Hannah Bronfman, HBFIT founder, talks Instagram fame, new video series with PopSugar

When you post a photo of your avocado toast on Instagram, you’re lucky if you get 20 likes. When Hannah Bronfman does it, she gets more than 5,700.

The 28-year-old native New Yorker has multiple high-profile gigs — she’s a model, DJ and founder of the website HBFIT, which covers health, beauty and fitness. She’s grown enough of an online audience (with 300,000 Instagram followers) that she’s one of the female faces of adidas.

Her latest project, a new video series with lifestyle website PopSugar, Hannahgram, that launched earlier this month, explores the latest trends in fitness, as well as lifestyle, food and fashion. The first two episodes focused on athleisure and bouldering — with a visit to Brooklyn Boulders’ Long Island City location — and the latest, scheduled to be released March 16, explores women in boxing.

amNewYork spoke with Bronfman about building her fitness brand.


How did you start using Instagram for your fitness journey?

I started using Instagram maybe four years ago. I always used it in the same way, which was to showcase my lifestyle. I don’t think when I started doing it that I realized how big the platform was going to be, and I wasn’t thinking of it from a brand perspective. Then I started showing workouts and healthy things I was eating and started using the hashtag HBFIT. HBFIT kind of got to be a sticky thing. I’d go out at night and people would call me HBFIT, and my friends were asking me for workout tips — the conversation had really shifted. That’s when I founded HBFIT the online platform — health and beauty and fitness.


Has anything changed since you started using Instagram? What do you like to share?

I’m trying to do a little more video instead of just doing photos. I think video is really engaging.


What use do you see your posts serving?

Mostly I do it for motivation. I’m not necessarily saying, “Do this and achieve that,” it’s more like, this is what I do, I do it because I like to do it and it helps me have a positive mind-body connection, and I encourage you to do the same.


Do you get that feedback?

I do, actually. I get a lot of people who tell me about their own fitness journey that they’re on, and that I’ve been a starting off point and motivation for them to keep going. It’s incredible, the feedback, it’s wild.


With thousands of followers, do you feel pretty engaged?

I do. I think it’s really important to have a connection. So I like to answer all the DMs that I get, and I like to click through their profiles and like some of their photos.


How did this new show come about?

PopSugar has been so supportive of me in the last two years. The positive lifestyle that I’m trying to portray, that’s very much in line with the PopSugar girl. I love to explore trends, that’s what I do within the verticals that I’m really passionate about. We based the show off of that. It’s all about trend exploration.


You’ve done athleisure and bouldering so far. What are other trends you’re going to be exploring?

We’re going to explore boxing as a crazy workout trend. We filmed it at Overthrow Boxing Club in Manhattan. We’re going to explore what it means to be a female DJ in this day and age. And I think we’re going to explore henna tattoos, because I think there’s a lot there in terms of the tradition and now it being kind of an aesthetic trend and an alternative to permanent tattoos. … I’m very open to exploring trends that I don’t actually know a ton about, those investigative moments are very real.


How was the boxing workout?

It’s great. I’ve actually been boxing for almost five years now. It’s an intense, high-impact sport. So you do jump roping, you do shadowboxing, you do pad work where you’re learning combinations. It’s the only workout I can really do and be completely focused on in the moment. It takes so much concentration and attention, if you’re not paying attention you’re going to get hit in the face.


What other workouts do you do?

I love Pilates, I think it’s a great addition to anything. I love a good traditional dance class, I think it’s a great workout. It’s fun. It’s not like your traditional gym session. I love to dance, I love music, so I love to take dance classes.


What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

A place called Tone House. I definitely thought I was going to throw up. It’s motivating once you’re there, seeing everyone else doing it — OK, I can do it. But it’s really intense.


Are there other areas of fitness you’d like to tap into?

I think there’s always room for product, whether it’s a natural food product or if it is something to help you recover from your workouts. I definitely think there’s areas that I would love to explore. But I’m not really focused on products at this moment in my career. Hopefully that’s in my future.

Hannah Bronfman’s go-to NYC studios

  • Peridance Capezio Center
  • Banana Skirt Productions
  • Broadway Dance Center
  • New York Pilates
  • Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon
  • Ashley Deleon Pilates