By Tyler Calder
Do what feels good. It’s not always as easy as it sounds, and Hannah Bronfman knows that firsthand. It was in this pursuit that she originally created HBFIT, her online community for all things health, beauty, and fitness; and it’s the inspiration behind her latest venture – a book that fully brings these four words to life.
Do What Feels Good: Recipes, Remedies, and Routines to Treat Your Body Right is the ultimate guidebook for listening to the voice within. While the world around us encourages the allure of a quick fix, Hannah is focused on the slow, steady, and satisfying in the long-term. Her inaugural book is full to the brim with the practices (and wellness-focused recipes, tonics, and DIY bath soaks) to start ASAP this weekend – so we sat down to talk to her about the inspiration behind them all.
Congrats on the new book! You started your career as a DJ. How did you become passionate about wellness?
Well I was living a pretty unconventional and unsustainable lifestyle – I was deejaying nightclubs for almost three years and felt very burnt out because I wasn’t treating my body correctly. Because of this, I decided to do a full lifestyle overhaul and switch things up. Now, I’m still a DJ, but I moved into a more corporate environment, which allows me to focus on my health more.
That, coupled with my grandmother’s death after a lifetime of suffering from anorexia, really opened my eyes to the significance of wanting to live as the happiest and healthiest version of myself.
When did you realize you’d find a career in the wellness world?
At first, I was just posting to showcase my healthier lifestyle. I didn’t really understand that I’d be able to make it a career until I started to see a lot of positive interactions on Instagram when I first started posting about it. It just became a very sticking conversation that I was having with both friends and people I didn’t know.
I realized that there was room for more discussions and more investigating on this topic. That’s when I started HBFIT, a lifestyle website I made for millennial women looking to discover everything there is to know in the health, beauty, and fitness worlds.
Seven years ago the wellness conversation was just starting and nobody was really having it on Instagram. Now it’s amazing to see what the world of wellness has turned into in that time. I’m so grateful I was on the front end of it, and that I’ve been able to make it my career path.
What does a day in the life look like for you lately?
Lately is the keyword. There’s a lot going on! Every day is different but today I woke up, went to a breakfast for a new beauty product and talked to the founders there for a bit. I do a lot of investing so I love meeting with founders of new startups.
After that, I went to my publisher’s office and signed copies of my new book before hopping on calls. Then I’m filming an episode of HB Fit TV with a female WOC founder who I know will facilitate some great discussion. After that, I’ll head to my office for a couple hours before going to a workout event this evening. I’m hoping to get home by 8:30.
What was working on your book like and how was it different from other creative projects you’ve worked on?
The process of writing this book was really different for me. I worked with a co-writer who was amazing and it was very much like a therapy session. We met for 4.5 hours every Wednesday for a year. Then we went through the editing phase and did photo shoots once we had a stronger idea of what the layout would be.
It took me back to my school years a bit. When I was studying fine arts in school, my thesis was an installation. I started without fully knowing how the themes and elements would come together to make one cohesive story but I got there over time – the book felt similar to that.
What does self-care mean for you at this moment in your life?
So much of what I do requires me to be super extroverted and always “on” so I really need to take moments to make sure I’m not depleting myself. It’s important to me to be able to show up and be in the present and feel good. Sometimes I need to take those extra moments to drink a tonic, have a sweat, catch up on email if it’s stressing me, and just check in with myself.
What’s your personal favorite routine?
I love my hydration routine. It helps keep me on track, especially now during such dry, cold weather. In the morning, I’ll usually have a tall glass of water, around 17 ounces, and then I’ll drink throughout the day. I always make sure to drink 45 minutes to an hour before and after I eat [but not in between]. It’s important that I have that separation between eating and drinking because it allows me to understand when I’m thirsty and when I’m hungry. It’s helped me so much with my digestion, elimination, and making sure I’m not feeling bloated.
What is the best wellness advice you’ve ever received?
To tune into my body. I feel like we’ve all been in a situation where our body is telling us something about our health. When you listen to your body, you can start to understand what it’s signaling to you. We live in a society where it’s easy to mask anything. We always want a quick fix but these things take time and discipline if you really want to create change.
If I get a pimple, I ask myself where it’s coming from. Is it hormonal? Is it something I’m eating? I think about that stuff a lot. If I’m really tired after I eat something, I don’t just assume my adrenals are fatigued. I consider if it’s something I ate or an outside factor. For someone [like me] who’s really interested in living in a way that enables me to optimize my body and my mind, it’s important to have these tuned-in moments.
Do you have any recipes in your book that you make the most?
That’s really hard! My braised chicken with apricots and olives or the one with lemon. That braised chicken is just one of my favorite go-to recipes, and I make it with different flavor profiles. The sweet potato fries are also one of my favorite things to make, especially when I’m in the mood to snack on something.
For beauty, I love my hydration mask, and I’m obsessed with all the bath concoctions in my book. Those are things I truly love to indulge in. I know it’s hard (not everyone has a bathtub!), but that’s a savior for me, especially in a busy week.
Favorite way to spend a night in?
Cooking, Netflix, and chill.
Favorite place to travel?
Anywhere I haven’t been.
Favorite book, pod, or show of the moment?
I’m probably late to the game but I’ve been watching Luther lately.
Athleisure or bathleisure?
Favorite treat meal?
Nachos, but there are so many ways to make them healthy!
Favorite skincare product or practice of the moment?
Photos by Evi Abeler and Kelsey Cherry.
Follow Hannah and HB Fit on Instagram. Order Do What Feels Good: Recipes, Remedies, and Routines to Treat Your Body Right today. For more interviews with women we admire, go here.