My New York Story

Mary Ann Browning, Brownings Fitness

By Lillian Langtry

Mary Ann Browning is one of the most sought-after trainers in New York City and the Hamptons. Celebrities, socialites, and moguls—Rosanna Scotto, Vera Wang, Jonathan Tisch, David Steinberg, among others—train with Mary Ann because she produces results that last a lifetime without sacrificing the quality of life.

At Brownings Fitness, this founder and president, along with her team of elite trainers, guarantees to build muscle where you currently do not have it, burn fat where you do, and change the shape of your body. As Mary Ann says, the Browning Method is about exercise and reinforcing positive body image and a healthy outlook on fitness. Brownings Fitness is now offering workouts at their city and Hamptons locations, FaceTime and Zoom virtual training sessions, as well as virtual and in-person nutritional consultations and training with Mary Ann.

New York Lifestyles Magazine sat down with this dynamic woman to discuss her career and revolutionary fitness studio.

Tell us where you were born and raised?
I was born in South Africa, and while there became a prima ballerina  with the Johannesburg Ballet Company. I needed to stay moving when I left the ballet company at 26, so with my husband I moved to Capetown. We had a restaurant, which turned out to be an unhealthy change of life for me. Eventually, I met a trainer who motivated and helped me to get my nutrition and life on track. I studied nutrition and became certified for over ten years, and got divorced. Along the way, I met a woman who had an eating disorder. I started to help and train her, which also made me concentrate on myself. It showed me how wonderful it was to help others. I also began to participate in marathons, Ironman’s, and other sports events. After that, my fitness career took off.

How and when did you start your fitness studio?
I was named South Africa’s most successful personal trainer and had the opportunity to work as a specialist trainer in New York City. It was then I decided to open my first Brownings Fitness center. Currently, I am a certified trainer in MESC, NASM, AFTA, Pilates, Spinning, Swimming, and Running Coach, Sports and Nutrition, and Yoga.

With locations in Manhattan and the Hamptons, our trainers specialize in all aspects of fitness, all experienced and well-trained. We have our in-house physical therapists for clients who have suffered an injury or need post-surgery. We’ll even make in-person visits or do virtual appointments.

What makes the Browning Method unique compared to other programs?
We utilize cardio, strength training, and proper nutrition to change your body shape. Our unique design and individualized approach make it possible to build muscle and burn fat. It is a complete program that harmonizes exercise and nutrition. Other programs might focus on workouts or else not have enough focus on the food you are putting in your body. 

In addition to strength training, you specialize in nutritional counseling. What advice do you give your clients?
I don’t believe in diets. I specialize in nutritional counseling and believe in respecting a person’s lifestyle and culture regarding food. You have to work in those perimeters to make nutrition beneficial. I spend a fair amount of time on a consultation with a client because it is crucial.

You get excellent results because we are there with you every step of the way. Personalized one-on-one time makes the difference. Our tiers of programs offer a variety of programs that work best with the individual. Custom nutritional plans are sustainable for life. I have had incredible success with New York clients, many of whom lost over 20 pounds in two months and kept it off for 20 years. Once you’re a client, I am with you every step of the way.

How did your business model adapt to the COVID-19?
When the pandemic began, I immediately advised clients to buy home equipment like weights and bands. I then had to start motivating them and urging them to keep their bodies moving.

Because my business is private training, people felt safe. We maintained the same clients during the pandemic. Trainers are available for Virtual Personal Training via Zoom or FaceTime. As most New Yorkers know, you can work out anywhere with minimal equipment from your bedroom to the park.

Where do you see yourself and Brownings Fitness in the next five years?
We have a strong business right now, which we will keep private. I believe New Yorkers will come back to the gym, but more people will want private lessons online and in their homes.

For more information on Brownings Fitness, visit