Q&A

How This Solidcore Coach Is De-Stressing and Listening to Her Body in 2020

When she's not teaching classes, Brianna Williamson is studying for her nursing license exam, cooking, talking daily to her family and friends, and making time to unwind.


Solidcore coach Brianna Williamson wears a shirt designed by her aunt Susan (@susanurbanfolkart), an artist specializing in her own brand of urban folk art. | All photographs courtesy Brianna Williamson.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email [email protected] 

Who I am: Brianna Williamson (@briiibriii__), 25

Where I live: Fairmount

What I do: I’m a Solidcore coach and I just finished nursing school. I went to Drexel University and graduated with my Bachelor’s in Nursing from the ACE program. My goal is to specialize in one of these areas: pediatrics, women’s health and maternity or mental health.

What role healthy living plays in my life: Healthy living plays a super important role in my life. When it comes to eating, I try to be mindful of what I’m eating, but I don’t obsess over it. For instance, if I want a burger I’m getting a burger. When it comes to being active, If I’m not active for majority of the week it affects me not only physically but mentally. For me, being active doesn’t always mean doing an intense workout every day — instead it means going for a walk, coaching, or even just getting out of the house for a little. Staying active is super important to me, but giving myself space mentally is just as important. Living by yourself can be a lot, especially during the current state of our world, so I talk to my parents on the phone every day. This is another huge part of my “healthy living.”

Health memberships: Peloton, $39/month

Willliamson takes in some inspirational Solidcore notes for motivation and encouragement at the NoLibs studio.

Monday

9 a.m.  — Peloton ride for 20 minutes with Alex Touissant. I try to ride at least three to four times a week, but some weeks are better than others, I have to admit, My Peloton was an investment, but as someone who would go to SoulCycle and fly three to four times a week, when the gyms shut down in March I felt like I needed to make the move!

9:30 a.m.  — Eggs with spinach and Cava Crazy Feta plus a Hustle cold matcha from Whole Foods.

10-1:30 a.m.  —  Review questions in preparation for NCLEX (the National Council Licensure Examination.) Going to nursing school during this pandemic has been interesting to say the least, but I have developed ways to help me get stuff done without feeling overwhelmed looking at my computer 24/7.

2:14 p.m.  —  Hop on the bus to NoLibs. The 43 bus goes straight down Spring Garden Street, so it’s an easy, straight shot over to 2nd street to get to the studio. People have opinions about SEPTA during this pandemic, but I think they have done a great job keeping things clean and making sure everyone wears their mask.

2:30 p.m.  — Sit and do some more review at Higher Grounds in NoLibs with a turmeric latte. They reserved a few parking spots outdoors and set it up like a little cafe, so it’s great place to do work when you need a change of scenery. ($4.06)

4:03 p.m.  — Walk to the studio while eating a Dark Chocolate Nut and Sea Salt Kind Bar. While walking, I text my little brother to check on him. My little brother is my heart — so kind, loving and just straight up cool! He is a teenager though, so I know the last thing he wants is his big sister checking on him every day. I check in with him here and there throughout the week, especially now that school is online.

4:20 p.m.  — Take class at Solidcore in NoLibs with studio manager Chrissy Howard. NoLibs has a special place in my heart when it comes to taking class…did I mention they have parking?

6:06 p.m.  — Acupuncture at Vitality Meditation with Flourish Acupuncture. I was late for my appointment, but I’m working on it! I love Vitality. Everything you can imagine, they offer… meditation, yoga, massage, acupuncture, cupping — you name it!

7:15 p.m.  — Subway back home. When I arrive I prepare dinner: grilled salmon, salad, brown rice and pita.

Daily total $4.06

A planner and notes for studying helps Williamson stay focused on her goals.

Tuesday

9 a.m.  — Wake up. Unfortunately, I spend an additional 30 minutes in bed looking at social media. Not the best thing, but I’m sure we can all relate.

10 a.m.  —  I have an Americano made by yours truly and a cup of granola from Purely Elizabeth. My Nespresso has really come in handy these past few months. It helped me with my coffee addiction when shops were closed — and also helped me save a significant amount of money.

11 a.m.  —  I start a practice test. It’s hard to stay focused at home, but when I set mini goals it makes studying less overwhelming and allows things to feel more attainable.

1:03 p.m.  —  I grill a chicken breast for lunch. Wegman’s has the best chicken breasts that come individually wrapped — that way you can defrost one at a time. I have leftover brown rice from the night before, and a scoop of Crazy Feta again. Yes, I am obsessed.

2 p.m.   — I finish the practice test. Most of the time I try to complete these in one sitting, but looking at a computer so much these past five months I’ve started noticing when my brain absolutely can’t take it anymore. When this happens, I take any sort of break I can.

3:24 p.m.  — I take a walk around Rittenhouse Square with an old friend of mine from Lululemon who I worked with for years. Staying in touch with old friends and setting time aside to connect and catch up is something I value, so I make it a point to allow time for this during my weeks.

5:45 p.m.  — I get home and do some more review questions to finish the day off.

8 p.m.  — Dinner tonight is a smoothie with frozen mango, avocado, and spinach. Some days I eat everything in sight, other days I’m not very hungry — I’ve learned not to beat myself up about it!

8:47 p.m. — I get ready to watch Nuggets vs. Clippers game and settle down for the night.

Daily total: $0

Wednesday

Williamson participates in a photo shoot with other Solidcore coaches for Addison Bay’s fall launch.

