, what an inspiration.
This article was originally published in Women's Health SA.