It’s 10 o’clock in the morning. The warm sun is starting to make its rounds and kiss doses of much-needed vitamin D into my mocha skin. After months of a cold, yet mild northeastern winter, it feels pretty damn good. The boat is finally still after over 24 hours of combatting motion sickness and subtle back & forth swaying across the vast Caribbean Sea. Thousands of passengers on board the Navigator of the Seas pour out of our 15-deck vessel and onto the welcoming streets of the island to enjoy a relaxing day of celebratory drinks, authentic food, and typical tourist-like activities.
As I approach the cruise ship’s helicopter pad, the breeze shows mercy to my perspiring forehead. The scorching heat isn’t one bit forgiving, but the breathtaking view of the shore and ocean somehow make up for the fact. The videographers and photographer scope the area and try to gauge the best place to stand and shoot without any interruption from the generous gust and loud sun. In the corner of my eye, I see Brittne Babe, a lean, sun-kissed beau, decked out in a lime green and white Zumba crop top, matching shoes, olive short and a black visor to shield the harmful rays. Her mother Kimberly — who if you don’t pay attention could easily pass for her sister — is sitting right next to her, focused on answering business emails from her phone. I approach the both of them and check to see if they’re ready to go with the shoot. Brittne greets me with a happy, brace-laced smile, we review what we’ll be recording and then Kimberly pulls Brittne to the side to go over a few more, last-minute things.
For the last 3 days, Brittne, Kimberly and I have been taking in the highly energized, vacation experience that is the Zumba Cruise. After completing their first event last year, the global dance fitness program decided to invite VIBE to the 5-day, 4-night adventure filled with non-stop body-moving music. From a Beyonce-themed Zumba class to a muscle-working Aqua Zumba session to live concerts with Wyclef Jean and Shaggy, the annual occasion seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring along a fitness influencer. One of the first to come to mind was Brittne.
With over 1.1 million followers and counting, the New Jersey native has been working hard on inspiring fitness enthusiasts from around the world through her eye-catching Instagram posts, filled with quick calisthenic and body weight exercises. After noticing a number of users following her lifestyle posts, the certified personal trainer started sharing her passion for fitness and building up her clientele. With the help of her “momager” Kimberly, the public health studying college student has managed to balance school work with her health and wellness business. “It’s not easy,” Brittne admits. “I definitely had a lot of trial and error. Her [Mom’s] help has definitely helped me.”
After taking photos and recording multiple takes of video footage, Brittne and I take a break from the heat to talk about her life journey. We chat about her Zumba Cruise experience, how to stay disciplined while on vacation and how she’s more than just the Trinidadian athlete you follow on social media.
VIBE: Since you’ve stepped on board, how has your Zumba Cruise experience been so far?
Brittne Babe: The Zumba cruise has been fun! You know, when I first came, I didn’t really know much about Zumba. While being here, I’ve gotten to see the different styles of Zumba, the different genres, the music, the people, the vibes. It’s super positive, and everyone is just happy all the time. No one’s mad. Everyone’s just having a good time. So I’ve been having fun. I’ve been doing some Strong by Zumba mostly.
I absolutely love that class! How was it for you? What did you like most and the least?
It was fun. It was definitely a challenge because it’s nonstop strength and cardio. But it was a lot of fun. I liked it. My favorite part of the class is the push-ups. I like push-ups. My least favorite would be the boxing because I don’t really know how to box. My form was just way off. [laughs]
Many people are familiar with you, not just for your physique but also because of the insanely fast bodyweight exercises you do. Were you always active as a child?
I’ve been a dancer since I was two years old. My family has a history in dance. We’ve had dancing schools, after dancing schools. I always kind of ran [track], but didn’t really running seriously. When I got to middle school, I did cross-country running, and then in high school and my freshman year of college, I ran track and field.
Which track & field events did you compete in?
I actually did the 800m, 200m and 100m race. I wasn’t really a fan of the 800m because I’m more of a sprinter, but my favorite would be the 200m.
