Photo: Courtesy of Brienne Pedigo-Christopher
Brie grew up singing, dancing and performing. She was bitten with the theater bug at a young age and went on to star in several musicals including Maurice Sendack’s “Really Rosie” at the Civic Theatre Mainstage in Indianapolis playing a little girl named Rosie who dreams of becoming a Hollywood star.
It comes as no surprise that Brie and fellow dancers from the Dance Refinery’s dance team won first-place at an International Jazz Dance Competition in Freiberg, Germany. She later went on to study at NYU while continuing to sing, dance and act in addition to beginning her career as a pit reporter.
Brie quickly become a household name after appearing on the third season of Celebrity Wife Swap alongside her husband actor Tyler Christopher. Tyler is best known for his role as Nikolas Cassadine on the ABC soap General Hospital.
The Christopher family recently relocated from sunny Southern California to Brie’s home state of Indiana to launch PurposeFit LIVE
Sharon Beard: How far back does your love of fitness and dance go?
Brienne Christopher: I honestly don’t remember life before dance. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve ballet slippers and tap shoes. Even though I don’t dance nearly as much as I did when I was younger, my love for it has never changed. I incorporate dance into my fitness career intentionally, not only does it allow me my dance “fix” but when people are dancing they often forget that they’re exercising…and frankly it just makes everything more fun.
Sharon: Can you tell us about your educational background and what certifications you have?
Brienne: I graduated Cum Laude from NYU with degrees in theater and journalism, and before my first child was born I actually worked for ESPN/ABC as an IndyCar reporter. I got my first Pilates certification in 2005, and my first Barre certification a few years later. In 2014 I received my Master Trainer Certifications from Pilates Sports Center in both Barre and Pilates, which means that now I run teacher training programs around the country.
Sharon: How did you first discover Pilates and Barre, and why do you love it?
Brienne: My best friend, who is also a professional dancer, and I decided to get certified to teach Pilates back in 2005. We both loved the practice of Pilates, and as dancers we quickly understood the benefits of it. Barre was a natural next step for me. The two forms of exercise really work well together. I personally love the physical challenge of Pilates and Barre work. They are very similar to ballet in that from all outward appearances they look pretty and simple…but when you actually get into class you discover just how difficult it can be. I love that I am able to build incredible strength, stamina and flexibility without the bulk I often get from weight training.
Sharon: Can you tell us what exactly Pilates and Barre are and how they transform your body?
Brienne: Pilates is an amazing form of exercise designed to create long and lean muscles. Often used by dancers and athletes, Pilates is a wonderful tool to increase flexibility, strength and stamina. It can also be used as a form of rehabilitation. Using the principles of Joseph Pilates, this work can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels and performs; in fact, Pilates himself used to say “In 10 sessions you will feel a difference, in 20 sessions you will see a difference and in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body.”
Sharon: Date PurposeFit LIVE launched?
Brienne: PurposeFit LIVE officially launched March 1st 2017. We are already in three countries and growing in membership everyday.
Sharon: How did the name PurposeFit LIVE come about?
Brienne: I knew the name of my fitness ministry immediately. Because this was born out of my quest to serve God’s calling or purpose in my life I knew it would be called PurposeFit. My goal is to build a community of women who are passionately chasing after Jesus and His “purpose” for their lives.
Sharon: What inspired you to open PurposeFit LIVE?
Brienne: About three years ago I was on a mission to figure out God’s purpose for my life. I prayed, I read the Bible, and I prayed…a lot, and after some time it became clear to me that God had placed a fitness ministry on my heart.
Sharon: How long have you been teaching Pilates and Barre?
Brienne: I have been teaching Pilates since 2005 and Barre since 2011.
Sharon: What services does PurposeFit LIVE offer?
Brienne: Right now Studio You Yoga is the home of PurposeFit LIVE and my Pilates program as well. The studio offers a variety of yoga classes, Barre, Pilates and massage. For my personal business, I offer Pilates Training (groups, semi-private & private classes), Barre, PurposeFit LIVE, and nutrition counseling.
The PurposeFit LIVE schedule ( for anyone interested in joining our online community ) is:
Monday 9:00 am Barre
Wednesday 9:00 am Prayer & Pilates ( a Pilates mat class)
Friday 9:00 am Barre
Saturday 10:30 am Arms, Abs & Booty ( 30 min toning class)
* All times EST
Each PurposeFit LIVE class remains up on the website until the next one replaces it. You can access all of our previous workouts as well.
Sharon: What does a regular day for you at the studio look like?
Brienne: My first class typically starts at 8:00 am, but I am usually up way before that. My alarm goes off at 5:00 every morning which at first was crazy hard for me, but I have learned that being disciplined about my morning routine helps me to be more productive. I have my morning quiet time, reading the Bible and journaling all of my prayers, and then I get my son off to school and head to the studio.
Sharon: What’s your favorite part about owning your own business?
