Sustainable Wellness For The Modern Woman: A Conversation with BB Arrington
Wellness, at its core, is about getting honest with yourself. It’s a lifestyle change. It’s a commitment to be intentional with how you move through your inner world + the world around you. It isn’t always easy − it’s especially challenging to do it alone. This is where BB Arrington comes in. A certified trainer + nutritional therapy practitioner, we chatted with BB about her philosophies on feeling good + living well. Her take? We love her approach to a holistic nutrition + wellness — an approach aiming at a sustainable wellness, one that is both in accord with sustainability + that is both accessible x enjoyable on a personal level. Tune in below to learn about BB x her take on the space. . .
Aisle 9: Tell us a little bit about yourself and the steps you’ve taken to establish yourself as a voice in the wellness community.
BB: Hi, I’m Breanna Bartley Arrington, but people call me BB. I started my career as a personal trainer in New York, and spent many years teaching group fitness at a fitness boutique while there as well. In addition to my role in the fitness space, I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, a functional nutritionist focused on helping people heal. Additionally, I am an advisor for Plant Group, a network of designers, ecologists, and engineers helping to implement wellness programs to complement their agricultural + environmental initiatives. The experiences x connections I’ve developed through these areas have helped to shape my point of view and voice in the space.
A9: As a holistic nutritionist + personal trainer, when did you first begin to adopt your own convictions around what we’re putting in our bodies x how we treat them?
BB: I’m very lucky to have grown up with a healthy relationship with exercise. As a teen, I was in sports + ballet. I would go on runs x play tennis with my dad as a way of bonding x seeing what physical challenges I could overcome. I was always envious of people who could run faster or longer than me or do more push-ups — I wanted to be THAT person. It really wasn’t until I graduated college that outside influences started to challenge that. Long story short, when auditioning to work at a boutique fitness company in New York, my build [muscular] was of concern despite my outstanding performance. It really stung. But I got over it with employment elsewhere x promised myself that I would never let someone else’s perception of my body change my relationship to exercise.
As a trainer, I coach function + performance over aesthetic. Not to say clients can’t come to me looking to lose weight or build a larger bum, but I shift the focus away from aesthetics while we work to build a better relationship with movement. When it comes to nutrition, before I studied, food was just about eating whatever I wanted with aesthetics in mind. Now, I look at every meal as an opportunity. It’s a chance to make sure your hormones are balanced, your energy is stable, your body has the building blocks it needs, or a chance to connect with your loved ones. It’s not JUST food.
A9: Finding a routine for personal wellness takes time + intentionality. What has your own wellness journey looked like + what are the main areas that you find yourself prioritizing?
BB: It’s ever changing. It generally revolves around a specific physical goal. Currently I’ve been striving to become a better tennis player. I play about 10-12 hours a week in addition to my other activities [Muay Thai + lifting]. I know I won’t be lucky enough to play this frequently in the near future, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can during this time. Other priorities for me include meal timing and macro balancing, getting plenty of sleep, and doubling down on meditation to improve focus and decision-making.
A9: There is a lot of information out there in the health and wellness community. What keeps you grounded in the noise of all the different opinions and philosophies on “health,” and where do you look to for guidance in the wellness + nutrition space?
BB: What keeps me grounded in the wellness world is keeping up with the latest research and continuing education, because it’s science; science isn’t finite, it’s a continued exploration to glean what we think may be true. My advice for unfolding the information in front of you is:
01 | Look at the overarching objective. What does this information, at its core, want the audience to do?
02 | Who is funding the study or publication — what are their motives?
03 | What direct or peripheral information has been excluded from this conversation?
04 | How did they come to this conclusion?
When you stop and ask yourself these questions, you’ll start to see the subtext more clearly, understand the motives, and get a more holistic understanding on the topic. From there you can decide what to do with the information.
A9: A phrase you use often is ‘sustainable wellness’ — what does that mean to you + how do you implement it in your daily life?
BB: It’s really a double meaning:
01 | Wellness that is in accord with sustainability.
02 | Wellness that is rooted in a lifestyle that is personally accessible and enjoyable.
For some populations, these two readings unfortunately are at odds with each other. For me personally, it means eating in season, eating locally, supporting local business, supporting farmers + food producers dedicated to producing food in ways that are or have potential for regeneration, i.e. eating local meat + produce instead of commercially produced food, or food that supports a destructive agro-chemical business model. It means eating to meet your biological needs instead of what is most trendy or what others think you should be eating. It means moving often in ways that light you up instead of slogging hours away in a modality that you don’t enjoy. It means allowing space to be creative x be inspired so that you can feel like there is purpose to your time here on this planet.
A9: Speaking of sustainability, we were so inspired by your recent thoughts around the topic. How does sustainability + wellness connect for you?
BB: We are nature. The more we separate ourselves from the planet + other living creatures, the more harm we do to ourselves. To be well, we cannot exclude our environment. If we want to be at the top of our game, we have to take a holistic approach — not a rushed response, but develop a lifestyle that respects all elements.
A9: From informational tips to attainable, inspiring recipes — we love keeping up with your food-forward content. Tell us, what is one of your go-to nutrient-dense recipes?
BB: This recipe is great and so simple. If eggs are not your thing, you can sub with some canned mackerel or sardines [my other go-to fast protein, complete with a nice dose of omega 3’s].
A9: Being a personal trainer, we can only imagine how necessary it is to detach from being “others focused,” catch your breath, and refill your energy at the end of the day. What helps you unwind and how do you like to spend your down time?
BB: I often play doubles in the evening x if not, just spending time with my family. I eat a good meal, love up on my dear ones, take a candle lit shower, then wind down for the evening. Nothing fancy.
A9: What would you say to someone struggling to find a consistent rhythm and stick to habits that nurture their own wellness?
BB: Depending on what the change is that you want to see, be sure to have some benchmarks so you can celebrate all that you’ve accomplished. Whether that be the fact that you stuck through your challenge for the entirety of your goal, or celebrating the little beneficial changes you’ve seen so far. Know why you’re doing it. Use your why as your north star when you want to throw in the towel.
More about BB: BB Arrington is a certified personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and sustainability advocate. She advocates for a true wellness that is inclusive of all six tenements: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and social for a “wellthy” life. She offers personalized fitness programs as well as 1:1 live personal training. In the nutrition space, check out her offerings as a Nutritional Therapy Practioner. BB also so happens to be an actor + singer, appearing on stages across America x numerous national + international ad campaigns. Want to keep up with the latest? Follow along with BB on Instagram here.