branden-wellington

THE FIT POET ON ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

Branden Wellington shares his workout routine and productivity hack.

As a triple threat (actor, writer, and host) in the entertainment world, Branden Wellington knows how to play up his best features. He turns up his charm interviewing fans as an in-game host for the New York Mets, his might for his role as a corrections officer on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, and his soul as a spoken word poet, a passion that won him an Emmy for Best Writer. 

However, when Furthermore caught up with Wellington when he was in Manhattan creating poetry for a US Men’s National Soccer Team campaign, it was his relentless positivity that made the biggest impression. Below, the rising talent talks about working with the veteran OITNB cast, his personal wellness routine, and how he maintains that positivity despite his hectic schedule.

Tell us about the project you’re working on right now.

Poetry has been a gift in my life since the fourth grade. I’ve been writing for the last 20 years and was fortunate enough to win my first Emmy last year for a piece about basketball called “TV Dreams in A World of Sports-Kids.” The US Men's National Soccer Team became aware of my work and asked me to write a poem for the campaign for their new soccer team. 

The campaign is called "The Future Is Us.” It covers the team's rise to the top of the world rankings. The women's team has dominated soccer for quite a while now. The men's team isn't quite as prestigious, but they have a new, young generation that they feel will be a force to be reckoned with by the 2020 Olympics.

Have athletics always been a part of your life?

I grew up playing basketball, football, and baseball. Around high school, I made the transition into theater, but I always stayed active by working out and playing team sports in my free time. I pride myself on being fit and staying ready for whatever may come my way.

What does your current workout routine look like?

Right now I'm working with a trainer, so I usually work out four days a week. I usually get warmed up by running. We do about two miles, two and a half miles, which gets my heart rate up. Then I do lightweight, high-rep training, which helps me tone and keep my weight down. We do high intensity cardio, as well, and the things that people hate to do, like burpees, wall sits, and push-ups.

I don't want to be too big, because in the world of film and TV, the camera always adds 15 pounds. My goal is to always make sure I'm trim, slim, and fit. Usually I'm playing a cop or fireman or something on TV, so I have to have a physique that looks commanding.

You probably felt that pressure to look intimidating on Orange Is the New Black. What was working with that cast like?

As talented as you think they are as performers, they're even more talented at being human beings. They're just a great group of people to be around, always positive and with great energy.

To work with such an accredited cast and crew, it felt like a dream come true. That's what we all want: work environments where we feel included, we feel part of the family, and we feel like it's a positive environment where we can just be ourselves and be accepted. 

You seem to be a very positive force yourself. How do maintain that mindset?

I think we live in a culture now where most people, we want to be busy. We feel like if we're busy, we're grinding. We're getting somewhere, we're doing something. I'm a firm believer that there's a difference between being busy and being productive. I don't overload my schedule, because I think taking personal time is very important. 

You don't have to be on the grind 24/7, the no-sleep life, the “I'll sleep when I die” mentality. That was something I'd do when I was younger, but now I’ve started to realize there is power in rest, there's power in sleeping well. I think with an adequate amount of sleep and an adequate amount of personal time, blended with your professional time, you can find a balance and be upbeat and positive throughout your day. Stress usually comes from when we're overburdened or overloaded with things. I think it's important to take a step back and know what you must do, then minimize everything else.