Brienne: My favorite part about owning my own fitness business is being able to have a personal relationship with all of my clients and members. I love being able to plan for the future of this ministry and this business. The creative part of building a global fitness ministry is so much fun for me.
Sharon: What sets PurposeFit LIVE apart from other workout programs?
Brienne: PurposeFit is different than most fitness studios. First off we strongly emphasize the “faith” component to all we do. When people ask me what PurposeFit LIVE class is like I always respond “We Pray, We Sweat, We Pray” The other thing that makes PurposeFit unique is that all of our PurposeFit live classes are streamed to our website for our members. So people can come workout in person with me in the studio or workout with us from their own living room whenever their schedule allows.
Sharon: Who would you like to thank for helping you achieve your goals?
Brienne: I have so many people to thank for helping me achieve my goals. First, I would obviously have to thank God for placing this desire in my heart and for revealing his plans to me. I have also had a tribe of women praying with me and for me for the last three years…these are my “prayer warriors” and I know that their prayers have had an impact on this ministry. I would also thank Michelle Myers and Somer Phoebus, two women who I call my mentors, who have really helped me shape this ministry and fine tune the mission of PurposeFit.
Sharon: What role has your faith had in reaching your goals?
Brienne: My faith has played a huge part in helping me reach my goals. I knew I was on the right track with this ministry when all of a sudden my drive matched my desire. My willingness to work hard was equal to my desire to make this happen. I believe that since my work has a bigger purpose than just my own success it drives me that much more to make it happen. My faith has given me the dream and desire for this fitness ministry and it has also given me the ability and hope to stay the course when the road gets rough.
Sharon: Do you miss Southern California?
Brienne: I definitely miss the beach. We were blessed to live in Malibu for about four years, and I think I will always miss Malibu. Who knows, maybe one day I will end up back there.
Sharon: When you’re not in the gym what do you enjoy doing?
Brienne: When I’m not in the gym I really just enjoy the simple stuff like spending time with my family. I love going on walks with my kids and having family dinners.
Sharon: How do you juggle work and motherhood now that PurposeFit has launched?
Brienne: It’s not always easy to juggle mom life and studio life. I just try to plan ahead as much as I can- that helps me not to stress out so much. I also just remind myself to take things as they come. I don’t like the word “balance” because it implies perfection or everything being perfectly even all the time. “Juggling” is a much better metaphor for life as a working mom. You have to be able to switch your attention to whichever “ball” is in the air at that particular moment.
Sharon: What does healthy eating mean to you and your family?
Brienne: Healthy eating is super important to our family. It can be challenging with little kids, so we sometimes have to get creative. We make protein pancakes for them for breakfast and amazingly enough they both really enjoy “green juice.” For me healthy eating only works if I plan ahead. My life is super busy, so if I don’t plan ahead I know I will make the mistake of grabbing whatever is available and that never ends well…a girl can only eat so many protein bars.
Sharon: How long did you teach Pilates in California?
Brienne: I taught Pilates all over Southern California for 11 years.
Sharon: What exercise program would you recommend to someone who is new to working out?
Brienne: If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey I would suggest starting small. Often we make big plans to “workout everyday” or eat perfectly and those types of goals are just not realistic for anyone. If you give yourself small attainable goals you’re much more likely to stick with it. Maybe you start by committing to walk for 15 minutes three to five times per week. Eventually you will find more motivation to push for seven days a week or maybe 30 minutes. Of course, you could always join our PurposeFit LIVE community. We have people of all ages and abilities and you can scale each workout to fit your needs.
Sharon: What can people do to avoid injuries?
Brienne: To avoid injuries I would suggest not over doing it in the beginning. You need to listen to your body. The other thing that is often overlooked is stretching. Stretching is super important when it comes to injury prevention.
Sharon: On the beach, what was a normal workout routine for you?
Brienne: I loved being able to workout on the beach in Malibu. Nothing works your legs like running in sand.
Sharon: Any fitness tips to share with us?
Brienne: One of my favorite ab exercises is a simple forearm plank. It’s something you can do everyday and it is excellent for your core. Start by just trying to hold the plank for 20-30 seconds… you will find that you build strength and stamina really quickly with planks so each week you can increase your time eventually working up to around two minutes.
Sharon: What is Powerhouse?
Brienne: Powerhouse is another term for your core-the idea being that your “core” is where all of your strength comes from i.e. it’s your “powerhouse.”
Sharon: Any tips for an aspiring Pilates instructor?
Brienne: If you’re interested in a career in Pilates I would suggest taking as many classes as you can from all different teachers. Find yourself an accredited reputable training center and build personal relationships with your teachers, trainers, and home studio.
Sharon: Anything else to add?
Brienne: I am so excited for the future of PurposeFit Ministries and PurposeFit LIVE. I am planning to hold our first Faith & Fitness retreat this year, and the goal is to make those retreats a much bigger part of the PurposeFit experience. We are about to begin our first group Bible study with our online community and I am super excited for that too.