Welcome to the inspiring world of Bridget Praytor, a powerhouse individual who has left an indelible mark as a national speaker, a top sales executive in Fortune 500 companies, and a relentless athlete. Standing tall at 6’2″, Bridget’s journey is a testament to resilience, determination, and the pursuit of excellence.
Bridget’s early academic achievements first set the tone for her extraordinary life. Graduating with a BS in Business Management from Utah State University at the age of 19, she embraced a path beyond conventional expectations. Though she did not play sports in college, Bridget’s passion for athleticism propelled her to conquer Spartan Challenges nationwide, compete on NBC’s Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge, and leave her mark on American Ninja Warrior.
Not content with a typical marathon, Bridget has completed prestigious races like the Walt Disney World and Los Angeles marathons. Her tenacity shines through in grueling events such as the Spartan World Championship 30-mile Ultra. Bridget’s commitment to health and fitness is matched only by her dedication to coaching and being a role model for her athletically gifted children.
As a single mom, Bridget navigates the intricate dance of raising five incredibly talented children. From a son being actively recruited by multiple Division I basketball schools to a daughter excelling in high jump and another overcoming adversity in competitive rugby, her nurturing spirit and dedication are unparalleled.
Beyond her feats in athletics and parenting, Bridget has made waves in the entertainment industry, participating in a variety of shows on major networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and Food Network. Through it all, she has maintained a steadfast focus on inspiring others, particularly women, to balance demanding careers, athletic pursuits, coaching, and the responsibilities of motherhood.
Can you tell us about your journey from being a top sales executive in Fortune 500 companies to becoming a national speaker and motivator?
I thought I was doing everything right as far as graduating college at 19, moving up the corporate ladder, having a family and getting a lot of external recognition. Then in a matter of a year I found out my husband was having an affair, my mother was diagnosed with advanced cancer and that I was having twins. The twins are with a man who lives in Australia that I had dated for ten months long distance after finding out about the affair. Everything that I worked so hard for came crashing down. I had my first major panic attack and when my three young kids walked in on me on the floor shaking and crying I realized that I had no other option, but create opportunities, be optimistic and figure out a way since five other people depended on me.
How did your background in business management influence your approach to motivational speaking and inspiring others?
Through working with all levels from entry level to C suite employees I have experience with different perspectives and what motivates people. My goal in any organization is to create hope and inspire people to take personal accountability for their response in any situation. People can do so much more once they internalize the belief that tomorrow is a great opportunity to start or continue to get a little bit better even if it’s something small.
Winning Spartan Challenges and competing in multiple marathons are significant accomplishments. How have these athletic achievements shaped your motivational message to others?
That is an interesting question because I did those things before I had a significant change of perspective in how I define success. I accomplished those things wanting to prove to the other people that I was an incredibly driven athlete. When I took a step back and really thought about why I was doing what I was doing it wasn’t because I was passionate about being a great athlete, but a lot of childhood memories of being the bench warmer that I wanted the satisfaction of thinking who is the athlete now. Once I realized that thinking wasn’t adding to my life, but making me feel even more not being enough and after lots of visits to the Emergency Room getting hurt pushing myself in extreme ways in races with little happiness I really thought about what I wanted and how to take steps to find ways to be more aligned with what brought me joy. Now I get so much more happiness volunteering with Spartan races, other adventure competitions or marathons. In fact with Spartan the last seven races I participated in I’ve been the course sweep walking with the last person on the course while listening to them tell their story. Seeing others finish things they thought were impossible and learning from their life experiences now has a lot more meaning to me.
Balancing a career, being an athlete, and raising five kids as a single mom is remarkable. What strategies do you use to maintain balance and juggle your busy day to day?
Actually I always joke around about it’s easier to have five kids because all expectations go out the window. The easiest way I have found to live life is to design a life around a personal mission statement. My mission statement is if I do something every day that makes me feel alive, create an association with a moment that makes me laugh, have a moment with someone I love and create a memory with a stranger, friend or a loved one then I feel like a success. Also, once I defined how I identify myself it has made decision making on how I choose to use my time a lot easier. For me I identify myself as a happy mom of five, coach, volunteer, athlete and speaker who loves an adventurous life.
Could you share some insights into how you empower other women to pursue their athletic goals while managing various responsibilities?
Once a person focuses on the basic fundamentals in life everything becomes so much more clear. I always tell people you can see how tall a building is going to be by looking at the foundation. By really believing your health drives psychology it changes everything. Dialing in on your sleep, nutrition, movement, focus (mediating or sitting in silence based on your particular beliefs) will increase self confidence to pursue whatever you desire athletically and personally.
What role has coaching played in your life, and how does it tie into your message of motivation and empowerment?
Coaching for me has created moments of magic when seeing another person realize what they really want. One story I love is the story of the 5.5 ton Golden Buddha covered in plaster until one day what could have been a devastating disaster being broken was really a chance to discover what it was really made of. I believe most people know what they really want, however need someone to talk through pathways of how to get there without any judgement. Also, a person to offer encouragement in moments of doubt to help them discover their true why and if they are going in a direction of what really matters to them.
