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The Secret To Living Well? “Stop Thinking and Start Learning,” Says Breathwork Instructor Brooke Burke — Here’s How

At 51, Burke wants to inspire mature women as best she can.

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Brooke Burke has an altruistic goal: She wants to help women look and feel their best through workouts and mindfulness. A TV personality who’s hosted shows like Dancing With the Stars, She’s Got the Look, and Wild On!, Burke has long relied on fitness and breathwork to keep her in top form. Currently, her focus is on wellness; specifically, approaching it from many different angles. Among these are her Brooke Burke Body fitness program and app; her line of superfood powders; and a partnership with the supplement brand Tru Niagen. (I’m tired just thinking about all of this!)

We spoke to Burke and asked for her tips to stay grounded, happy, and healthy. Here’s what she had to say.

On Creating a Thriving Fitness Community

With nearly 500,000 Instagram followers, it’d be easy to call Burke an “influencer” — but when it comes to fitness, she has a different moniker in mind. “I like to call myself an encourager,” she says. “I don’t use the phrase ‘fitness expert,’ because I’m doing what I love.” This approachable attitude is part of what attracts women to her fitness programs. “I created BB Body so that I could connect with women,” she says. “I didn’t know that it was going to become a business.”

Burke has been in the spotlight since the early ’90s when she got her start as a model. Even though she didn’t begin her career in the fitness industry, she’s embraced an evolving relationship with exercise through decades in the public eye. She always enjoyed fitness, but says she “works out more efficiently now” than she did when she was younger; she’s “learned how to train [her] body” over the years.

At 51, Burke wants to inspire mature women as best she can. “I’m going through menopause, I’m dealing with all the things that Mother Nature has knocking on our door,” she laughs. She feels it’s important to work with women in her same demographic to “really create energy and develop self-confidence.” Brooke also advocates for taking time off to “learn how to give to ourselves as women and mothers as much as we give to everyone else.”

On Keeping Her Family Active

Burke has three daughters and a son, and applies her principles of wellness to her family life. Still, it’s hard to get her kids to engage. “They don’t think it’s that cool, because I’m their mom,” she admits. But Burke makes sure to keep fitness and healthy eating a part of her kids’ lifestyles. While they may not always want to work out with mom, she tries to create opportunities for them “to realize the value of fitness.”

“It’s not just about getting in shape,” she explains. “It’s about relieving stress, creating energy, and connecting.” Burke employs a smart tactic by encouraging exercise that applies directly to her kids’ interests; for example, she’s teaching her son, a freshman on his high school football team, how to properly stretch. She also prompts her family to practice mindfulness whenever they can, proving that you don’t need a professional class to practice healthy living. Although they’re used to seeing mom create content and guide classes, Burke points out that fitness can also mean simply walking outside or bouncing on a trampoline. It doesn’t have to be dull or painful to be good for you!

On Relieving Stress Through Breathwork

Burke is a champion of breathwork, or the practice of using a mindful approach to breathing. According to WebMD, breathwork can help calm anxiety and bring balance to the body. “Breathwork is trendy right now, but it’s not new,” the site explains. “People have been practicing breathwork for thousands of years, and it has roots in yoga practice. The basic idea of breathwork is to release toxins and stress when you breathe out and nourish your mind and body when you breathe in.”

Burke got certified as a breathwork instructor because “it really changed my life,” she shares. “It helps me manage stress and release some things in my body that don’t necessarily feel good.” Burke believes slowing down and being in the moment can be transformative. She doesn’t see BB Body and all the exercise videos it provides as focused solely on revving up and burning calories — it also emphasizes mindfulness and helps to empower women.

There are many different variations on breathwork, but the one Burke practices is a “kind of meditation,” she explains. Her personal preference is a breathwork style that’s “very soulful.” In a fast-paced world, this offers a moment of respite: “It’s an opportunity to lay down, to be still, to shut off your brain a little bit, to focus on the breath, and to just tap inside, to go inward,” as she puts it. Burke herself usually devotes 30 to 60 minutes a day practicing breathwork (though you can do it for shorter periods of time). She calls the process “a beautiful time of self-discovery” that allows her to “stop thinking and start learning.”

While Burke acknowledges that it can be difficult to stop yourself from thinking — and that engaging in a meditative practice can be especially hard at first — she highly recommends it. No matter what form of mindfulness you practice, “it’s really important to just allow ourselves to do whatever it takes to find some stillness and recover,” she says.

On Staying Positive

It’s admittedly easy to get discouraged in our fitness practices — the movements are too difficult, we don’t lose weight quickly enough, we feel exhausted — but Burke believes that how you mentally perceive a workout is just as meaningful as the physical aspect. “It’s amazing what happens when you change the way you approach something in your perspective to fitness,” she says enthusiastically. So, celebrate the little wins along your fitness journey — or, if you’re just starting out, lean into exercise with an open mind.

“Even with holding a pose, it’s how you shift into it,” Burke claims. Meaning, if you go into a pose (or workout routine or exercise class) expecting to fail, you might end up with shaky balance; instead, try maintaining a positive attitude and work your way up. Burke provides an example from her own life: “I’m actually really proud that I’m doing minute-and-a-half to two-minute planks,” she says. “I never could do that before.”

These moments of accomplishment are what keep her going, both on a personal level and in helping other women to find their strength. “I get so much out of what I give teaching,” she says; and clearly, the women who exercise with Burke are getting a lot out of it, too.

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