On Sundays, We Walk: Fitness Influencer Shares Her Weekly Routine

How Brianna Joye, founder of City Girls Who Walk, gears up for her local walking club turned worldwide phenomenon.
On Sundays, We Walk: Fitness Influencer Shares Her Weekly Routine
Brianna Joye, founder of City Girls Who Walk and Brianna Joye Fitness, photographed in Central Park, New York. (Samira Bouaou)

In March 2022, Brianna Joye was feeling lonely and isolated at home in New York. Her girlfriends had moved out of the city during the pandemic, and she missed their walks and coffee dates. The professional dancer turned fitness trainer decided to take a chance: She asked her 1 million followers on TikTok if anyone wanted to maybe go for a Sunday morning walk with her in Central Park.

“I was really nervous. I expected maybe 10 people to respond,” Ms. Joye said. More than 200 girls showed up. “We walked for about 40 minutes, and then I decided to do this every single Sunday.”

Propelled by social media, “City Girls Who Walk” has now snowballed into a massive movement with spin-off groups in more than 200 cities worldwide. The premise is the same, and simple: Women, of all ages, get together weekly to walk and talk.

Many of them come as strangers and leave as friends. “I started to hear more and more stories of the girls meeting new friends, and saying that they now have group chats with 10 to 15 girls, and they’re going to each other’s houses on Fridays and Saturdays, or inviting each other home for the holidays,” Ms. Joye said. “It’s been really rewarding to see [them] connecting.”

New York’s “City Girls Who Walk” have never missed a Sunday, Ms. Joye said—rain or shine, thunder or sleet, muddy, soaked shoes and all. She still marvels at the movement’s impact. “I just hoped to make a few new friends and have somebody to walk with on a Sunday morning.”

(Samira Bouaou)
(Samira Bouaou)

My Sunday Routine

8:30 a.m.: Wake up and make coffee. I love bagels on Sundays. There’s a cute coffee shop right underneath my building, so I’ll go there and pick up a pastry. I’ll relax on the couch with my husband while we drink our coffee and eat our breakfast.
10:30 a.m.: Start getting ready. I use Peter Thomas Roth moisturizer, and I love U Beauty’s serum and hydrating cream. I’ve really noticed a change in my skin since I started; I use it every day.

For my outfit, I’ll put on my favorite Aerie Crossover leggings; they’re so comfortable and such good walking leggings. I’ll wear a tank top or a long-sleeved shirt that is lightweight and comfortable. I always wear a black vest that I got from Amazon—it’s my go-to—and a fanny pack around my waist.

11:20 a.m.: Leave for the walk. I take a car. Sunday is a day when I could spend all day inside my apartment—it’s so easy to get cozy and just stay on the couch—so having this routine, knowing that I have this outlet to walk and relieve any stress and talk to other girls, has been so helpful. I’m excited when I head out.
12 p.m.: Start the walk. I get up on a bench and thank everyone for coming, tell them about the route, and tell them to please try to make new friends, and if you came with someone, please try to branch out and talk to someone new. Sometimes I have a megaphone.

We walk a different route every single time. I have no plan; it’s kind of fun to see where we’ll go this time. Central Park is so big that any way you go is so pretty and scenic. I tend to walk fast, and the girls who walk fast will be in the front with me, and those who want to stroll will be in the back. Everybody gets to walk at their own pace. The group is so big that there’s always somebody in front of you so you can find your way.

At the end of the walk, I’ll stay for about 20 more minutes and talk to people about what this walk meant to them, maybe they want to tell me some stories about who they met. I see a lot of the girls exchanging numbers.

1 p.m.: Take a car home. I’ll get Sweetgreen for our lunch. After lunch, I’ll start posting some of the photos that we took on the walk [on Instagram], reposting stories, and answering comments.

Depending on how I feel, I’ll do a 10- to 20-minute YouTube workout. I like to do low-impact workouts from my own home, and just do whatever my body is craving that day. I rest for the rest of the day.

6 p.m.: In the evening, my husband and I will watch shows. I’ll put on something comfy. We usually have sushi.

For my nighttime routine, I use a melt-away cleanser, Elemis cleansing balm, my serum, a hydrating mist, moisturizer, and lip oil. Next, I’ll do anything I need for the week coming up. I have a YouTube channel, so I schedule out what day I’m going to do my ab workout video, my arm workout, and so on. I’m a very visual person, so I have to have everything written down.

9 or 10 p.m.: Go to bed early to get ready for the week. I like to read before falling asleep.
This article was originally published in American Essence magazine.
Hazel Atkins loved teaching English literature to undergraduate students at the University of Ottawa before becoming a stay-at-home mom, enthusiastic gardener, and freelance writer.
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