Now you’ve caught the attention over 1.2M fitness enthusiasts all over the world. Did you ever imagine that the power of social media would take you this far?
To be honest, my mom has a huge mindset when it comes to things happening. Me, I just focus on things, little by little. I don’t look at the big picture at what can possibly happen. I just focus on what’s happening now. And I think that’s what’s helped me get to where I am and is probably going to continue to get me to where I want to be if I just focus on the little things that are happening now if that makes sense.
Most definitely. It’s good to practice being in the present moment.
Right. When I think too big, I kind of get distracted. I just have to focus on small things at a time.
You’re finishing up your college degree in heath sciences. How are you managing school and your business at the same time?
It’s not easy. I definitely had a lot of trial and error. I messed up in school, in the beginning, then I figured it out. Honestly, sometimes I’m kind of overwhelmed, but my mom has a lot of background in nutrition. Her help has definitely helped me and she’s worked with tons of companies. She helps with a lot.
So as a momager, what’s a typical day like for you?
Kimberly: Well, I wake up at 7 am, and I start the day. I look at customer service emails and follow up with the team. I look at all the orders that have come in and follow up with any issues. I’m also making sure Brittne gets up on time. We plan out our day as far as [social media] posts, what’s going to happen for the day and what our goals are for the rest of the day. What’s our goal for the week? Things like that.
I’m assuming you also find time to work out, too.
Oh yeah! I find time to and at least get in about 30 minutes of cardio because if I don’t, I’m really dragging throughout the day. It’s a combination of me trying to be healthy and make good food choices, but also run the business so that Brittne doesn’t have too much on her shoulders. It’s really just me and her running everything.
And y’all are doing the damn thing. It’s crazy how far you’ve gotten with just a two-woman team…
Brittne: That is insane.
What’s your proudest moment of Brittne so far, Mom?
Kimberly: My proudest moment…I mean, she makes me proud every day, to be honest. She’s constantly growing into a woman. She is used to me doing everything for her, but she is slowly doing things in her own way. She’s becoming more confident. The way that she’s been handling a lot of things, especially the backlash on social media. People would say things to her, and she used to go off and respond. The way she’s handling herself as a woman is pretty much what I’m proud of.
Aside from your monthly 21- Day Challenge, you also now have a fitness plan people can follow? Tell me more about that.
Brittne: Well, the plan is on Fit Plan. Tons of athletes who are popular on social media [are on the app]. My plan is called “No Excuses,” which is different because it’s all about using resources that are near. You don’t need a lot of equipment. All you need is a couch, a chair, a yoga mat, free weights, ankle weights, and resistance bands. You don’t really need much and you don’t need to depend on a gym. It launched a while ago actually, and a lot of people have been subscribing to it. The first trial is free for about seven days. People have been doing that, then sticking with it and making the monthly payments.
Before I met you, I took on your in-person boot camp called Brit Camp, which went down in NYC a while ago. You had a lot of familiar dance moves involved and people were still breaking a crazy sweat. Why not a hardcore workout session with 50 push-ups or crazy burpees?
My style of training is more so just about having fun. It’s not like we’re just going to do push-ups, burpees, and then we’re going to do squats. That’s just so boring. I like to make my workouts go with a beat, and make it more of a dance [class]. Have good songs, and good moves.
#BrittneBABE21DayChallenge Thanks to everyoneee who came to BrittCamp in NYC!!!🎀💪🏻💪🏽💪🏾👭👬 ____ Both classes were a blasttt and the energy was insane. Everyone took on the challenge and I appreciate you all! Couldn’t have done it without the help of @mzking_2u! ____ Check out my workout guides for fun, exciting moves that can be done in the comfort of your own home or outdoors! (link is in my bio) Can’t wait to share some exciting news with you guys very soon. 😉🎥 www.BrittneBabe.com/workoutguides/
So, of course, we’re on the Zumba cruise, a dance vacation. What advice do you give your clients when it comes to balancing their vacation with exercise?
