Briana Hamilton, 32, has been playing sports since she could walk. She developed an affinity for softball, played throughout high school, and went on to play as a D-1 athlete for the Florida State Seminoles. Post-college, she enjoyed a professional softball career with the National Pro Fastpitch league, traveling across the U.S. and Italy playing professional softball.
Briana also participated in CrossFit during high school and throughout her softball career. However, she really got involved in the community once she wrapped up her softball career, competing in the CrossFit Games and GRID league, a professional athletics organization consisting of mixed-gender teams that operated from 2014 through 2016.
Briana is an athlete to her core. However, her idea of fitness and being in shape has evolved over the last few years.
One of Briana’s most daring fitness undertakings was training for and competing in the CrossFit Games in 2018. Athletes compete in a series of events at the Games that involve a mix of metabolic conditioning exercises, weightlifting, and gymnastics movements, as well as a range of activities from other sports, such as swimming and cycling.
While gearing up for this intense competition, Briana was training for six to seven hours a day, putting herself through grueling workouts and doing what she had to do to be in the best shape possible.
“I remember being in Barcelona and realizing that I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do,” she recalls. “I couldn’t even drink a beer because I was so obsessed with getting my workouts in and being in peak physical shape.”
Her CrossFit Games team was sponsored by WHOOP, the wearable fitness tracker brand, which didn’t help Briana’s unhealthy relationship with exercise. She describes feeling attached to the band and realizing that her idea of fitness had gotten warped and toxic.
Now, she’s just focused on enjoying moving her body and expanding her horizons.
“I’ve grown and leveled up my fitness by thinking outside the box.”
“I used to think CrossFit was the end all be all, and now I realize that moving the body is what matters,” Briana says. “I’ve grown and leveled up my fitness by thinking outside the box.”
Briana is focused on incorporating 30 to 60 minutes a day of movement and has discovered a newfound love for yoga. In the spirit of broadening her horizons, she’s also pushed herself to start running, even though it’s not a workout she particularly enjoys. She’s found that working hard at something she doesn’t like doing is a great way to learn more about herself.
“I’m trying to evolve as a whole, and I find that the best way for me to level up is through fitness,” Briana says.
While she’s not currently training for any race or event in particular, Briana knows one thing is certain about her fitness future: she will keep pushing herself outside of her comfort zone.
One challenge on her radar is the 4x4x48 challenge, a running endeavor that involves running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. So that’s four miles, 12 times, over a 48-hour period, and 48 miles total. She muses that she may even run a 100-miler or compete in an Ironman.
“I want to do the things that scare me the most,” she says with a laugh.
By Lucy Modzelewski
Photo by Tindall Stephens