A day in the life of Onelife Fitness personal trainer Brittany Smith

An Army vet, breast cancer survivor and local personal trainer, Smith shares insight into how health and fitness impact her life.

Women celebrating at last year’s Making Strides event in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of the American Breast Cancer Society)

Finding the motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy. From preparing home-cooked meals to making the time for a workout on a regular basis, there are a lot of excuses that can be made to avoid keeping a consistent routine.

Yet for Springfield resident and personal trainer Brittany Smith, motivation isn’t hard to find, as over the course of the past nine years she has served in the United States Army, battled breast cancer, and reignited her desire of becoming a personal trainer. 

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From Monday through Saturday, Smith is at the Ballston Quarter location of Onelife Fitness for anywhere from 10 to 12 hours training clients of all ages before returning home to her two dogs and two cats. 

And this October, Smith and the rest of the Onelife fitness team are making time to participate in the American Breast Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides event happening along the Tidal Basin. Prior to the event on Saturday, Oct. 26, we chatted with Smith about how the experiences in her life have translated to the work she does as a personal trainer here in Northern Virginia.

What is it like working with the clientele here in NoVA?
I typically see between five and 10 clients a day and I have a good base of people that are retired. My oldest client right now is 73. The older clientele come in more frequently and I can depend on them, in that they are always ready to work out and rarely cancel appointments. With the younger clientele, they typically only do a month of training because they are young professionals, so they don’t have the means to be able to afford the training. 

While I do mostly personal training, I also do some small group training. The figure skaters that skate upstairs at the MedStar Iceplex tend to come down for strength and conditioning, and I help them with that. It’s a group of four young girls that I work with on a weekly basis.

There’s a pretty big age difference there. How do you curate your routines for each individual?
I believe age doesn’t matter. With my figure skaters we work on balance, agility and stability, which is honestly the same with my older clients. With the older clients especially we focus on maintaining a strong core and balance techniques, because when we age, having proper balance is one of the first things to go. We also do strength training because as you age, you lose bone density and it’s important to maintain that. A proper program can help strengthen your bones.

How did your experience in the army influence your current lifestyle as a personal trainer?
It taught me self-discipline and how to be accountable. It also helped with the motivational aspect of my job, enabling me to better assist my clients in meeting their goals. I like to get my day started early because, being from the military, I am used to rising early and doing physical training exercises. And then between clients, I am dedicated to getting my own workouts in.  

As a breast cancer survivor, do you pay extra attention to your health and fitness routine?
Yes, absolutely. If I have red meat, I will break out and have a hot flash, so I try to stay away from that. I like to eat fish, salmon, shrimp and my typical meals consist of sweet potatoes, oatmeal, nonfat Greek yogurt. I also love cauliflower, zucchini and other vegetables. On Sundays, I do a big meal prep where I cook everything for the week and freeze half until Wednesday. 

In terms of my daily routine, each night when I get home around 6 or 7 p.m., I walk my two dogs and make sure they are situated, along with my two cats. And I try to read a devotional and pray to stay strong and be mentally prepared for the next day to better help everybody who comes to see me. And I am typically in bed by about 10 p.m. to get a full night’s rest. 

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