8:30 a.m.  — Wake up, rise, and shine. I Hop on my Peloton for a quick 20 minute ride with Robin Arzón.

9:10 a.m.  — I try to fix my road bike, but I get stressed out and decide I’ll call my dad and have him take over.

9:30 a.m.  — Breakfast is two fried eggs, two pieces of turkey bacon , and one cinnamon raisin bagel.

9:45 a.m.  —  STUDY.  Time to sit down and review questions for my NCLEX.

11:04 a.m.  — Skin care routine and  shower. It took me a while to figure out a skin care routine that works for me. I finally have found some key players but I’m always researching products. Some of my favorite products come from Dehiya beauty, Afokoskin, Tatcha, Clinique and LilFox.

11:57 a.m.  — I arrive at 24th and Locust for a photo shoot with other Solidcore coaches for Addison Bay’s fall launch.

1:30 p.m. — Quick visit to my old stomping ground, Lululemon. I worked here for almost four years so its super hard to not go in when I walk by. (P.S. Yes, they are open!)

2:47 p.m. — Stop home for a reset! I snack on Stacy’s Pita Chips and Cava Tzatziki Dip from Whole Foods.

3:30 p.m. — Nap time. I’m a firm believer in naps. If your body is tired, no need to buy your third cup of coffee for the day. Give yourself twenty minutes and take a quick snooze.

4:30 p.m. — Head to NoLibs to coach the 5:30 p.m. class.

5:20 p.m. — “Hello clients ….mic check…let’s do this!” Coaching has become second nature for me. Not only do I find more comfort in it now, but it also serves as my personal escape from the outside world.

6:30 p.m. — Clean up the studio. Clients clean their machines before and after every class, but coaches also clean every machine with a specific sanitizer at the end of the night. We are ensuring safety in every way possible!

6:56 p.m. — Walk home. I live about 1.5 miles from NoLibs, so when the weather is nice I don’t mind walking.

7:33 p.m. — Get back to my side of town. I’m too tired to cook and craving chicken fingers so I pick up food from Stockyard on the way home. ($10.80)

9 p.m. —  Shower and night time skin care routine. Night time skin care routine consists of the majority of the same things I use in the morning with the addition of various masks depending on the day and what’s going on with my skin.

9:45 p.m. — More review questions before bed. If I find a burst of energy I always try to put it to productive use, plus I’m most productive at night.

11:30 p.m. — Tired is an understatement. Lights out!

Daily total: $10.80

Thursday

Williamson enjoys a yogurt parfait with berries and granola to keep her fueled for movement and studying.

6:30 a.m. —  Alarm goes off. I definitely hit snooze.

6:43 a.m. — Alarm goes off again. I toss and turn quite a bit and sigh because it’s time to get up. I sprint to Sister Cities Park to take my friend Greg Coachman‘s outdoor class. Shout-out to my Unite Fitness fam with all the workouts they are offering to the community right now!

7:50 a.m. — I feel borderline d e a d . Workouts outside really hit different.

8 a.m. —  Take a walk after class with Greg Coachman to Ultimo and get a skim latte. ($4.01 )

9:26 a.m. — Back home and time to eat. I have a Chobani nonfat Greek yogurt plain,  with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, Purely Elizabeth granola, and agave from Trader Joe’s.

9:45 a.m. — Review and study time. It truly never ends, but getting through a little each day keeps my stress under control.

12:10 p.m. —  Shower, then time for lunch, A.K.A. second breakfast. I have two eggs scrambled with spinach and cheddar cheese, and leftover potatoes from Stockyard.

1:10 p.m. — Go over more review questions, then walk to the studio to teach class.

3:13 p.m. — Mic check & start catching up with clients! I teach back to back classes today.

6:45pm p.m. — Dinner at Tria with my Solidcore fam. During the pandemic our classes are half capacity, so with a limited number of spots available it’s hard to take class and therefore catch up with other coaches like we usually would. So, a few of us went to Tria. We each shared a cheese board, each got the salmon salad — it’s so good). We also had wine, of course. ($64.14)

10:12 p.m. — Shower and skin care, then bed,

Daily total: $68.15

Friday

Williamson takes a photo at the studio where she coaches Solidcore classes.

7 a.m. — Wake up, but stay in the bed for another 40 minutes while scrolling Instagram. Like I said before, some habits are better than others.

7:40 a.m. — Morning skin care routine and get ready to coach the 9:30 a.m. class at Solidcore in our center city location.

9:30 a.m. — Time to coach!

10:30 a.m. — Walk back to my apartment.

11:37 a.m. — Lunch time acai bowl. I blend an acai packet from Trader Joe’s with mixed berry frozen fruit from Whole Foods and a little orange juice. Now for the toppings: RXBAR cinnamon peanut butter (thank me later), almond slices, Purely Elizabeth granola, and fresh blueberries and strawberries on top!

12:15 p.m. — I start my study and review for the day.

5:15 p.m. —  I finish up studying for the day and sign up for yoga tomorrow morning at the Viaduct with Stacia Nero. If you haven’t 1) checked out the Viaduct or 2) taken one of Stacia’s classes,  you are missing out!

5:43 p.m. — I make dinner: curry chicken and a salad with tomatoes, avocado and feta. My mom’s side of the family is West Indian, so I often crave meals that I grew up having.

7 p.m. — Shower and get ready to watch the Nuggets vs. Lakers game!

Daily Total: $0

WEEKLY TOTALS:

Money spent: $83.01

Classes coached: 3

Miles walked across the city: Many!

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