Welcome to Busy Bodies, where we ask busy Washingtonians how they balance health and fitness while working crazy hours, raising a family, and meeting the demands of the daily hustle. Know someone who’s killing the fitness game while getting it done (maybe it’s you)? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fox News anchor Shannon Bream is busy. The 49-year-old Arlington resident and host of Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream often works until midnight—that is, if news isn’t breaking. She’s found that prioritizing her mental and physical health helps manage the stress of being a political journalist in 2020, especially when she’s working an unpredictable schedule. “[But] I never count the hours because I truly love what I do,” she says. “It feels like a privilege every day.”
Here’s how she gets it done.
“I have an unconventional schedule because of the hours that I work. The great thing is I’m a night owl. Because I get to bed around 2 AM, I’m usually up between 9 AM and 10 AM. I’m in [the studio] around 3 PM and out shortly after midnight. That’s on paper. But there are plenty of days I’m in early because I also cover the Supreme Court and arguments start at 10 AM. We also have extended political and impeachment coverage. When news breaks at night, we’ll go live until 1 AM, as well.
“I’m not a big breakfast person, but I try to eat a little something on the mornings I’m going to work out. I’m much hungrier after I’ve woken up and worked out. Lunch is usually pretty simple—a piece of prairie bread toast and a single egg. Sometimes I’ll add a decaf latte with soy creamer. I’m pretty religious about drinking between 60-to-70 ounces of water a day. I carry a big, refillable water bottle that I try to get through at least twice a day. I also like to make smoothies with spinach, bananas, almond milk, and a bit of protein powder. I’ll generally have a smaller meal between 4-to-5 PM and another around 8 PM.
“Though I’m not much of a cook, I’m grateful my husband Sheldon is. He’ll often make meals I can take with me—usually a meat and a veggie. My last meal is pretty light, soup or salad. I don’t eat after the show because I don’t sleep well on a full stomach.
“Two days a week my husband and I work out with a fantastic trainer Joe Smackum. He kills us with all kinds of weights, cardio, and core. A couple of additional days a week, I like to get out on the trails for cardio. We also have a new puppy, Biscuit, so there are lots of walks. When we have more time with her on weekends, we try to do longer hikes and wear her out.
“When I’m working out and eating healthily, it’s easier to manage the stresses and schedule demands that are a reality in media. If I can go out for a run, it clears my head and lessens my anxiety. When I’m constantly traveling, sleeping when I can, and eating on the road, I don’t feel my best. Routine is important to me and keeps me mentally and physically healthy. I try to stay disciplined about that on the road and have much more energy when I do. It helps to have my husband as a workout partner. He’s a lifelong athlete, and he’s rubbed off on me. Though I’m missing the natural athletic talent part!
“Running the Pittsburgh Marathon stretched every single limit I thought I had. Months of training, running in all kinds of conditions, and overcoming exhaustion and injuries teaches you a lot. Honestly, come race day, nothing short of two broken legs would have stopped me from crossing that finish line.
“I think we’re all our own worst critics. I know my problem areas, and I’ve wasted valuable time obsessing over them. The older I get, I’ve moved beyond seeing thinness as the only goal. I’ve put my body through some unnecessary and harmful things in that pursuit. Now I’m much more about feeding myself for energy and working to build lean muscle and keep my head clear.
“For me, the biggest component is my spiritual health. That comes every morning before my workouts and the rest of the day’s demands. If I can pray, read my Bible, and journal, I’m in the best possible place to tackle whatever shows up. You can’t do everything all the time. You have to tackle what’s truly important (not just urgent) first and learn to prioritize from there. I also come from a place of gratefulness. I’m blessed beyond measure, and I don’t forget it.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.