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Life Isn’t A Short Race: An Interview With Actress Brytni Sarpy

Photo by Tiziano Lugli

Brytni Sarpy is not a doctor, but she plays one on TV portraying Dr. Elena Dawson on the CBS daytime drama, ‘The Young and the Restless.’  The 32 years old actress was born in Southern California and knew as far back as high school, when she played one of the witches in ‘Macbeth,’ that she wanted to be an actress.  Daytime fans may also recognize her as the former Valerie Spencer on ABC’s, ‘General Hospital.’ You may have seen her in commercials for Lay’s Potato Chips or in many appearances in athletic print model advertisements.  Soon you will also be able to catch Brytni in a recurring role on the upcoming season of the OWN network’s ‘The Haves and the Have Nots.’ While she may not be a doctor, Brytni is a health and fitness enthusiast and former personal trainer.  Sitting down to chat with Brytni, it doesn’t take long for her infectious enthusiasm to show why she is an inspirational fan favorite!   

What is your background in fitness?

I have always been an active person.  I ran track in high school and am a trained dancer. I was also a NCEP certified personal trainer.  My last “day job” was as a trainer with Equinox Fitness. It was a wonderful experience to be able to share my passion for fitness with my clients and if I could continue to train while being an actress I would.  Seeing first-hand the difference you can make in a person’s wellness journey was extremely gratifying. 

Do you have a mantra or motto that inspires you?

One of my favorite expressions is, “To whom much is given, much is required.”  I try to be grateful for the blessings that I have been given in my life and remain mindful that sometimes big struggles can lead to big triumphs. 

Full interview is continued on next page

Photo by Raen Badua

What keeps you motivated to stay active?

I am extremely self-motivated by the benefits that staying fit and strong brings to my life.  I find working out and being active a great stress reliever, mood booster and fun! I genuinely enjoy being active and pushing my physicality to its limits.    

What is a typical workout like for you?

My fitness routines are constantly evolving.  One constant is that I prefer to do things that use multiple muscle groups.  I have long been a fan of interval training. For the past two years, I have been taking two to three yoga classes per week and working at advancing my yoga practice skills.  Living in Los Angeles, I take full advantage of the great hiking opportunities and make hikes a mainstay of my cardio workouts. I was also able to call on my high school track team skills, when I participated in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon raising money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ pediatric cancer department, by doing the running portion of the event. 

Do you have a training partner?

I don’t have one person in particular in terms of a training partner.  As I mentioned, I have been enjoying my yoga practice, so as that tends to be in a class setting, I do feel a strong sense of belonging to my yoga community.  My boyfriend, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton, The Young and the Restless) and I frequently go on long hikes together. We love hiking in the mornings to enjoy some time together, enjoy the beautiful views and catch some spectacular sunrises!

Photo Credit: Jim Warren

What are a few of your favorite wellness tips?

  1.  Whatever your water intake is currently, double it!  It is still a challenge for me to drink enough water every day and it is advice I gave my own clients as a trainer.  I suggest trying to get in two glasses of water before your feet even hit the floor in the morning and then aim for a full glass before each meal. This will go a long way in helping to get in the recommended amount of water we should be having each day. 
  2. Don’t question whether to do your workouts.  Literally, “Just do it!” You have your body for life, and while there will be ebbs and flows, take care of yourself for the long term, not just trying the latest fad or a quick fix here and there.
  3. Make your workouts fun!  If you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing to be active, find something else.  You won’t stick with something you don’t enjoy.

What is a common mistake you would tell others to avoid?

Don’t get caught up solely in the numbers!  Your goals shouldn’t be set in terms of a number on the scale.  Gaining muscle mass is so important and isn’t a factor that can be gauged by your weight on the scale!

What does a typical daily meal plan look like for you?

I am very grateful to have access to some great local farmers markets in my area, and typically try to plan my meals around what is fresh and seasonal. I’m a pescatarian and have avoided red meats, pork and chicken since I was sixteen years old.  This was a decision based on how eating meat makes me feel, and I found I would typically feel very sluggish whenever I would eat meat. Presently, avocado toast made with fresh multigrain bread is a favorite choice of mine for breakfast. For lunch, I enjoy mixing my salads (butter lettuce is a current favorite staple in my salads!) with warm items, like warm purple potatoes, and drizzling them with homemade dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice and cilantro.   Dinner is often a fish or shellfish choice, along with some veggies. I also enjoy Banza Chickpea Pasta, fresh pasta from the farmers market, couscous or sushi rice from the local Asian market.

Photo Credit: New Balance shoot for Susan G. Komen: Lace up for the Cure Campaign 

What’s your advice on how to bounce back from a set back?

Don’t be so hard on yourself when you experience a misstep while pursuing your goals.  Life isn’t a short race! Be realistic in your expectations but be persistent in getting back up after a stumble!

With a busy acting career, how are you able to balance your work and fitness schedules?

I believe you make the time for what is important to you.  Taking care of myself in terms of health and wellness is a priority for me so I am mindful to carve out the time to include some fitness.  I am typically able to fit in my two or three yoga classes per week in the morning. If I’m having an especially busy day, and I only have fifteen or twenty minutes when I first wake up or before I have to go to bed, then I use that time to get in a walk or quick interval training workout.  I try to be mindful of my body all day long by engaging my core when I am walking or doing my day to day tasks. I always try to use the stairs whenever possible and if I’m traveling, I take advantage of exploring the local sites on foot whenever possible. 

What is something about you that would surprise people to learn?

I’ve always adored Elmo and can do a great Elmo impersonation! 

What is a favorite splurge?

Donuts are a favorite of mine for atreat.  SK Donuts in Los Angeles is a favorite splurge stop and the old-fashioned blueberry donut is one of my favorites. 

You can follow Brytni Sarpy on Instagram at @Brytni, on Twitter at @_Brytni and on her website at

About the author:  Charlene Bazarian is a fitness and weight loss success story after losing 96 pounds. She mixes her no-nonsense style of fitness advice with humor on her blog at and on Facebook at FBJ Fit.

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