As a motivational speaker, what are the key principles you emphasize to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle?
The quickest way to change your life is to find out in these three areas health, relationships and work what one thing in each area you could stop doing immediately to have the biggest impact on your life. Also to figure out what your number one thing is that you need to feel alive. When I prioritize sleep everything seems to go much better in life.
Being involved in athletic, dating, cooking and other reality shows over the years must have been an amazing experience. What has been your most memorable experience on TV?
The most memorable tv experience so far has been on a show that is coming out soon. Being in a situation with limited food, limited sleep and wearing a microphone 24/7 being exposed to the world of how I would respond in stressful situations made me really think am I living what I coach to others. Also, met some incredible people in some pretty intense situations that have become life long friends.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to go on a Reality TV Show?
Go in thinking that it will be an adventure of a lifetime and an opportunity to meet people that will impact you in ways unimaginable. Also, never think of the money as being the main motivation. Over the years I have done shows on major networks and the hardest one I wasn’t paid anything, some I have received a consellation prize, some a stipend and once won $105,000 dollars. Also, be true to yourself and remember whatever you do will always be on the internet or your kids friends will screenshot it and send it to them as memes.
How has your involvement in athletic shows, like Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge and American Ninja Warrior, impacted the way you inspire others to overcome challenges?
With those shows when I went on set and saw professional athletes, past college all stars and incredibly athletic looking people I did start doubting myself. I think we all have that moment or self doubt because unless you are a gold Olympic athlete there will always be someone better. However, then I realized that if I had made it that far and was already there it didn’t matter the outcome I was already proud of myself so everything else was just upside.
Could you discuss the role of resilience and determination in both your athletic pursuits and motivational speaking?
When I was in college I read the book Man’s Search for Meaning. That book forever changed my life with the theme everything can be taken away from you except your attitude and willingness to live. My wish is for no one to ever find themselves in that situation, however everyday we all have a choice about how we are going to respond to situations with our attitude and effort.
What advice do you have for individuals, particularly women, aspiring to excel in both their careers and athletic endeavors?
The exercise of going why down several questions helps qualify what you really want. Ask yourself what you want then ask why to that question. Then ask why again several times. What usually happens is someone might think they want to run a marathon, but in reality maybe they want to be healthy so they feel like they have more energy to do something else maybe professionally. So in that case running a marathon actually wouldn’t be a great thing because of the time required. In the above situation maybe developing a solid workout plan and using the extra time that would have spent on additional cardio would be best working toward professional goals once you have the energy from a solid workout plan.
How do you motivate your children to pursue their athletic goals while imparting life lessons about dedication and determination?
I have always provided opportunities, but ultimately let my kids decide what and how much they wanted to be involved in athletics. This year my 6’2” daughter tore her ACL her senior year which actually was a blessing in disguise because she realized she didn’t want to play sports in college, but is passionate about getting her EMT license at her high school and going into the medical field in some capacity. While her 6’11” brother is the third kid in Colorado for the class or 2025 to be offered a full ride men’s basketball scholarship. I believe that community sports at an early age regardless of what kids decide to do is a great building block of how to do deal with frustration, but also deal with internal motivation.
In your experience, how has participating in competitive sports influenced your outlook on life and the messages you convey to your audience?
As a kid I was tall, but uncoordinated so I did a lot of team sports yet always found myself on the bench. Looking back I think that was my training ground for how to sit back and encourage others. I also had several bad coaches. That was my training ground for how to deal with difficult people in corporate America. I was on lots of losing teams. That was my background on how to just focus on what I could do and that was everyday show up and try to inspire hope. I also have had several victories and that is the background to remember those moments to dream about other adventures in the future.
What specific stories or experiences have resonated most with your audiences during your motivational speaking engagements, and why do you think they connect so well?
When I was 15 I lived on the couch of a 1 bedroom apartment with a family friend. That’s why I graduated college at 19 because I worked so hard to be self sufficient. Not only did I double up on classes at Utah State I also worked the graveyard shift full time. There were many moments I would cry myself to sleep, however looking backwards I realized that I am incredibly grateful for those years. Those years taught me the value of hard work that when my life came crashing down being responsible for five kids and at the time on many government programs due to not being able to work full time a traditional job or knowing what to do next since my twins had many medical difficulties that I could figure it out. Looking backwards everything always makes sense. It’s just training yourself to always have hope and remember everything is transitional.
Looking ahead, what are your future goals and aspirations as a motivational speaker and advocate for health, fitness, and female empowerment?
At this stage I am very selective on speaking opportunities and coaching clients, however my goal is to also be an advocate for health, fitness and female empowerment by my actions and everyday trying to leave the world a better place by micro moments of positivity with my family, friends and people I am lucky enough to meet.
For daily doses of motivation, health tips, and glimpses into her inspiring journey, be sure to follow Bridget Praytor on Instagram: @BridgetPraytor.