The DJ, HBFit blogger, and social media sensation gets real about her workouts, body image, and not-so-secret-anymore fitness mantra
We've long had a crush on DJ, model, entrepreneur, and purveyor of wellness Hannah Bronfman, founder of HBFit, the destination for all things health, beauty, and fitness. We sat down with her at the launch of Jawbone's new line of UP2 and UP3 trackers to talk about everything from gym bag must-haves to Instagram body shamers to working out with her fiancé.
Shape: You just got engaged a couple weeks ago—congrats! You do a ton of partner workouts with your fiancé, Brendan Fallis. What's your favorite workout to do together?
Hanna Bronfman (HB): I really enjoy running with him. I hate running, but when I run with Brendan it's really motivating. I'm a little bit of a tomboy and I think 'well, if he's going to run that far I want to run that far' so it's definitely motivating and pushes me to do things I didn't necessarily think I could do—or even want to do! Running for me is the hardest to get over mentally. I don't think he would have the same answer at all!
Shape: Have you seen any of those benefits of working out together trickle over into your relationship?
HB: I definitely think that working out together has led us to have much stronger communication. If we're trying a new acro move, it allows us to be open about where we are individually and how we can achieve our goals together, which I think is really awesome. I've been in relationships in the past where communication wasn't great, and when it is, it makes it so much easier to talk to each other. We push ourselves and challenge each other, but in a non-competitive way. You're not judging yourself. That's huge. There's definitely something to be said for sweating it out with your girlfriends, but I think that no matter what, you're always comparing yourself whether you mean to or not. Girls are so in their head about their body image. It doesn't matter how confident you are, it's hormones!
Shape: You're also a self-proclaimed beauty aficionado [Bronfman is the co-founder of the beauty service booking app, Beautified, and was recently named an ambassador for Clinique]. What are some must-have beauty products in your gym bag?
HB: I've got so much shit in my bag! The Clinique chubby stick in Blossom—I love that. I definitely have Anastasia's Eyebrow Gel in there. I also have some un-chic makeup wipes that my dermatologist gave me that really get the dirt off. And I always have an Aloha protein bar and an extra pair of underwear.
Shape: Besides the awesome designs, which feature of the Jawbone has had the biggest impact on your day-to-day life? Any bad habits its helped you break?
HB: I have to say the sleep tracking. For me, I work two very different jobs—from DJing to being a wellness person. So sleep is crucial; it makes me function way better throughout my day and gives me sustained energy to get through all the night events. I've been a Jawbone fan since the first version of the product, and I've watched the sleep component specifically get so much better and so much deeper. I love gadgets and I really do like to see full graphs—it's super visual and works super well. So if I see that I had a bad night's sleep and I know that the night before I didn't drink any water, I was on my phone before I went to sleep, I was stressed out because I didn't work out or whatever, it shows. And when I have my tea before I went to bed and didn't look at my phone for two hours, I'm like, 'Oh, that should be a nightly routine!'
Shape: You work out with [celebrity trainer] Kira Stokes, who's one of the toughest trainers in NYC. How does she motivate you?
HB: Kira is the nicest person in the world. She has such a bossy exterior that people can get really intimidated by her, but she's actually the most encouraging person ever. My sister hated working out, and she's been working out with Kira for three times a week for the last four months. She's so passionate. This is her life, she's not f***ing around with it! She'll email or text Vanessa [my sister] a photo of what she's eating and be like, 'What are you eating?' and make her send photos back. She really keeps you accountable! She's great about setting goals and setting you up for success. Her approach is just so hands-on, friendly, and encouraging. The way she approaches her workouts is a great complement to anything else I do. (See Kira Stokes' 31 plank variations for killer abs!)
Shape: You're all about promoting a fit, healthy body image and wrote a post on your blog last year entitled, "F*** the thigh gap" in response to the parade of size 0 models at fashion week. Do you think the focus on skinniness has changed at all in the past year?
HB: That post went viral—it's crazy. I definitely think we're getting there. It's an upward battle, it's a slow and steady kind of thing. There was that huge campaign [Lane Bryant's #ImNo Angel], the real girl version of the Victoria's Secret girls. That was huge. I've been seeing more and more beautiful, bigger girls celebrating themselves on social media. I was actually just looking at a roundup of 50 yogis to follow and so many of them were bigger girls literally standing on their forearms upside down—something I'd never be able to do right now with my strength—and it just shows you that anyone can have that strength and it's not about what you look like in your jeans.
Shape: Can you talk more about how you use Instagram when it comes to motivation, and how you deal with any negativity?
HB: Instagram is a place where you can fall down either rabbit hole. You can go down one path and the next thing you know you f-ing hate yourself, or you can go down the path where you feel so inspired. This is the HBFit mantra—it begins with you. Growing up in Manhattan has given me a thick skin. The internet has made everyone a critic—I had to explain to my mom what a troll is! So [on my own account] I have blinders on. Recently, I've started just deleting negative comments. Then it's out of my psyche. I have little sisters, so everything I do, I do knowing that they're watching me.
Shape: Do you have an overall fitness mantra that you follow?
HB: I am nervous to say it because I want to put it on a t-shirt and I don't want it to get out there, but I'll tell you! It's mind right, body tight.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.