‘Devious Maids’ star Brianna Brown shares her favorite L.A. workouts
In addition to the general pressures of maintaining her health as a film and television actress, Brianna Brown has another powerful motivation. Her father’s death in 2007 from a cancerous tumor in his bile duct catalyzed her interest in holistic approaches and diligently sticking to a carefully shaped exercise and diet regimen. “I have struggled with my own health issues over the years and overcame them by adopting healthier habits,” she says. “I wish that had been the case with my father.”
The costar of Lifetime’s “Devious Maids” also co-founded the New Hollywood, a nonprofit advocacy organization for women in Hollywood.
How do you balance your dedication to fitness with a demanding work schedule?
I schedule my workouts first thing in the morning, making them a part of my daily routine and eliminating the challenge of motivating myself. I am also a huge advocate of having multiple workout buddies. It’s a great way to see my friends and catch up while being productive and staying healthy, plus you have someone helping to keep you accountable.
So what are your favorite workouts around L.A.?
My go-to workouts when I’m in L.A. are Soma Sculpt at Studio Soma and private Pilates sessions with Thalia Thomas. As a former soccer player, my muscle memory has a tendency to bulk up, so I have to be conscious of doing exercises that keep me lean and strong. I like to add in/alternate different kinds of workouts to keep from getting bored and rebelling: spinning at Flywheel, Body by Simone classes and hot yoga at Modo Yoga.
What are the some of biggest differences in how you ate growing up in Minnesota compared with your diet now?
My mom did a great job of making home-cooked meals that weren’t too processed, but unfortunately I didn’t learn that healthy eating can be delicious and easy to make. I make a point of eating clean and healthy 90% of the time and indulging when I feel like it, without reprimanding myself. ... My biggest rule of thumb is that if I can’t understand the list of ingredients on the label I should not put it in my body.
How did your father’s illness influence your food and exercise choices?
My father’s illness came at a time when I was already adopting my own healthier lifestyle. When I first moved to L.A., I had a severe back injury and was told by Western medicine that I would never run again because of my bulged discs. With a lot of hard work and the help of Dr. Wu at the Beijing Chinese Medical Center I was able to restore my back through acupuncture and qigong. That setback opened my mind to Eastern medicine and a different way of viewing health and wellness.
What kind of health research did you take on in the wake of his diagnosis?
I read everything and anything I could on the subject. I have also watched a plethora of food documentaries and worked with nutritionists and integrative medicine physicians to learn how to have a healthier lifestyle, as well as combat health issues. I recommend “The Amazing Liver & Gallbladder Flush,” “Clean Gut” book, “Crazy Sexy Diet,” cancerschmancer.org and “The Gerson Therapy.”