The 'General Hospital' actress—and former Equinox trainer—on stretching, donuts, and her fitness ‘aha’ moment.
After working as an Equinox trainer in Los Angeles, Brytni Sarpy recently landed the role of Valerie Spencer on ABC’s long-running soap General Hospital. As a former high school track star and dancer, Sarpy is no stranger to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the face of a tightly-packed schedule—which is good, since she has big plans for the future (“I’d love to be a spokesperson for younger women and health,” she says). Here, the newly anointed soap star dishes about her killer ab routine, her favorite sushi joint, and more:
What advice did typically give clients as an Equinox trainer?
A fun thing I like to implement, that’s a little different from what everyone else does, is a lot of plyometrics. Stretching is also a big part of my routine, and that’s something that I would recommend to everyone. There aren’t many people who overstretch—I think I might be one of them—but I think stretching is a great base, and it makes it a lot easier to build muscle and prevent injury. I would say that’s my forté.
How has your workout schedule changed now that you’re on General Hospital?
It’s definitely been a reconfiguration of things as far as having the time goes, since I have a little more of a Monday through Friday schedule now. I don’t do as many classes; before, I was getting into a lot of Animal Flow and VIPR work, and just kind of expanding my base. But I still get in my cardio and my stretching. And I have a pretty killer ab and butt routine.
Favorite moves from that routine?
Some of what I do is similar to Bar Method training. I like to do leg raises that go straight back, standing in first and second positions. I usually do about three sets of 16 reps, first against the barre, and then without holding the barre. For abs, I use the Jacobs Ladder to work my core in a different way. It runs the full extent of your abdominal muscles, from bottom to top, and you’re not just sitting on your back doing crunches all day.
Let’s talk diet.
I’ve been a pescetarian for going on 12 years now. For me, it was all about what my body was telling me. It was very hard for me to break down heavier meats like chicken and beef; it made me tired and took my body a while to process those foods. By process of elimination, I started cutting out things that had made me feel icky when I was younger.
What’s your favorite healthy fish dish?
I am kind of in love with sushi; I probably eat it three to four times a week. I eat at Sugarfish a lot. It’s important to go to a place where they’re receptive to what’s going on with mercury, especially for women who are at the childbearing age.
Any favorite unhealthy meals?
I love donuts. I can’t cut those out.
Have you ever received fitness advice from someone else that’s really stuck with you?
One thing I’ve learned recently from some of our coaches over at Equinox in West LA is not to overstretch. As a dancer, I naturally stretch a lot, so it’s something I would’ve never realized. You don’t really attribute stretching to causing injury, but I have a couple of socket issues in my hip because I’m hyperextended, and overstretching actually exacerbates that. So that’s been my biggest ‘aha’ moment.
What’s next for you? Anything you want to check off your bucket list?
I’d love be a spokesperson, promoting eating correctly—especially for girls who don’t have a prior understanding of things like nutrition. It should be taught in all of our homes and schools, but I feel like it falls short. Reaching those underprivileged schools and people who aren’t getting the right education is important.