How This Woman Took Control Of Her Life After Her Husband Was KIA

Brittney Hogan, founder of the apparel line Virago Fitness, used exercise as a constructive outlet for grief, and in doing so, she made fitness part of her daily life.

When she was just 21, her husband Hunter — a Marine — was killed in Afghanistan. In order to deal with his death, Hogan found herself making fitness a part of her everyday routine, and encourages others to do the same.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Hogan told us her secrets to making exercise a part of your daily routine.

“Fitness completely changed my life,” she said. “I needed something that would take my mind off of what I was going through, but also a way to clear my head and get a better perspective on life. I found all of those things in fitness.”

According to her, a lot of people look for fitness inspiration on sites like Pinterest or Instagram, and it can be really overwhelming for beginners.

“It’s really hard to get started if you’ve never done anything before,” she said. “I know people who have never run before, they’re extremely overweight, and they look at these workouts and say ‘I could never do that.’”

For people looking to make fitness a part of their routine, she advised just committing to doing what you can day by day.

“I think the best advice is just to start off small,” she added.

Related: How a Gold Star wife channeled grief into something meaningful »

Hogan suggested that beginners can start just by walking around once a day for 30 minutes, then working up to two and three times a day as they feel up to it.

Improvement is incremental, she said, adding, “As long as you’re making steps … and doing a little more than you just did, then it’s going to be easier for you to work up to something bigger.”

Committing to a workout every day is one of the greater challenges, Hogan said. But once you decide to make it a part of your routine, it will start to feel more natural.

“Once it starts to get easier, once it starts to make you feel good, you’re going to get excited about it,” she said.

When you get comfortable working out, you can start to change up the routine to keep things interesting. In order to be more well rounded, Hogan alternates between running, kickboxing, yoga, and weightlifting.

“I try not to do the same thing every day,” she said.