I tell my clients that when they go on vacation, have a good time, but I don’t recommend going crazy and eating everything without working out. Everything you worked so hard for, throwing it down the drain, I never recommend that. I recommend people to at least take some sort of initiative on eating a healthy breakfast and eating something healthy for lunch and dinner. Have a snack. Have ice cream, but don’t throw everything that you worked so hard for out the window. Also, make time to workout a little bit. Go to the gym early in the morning or go out at night for dancing. Just have fun, make time for working out and eating right.
Yes, stay active. Drink water throughout the day. Have fun!
Earlier your mom mentioned how you come across negativity on social media. How do you handle that now?
It’s so funny because back then, if people said the wrong thing, I would delete their comments, but then more negative comments would still roll in. Eventually, it was just like, ‘What is that doing?’ It didn’t do anything. It just looked silly on my end. So now, after years and years, I look at these negative things and laugh to myself because it’s hilarious. You’ve already proven yourself. You work hard. People know who you are and what you’re about. And now, I have people who will comment back at these people for me. It’s like I don’t really have to [myself]. I know who I am and I know what I’ve done with my life, so I don’t really care about those little negative comments out of all the positive ones. I let people handle that themselves.
As it should be, as it should be.
Kimberly: I tell her, ‘Your response gives them power.’
Brittne: Yeah, your response gives them power, so no response from me.
Many ladies dream of having a nice rear and a six pack. What do you tell ladies who often ask how to have a figure like yours? What do you tell them? How do you handle that even?
Brittne: I have people saying they want to get a smaller waist, more abs, bigger butt, bigger thighs. And I tell them, you can’t just order what you want like a dollar menu or like a drive thru. You have to actually eat right, work out, and really make time. You have to have a healthy relationship with food. I also tell them that you can’t spot select where you want to do this and that because it’s impossible. My thing is, if you already have let’s say a square shaped waist or you’re just shaped one way, you can’t create this new shape. It doesn’t happen like that. You can enhance it by working out in certain areas. But I tell them, you’ve got to train. You have to make time for it and be realistic with your goals.
If you had a chance to have a celebrity as a client and you could choose any three, who would they be?
Beyoncé, her mom and her entire family. [smiles]
What guilt food would you have if you could eat it as much as you want?
I’m big on chocolate. I would have chocolate ice cream, brownies, chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and cheese. I love cheese. Chocolate, cheese, and carbs. The three Cs, I love it all.
What motivates you to work out? Because it’s hard to stay disciplined.
I’m not going to say that everyone loves waking up early in the morning to work out. No. I have my days when I don’t feel like working out. When I get to the gym and I’m working out, I feel motivated because that’s how I’ve always been. When I ran track, I would complain, but when I’m in there and when I’m on that field, I’m in my zone. I guess what also motivates me is the fact that it’s going to pay off soon.
Who’s on your workout playlist?
Here’s the thing about me. I love music in general. I love hip-hop, dance, pop, EDM, techno, and R&B. But I’m really big on pop, dance, and EDM, and techno the most. People don’t really know that, but I really am. But I would say The Chainsmokers is my favorite artist ever. “Closer,” “Don’t Let Me Down.” That’s kind of older, but I just love everything. Cash Cash. I love Cash Cash, and Steve Aiko.
What advice would you give ladies who are looking to take on the fitness industry?
Even when you feel like giving up sometimes, don’t give up. Because I’ve seen so many people who are actually in the industry, who were actually working in this direction years ago, and they all kind of gave up. They kind of lost focus and lost their touch. Keep going even when the negativity pours in or you feel like nothing’s happening your way. Later on, it may pay off. It will pay off.
What’s next for you?
There are some new things in the works. Britt Camp is going to be a subscription-based program where subscribers get workouts, meal ideas and cool videos. They’ll get more insight into my personal life and receive more weekly tips. There’s going to be a lot of content involved. I also sell swimsuits. I’ll be releasing more swimsuits styles weekly and monthly.
Three words to describe the Zumba cruise?
Three words to describe the Zumba cruise: fun, different, and…
Brittne: Yes, colorful.