Claire Brautigam

In what part of town do you live?
I live in South Miami.

How long have you lived in the area?
I’ve lived in Miami pretty much my whole life. I’ve lived in Pinecrest, Coral Gables, and everywhere. But I’ve been in South Miami for about a year. I think that it is central to my world right now. It’s a pretty perfect location for me. I live in the back of my friend’s house. I like that kind of living, not in a high rise or anything, it’s easy access.

What about South Miami is central to your world?
Until about a year before COVID came around, I was in a career for 12 years. I was a case manager for foster children and I worked in the human trafficking division. In the interim, my best friend started a fitness studio. And I was helping her. And then last year in 2019, I left the case management world and I started working at the fitness studio and a running shoe store. Due to COVID, she had to close her studio. We’ve really been building ourselves back up in the fitness industry, but now as a wellness practice as a whole, to encompass mind, body and spirit. We’ve branched from just the physical aspect of things to where we incorporate yoga, sound bowls, breath work, self-love and care.

Why did you leave case management?
I had been there for a very long time. It was emotional. I got attached to some of my kids, and sometimes it was really hard to be forced to return them back to their parents, knowing that it wasn’t actually the best situation for them. I became really protective and would butt heads with a lot of other individuals in the industry. That was on top of the emotional aspect of the job. It was really hard to feel like I was working against my own agency.

What about that skillset have you taken with you into the fitness world?
Being compassionate. I try to be very compassionate and empathetic. You don’t know people’s stories and you don’t know where people have been from, you don’t know what kind of day they’re having. Sometimes people just need an ear sometimes, sometimes people just need a shoulder to cry on. I feel like that was my role as a case manager, especially the kids that I got really close to. I still have a relationship with some of them. They’ll call me and be like, you are the only mother figure that I have. I feel like that’s kind of rolled over into my life now.

Where did the move traditional physical fitness to whole body wellness come from?
Something that I have learned within my personal journey, is that self-love is most important and I want to be a part of this movement and bring it to the community. It’s been a long road for me, and it’s something that I’ve become very passionate about.

Why a long road?
For me, it’s been a long journey starting with not feeling worthy, not feeling that I’m worthy of happiness, and putting others before myself. Self care was very hard for me to remain consistent about. Now it’s nice to be a part of such an amazing team and self care is what we focus on. They remind me to do things like therapy or going to watch a sunrise, whatever resonates at the moment.

What other things do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy my family. My brother and my sister, each have two little ones. I enjoy being an aunt very much. Other than that, riding my bike, going to the beach to watch the sunrise or sunset. I enjoy my alone time and giving back to myself. But, I’m mostly with my family.

How did you discover LNB?
When I would go to the Pinecrest Market, I would hit up your booth. Then I saw somebody’s Instagram and saw that you guys had your own drive-thru. It’s amazing. I look forward to it. It’s my treat at the end of the week.

What is it that you like about it?
You guys are always very friendly and when you talk to us, you look us in the eyes, I love that. You guys have a great atmosphere and great vibe, I love it . I think that a lot of people look forward to it at the end of the week.

What do you get when you come?
I always get a smoothie. I love your guacamole, it is amazing. Sometimes, the ice cream. I was obsessed with the jackfruit when it was in season. I would get multiple bags. Now, I get the turmeric concentrate. I used to get the tonic at Pinecrest.

What other local spots have you been going to the last few months?
I don’t venture out a lot, it’s such a crazy time right now. I go to the grocery store and that’s it. I’m usually a huge advocate of supporting local businesses. I like to do that as much as I can, but it’s hard right now.

What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
It’s probably not a secret anymore, but I just discovered it – Aguacate in West Miami, close to Kendall hospital. It’s a vegan sanctuary. They have a little farm. There are some animals and they have amazing food and they have yoga sessions as well.

What for you is a worthy splurge?
Watching the sunrise as often as possible. I think that that’s worth it.

What do you like to do when it’s raining out?
Watch a movie with my niece or just stay home and relax.

Are there any community or philanthropic groups that are important to you that you might like to promote or share?
Two groups that I worked a lot with it as a case manager that I really enjoyed are The Miami Bridge, and, Kristi House.

Would you like to share a pitch about the fitness studio or anything else that you are working on?
Social media is really the platform that we use. We post new events that we’re going to be hosting. Out boot camp schedule is pretty standard. There’s three of us that you can follow are: Patty_mp_YogaFitClaireMarie087, and the MergyExperience. Our boot camps are different because we promote mind, body and spirit. We end our sessions with light breath work. Classes are usually 50 minutes to an hour.

Is there a question that you would like to ask us?
(CB) I think that it’s really cool that you guys have been doing these interviews and that this is your 169th issue. I think it’s great that you’re talking to people and finding out their stories. So what happens now, after we get off the phone? Do I get to read it before you publish on Friday?

(A+W) After the interview, we’ll transcribe it using Temi, an online service. Then we’ll edit it down to about 1200 to 1800 words. Our goal is to ensure it keeps your tone and voice, and is easy to read. We do not send them off for preview before publishing. We have found that it keeps the interviews honest and true to the moment.

Is there a challenge or a word of advice you might like to pose to the community?
Always go back to your breath.