I’m obviously no celebrity athlete or fitness model, but I do get lots of questions around my own eating habits, workout patterns, and which fitness sources have taught me the most.
This is the only time that I’ll ever “self-interview”, so here you go…
What’s your athletic background?
I was a basketball player growing up, and that’s my first love. GOD had other plans for my body type and picked up football my freshman year of high school. I went on to play running back in college, and also ran track for three years, competing in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay.
What are you currently training for?
I ran two half-marathons within a month between October and November 2011, but am done with endurance events for the time being. I trained hard but realized that endurance sports are just not what I am cut out for, both physically and psychologically. Several friends are avid CrossFitters and have been giving me the hard sales job to get me involved. The competitive-but-positive plus testosterone-fuled vibe keeps drawing me in little by little.
What does an average week’s workout look like?
I don’t get as much time as I’d like to dedicate toward my own workouts, but I do what I can with the time I have. I try to go for intensity over duration, so I’m usually hitting some form of HIIT intervals or tabatas on the bike or rowing machine for cardio. I’m a big fan of Olympic-style lifts, so each week I try to hit some hang cleans, power cleans, push press, and dead lifts. I’ll mix in some pull ups, heavy rope work, and box jumps if available.
As I mentioned, I have several friends who are CrossFit addicts and have been giving me the hard sales pitch to join them soon, so this workout approach will keep me in close enough shape to hang with the group (hopefully anyways). Once or twice each week I also add in some typical standard bodybuilding work, as well as some sprint work (100s, 200s, 400’s, court gassers) to maintain my capacity in that area as well.
Describe your fitness classes.
The best way to describe my classes would be 45-55 minutes of multi-faceted intervals and running drills, very similar to what you might see on infomercials for “Insanity” and “P90X”. I try to model the workouts for a demographic that used to play sports in high school or college, and desire that style of training as adults compared to simply running on the treadmill, lifting weights alone, or logging repetitive sessions on the elliptical. I also try to make sure the playlist is continually up-to-date because if the women in class don’t like the music, they will turn on you quickly.
What does an average day’s eating look like?
It’s not inaccurate to say that I’ve tried almost every nutritional philosophy out there. Currently (and perhaps for the foreseeable future) I’m sticking fairly close to a Paleo eating style. Like I said, I work out in the mornings, so it’s either an empty stomach workout, or possibly a scoop of whey protein in water before heading out the door. I used to down a banana, Gatorade Prime, and/or a gel before hitting the gym but while this was great for my performance, this was surely killing any fat loss goals I was after (due to the over-reliance on Simple Sugars).
Post-workout is usually another scoop of whey in water, then 3-4 scrambled eggs with some spinach, and a couple slices of lean turkey tossed in. I’ll usually eat that with half a sweet potato (3-4oz). Mid-morning snack is a protein shake with almonds or sunflower seeds, then lunch is usually a few turkey meatballs with some green source like asparagus. Depending on whether or not I have class in the evening, I may eat the second half of the sweet potato here.
Late afternoon might be some turkey jerky and sunflower seeds, with perhaps a tablespoon or two of almond or peanut butter. If I’m teaching a class in the evening I’ll either repeat lunch, or go with a tuna pack and an apple.
Dinner lately has been white fish (tilapia, cod) with steamed shredded cabbage (seasoned with oil & vinegar, lemon pepper seasoning, and mustard). “Dessert” is a blended smoothie with carrot juice, acai juice, whey protein, blackberries, almond butter, half an avocado, and 2-3 handfuls of spinach. Sometimes I'll swap out the avocado for coconut milk as an alternative healthy fat source.
Must-have vitamins and supplements?
Standard: multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin B, vitamin D.
What’s your favorite cheat food?
There is a local smoothie shop across the street from where I live, they make a Green Tea Smoothie with non-fat frozen yogurt that is my biggest guilty pleasure. I used to go 5-6 days a week, but chopped that down to once a week on Saturdays in an effort to tighten up my diet for fat loss goals.
If I am REALLY, legitimately cheating, I love French fries, pizza, and burritos. The funny thing however, is that once your diet really gets in-tune, these foods stop being as fun once you see them as set-backs from ultimately having the body you want. You can eat almost anything once or twice a week, but the saying is true – nothing tastes as good as being lean feels.
Who are your favorite fitness follows on Twitter?
Who are your other fitness inspirations?
The Rock (obviously), Greg Plitt (#1 male fitness model in the world), Mario Lopez, Georges St. Pierre, Pauline Nordin (creator of “Fighter Diet”, her dietary discipline is a tremendous motivator) and “normal” people like my friends Demi, Philip, Brendan, and Lyndsey.
What’s your biggest motivation?
Aside from the standard stuff like wanting to fit well in my clothes and like what I see in the mirror, long term health is very important. I had a close relative battling colon cancer several years ago, and a few others with high blood pressure issues. My eating habits were terrible in graduate school during my early 20’s, and I spend every day trying to undo the fat, unhealthy condition I was creating for myself.
What’s the one thing you wish you could share with others at the gym?
I'd tell them that More isn’t necessarily better.
I see so many people (often the same faces) logging away hour after hour on the stairmaster or elliptical every week and their bodies never change. People training for specific events like a half-marathon or 5K certainly need to get their mileage in, but others wanting to shed pounds, or look good for the beach really need to learn that you can meet your goals in less time, by working smarter.
For fat loss goals, intensity trumps time spent. The body is not like a calculator, fat loss is more complex than eating 500 fewer calories and burning 500 calories more per day. Things like stress hormones and insulin manipulation play a big role in whether or not one’s body will give up stubborn fat. This is usually sad to see, because I see lots of effort and “want to” from people in the gym (or even jogging down the street), they just don’t have the proper tools and information to accomplish what they are working so hard to achieve.
Will you ever grant yourself another interview like this?
No way. This was an obnoxious thing to do and I'm ready to go back to interviewing other people.