Diet, fitness, health, Quarantine, Wellness

Let’s Talk Diet!

Lately I’ve been having difficulty finding topics to cover on this blog. So, as any good millennial would, I posed the following question to my Instagram followers: “What health/fitness topics would you want to read most about?” Unsurprisingly, I recieved a lot of responses and questions relative to diet.

Now, I have to begin by saying that I am not a registered dietician and the nutrition certification did not fall under my NASM training program. So while I cannot offer you advice on your specific situation, I can talk about the things that I have learned through trial and error on my fitness journey. Before I delve any further into this topic, it’s important to note that each body is different. So the only way to truly discover which foods (and quantities of such foods) will enhance your output/results is to consult with a nutritionist that can give you a personalized plan.

“My diet is the component that I struggle with the most even after (4) years on this fitness journey. Please know you’re not alone.”

My diet is the component that I struggle with the most even after (4) years on this fitness journey. Please know you’re not alone. Through trial and many many errors, I created the acronym M.A.P.P.S. to aid me in tackling the issue of my diet:


Regardless of what you’ve seen on instagram, it’s going to take time and effort to reach your fitness goals. Whether your goal is to increase strength, weight loss, or a combo of the two, you’re going to have to begin tracking the foods you eat each day. Now, I’m not saying be obsessive and calorie count, but you should have an idea of your nutrient intake per meal and whether some items you believed were healthy even are at all. Get ready to be surprised.. When I started tracking my macros, I realized I actually wasn’t eating enough food to reach my goals. I used the free version of My Fitness Pal which is very user friendly and allows you to enter your personalized macros and monitor whether you’re meeting the quantities allotted for each day.

Now what are macros you ask? It stands for macronutrients—proteins, carbs, and fats which are the 3 pillars that make up calorie content. I’m not going to go into extensive detail explaining the significance of macros, but the article I’ve linked above will teach you everything you need to know.


As I mentioned already, your diet will be a long and winding journey. I have had to change course and recalculate my macros and/or cycle foods in and out of my diet numerous times. It’s important to learn early on that you must monitor how your body responds to dietary changes and alter your practices as needed. Your macros are a guide of course, but as I mentioned earlier, each body is different. What should work in theory may not be applicable to you. Trust your gut, literally and figuratively.


Ah, protein. It’s a commonly overlooked component in many health/fitness journies. There are so many benefits to having enough protein in your diet (see article linked above). To my friends who are looking to build muscle, this is crucial for you. While I cannot tell you the exact quantity of protein you should be consuming, I can say this might be the area you’re lacking in. For the first few months of my fitness journey, I worked out without consuming adequate protein and I did lose some weight, but I saw minimal muscle growth. When I began increasing my protein intake, my weight loss was not only exacerbated, but I began to see substantial muscle definition. Presently, my calculated macros have me just shy of my bodyweight (in grams) in terms of protein consumption each day. In order to meet this goal, I do consume one protein bar and shake per day (both vegan/plant based protein). In terms of supplement brands, I will discuss my preferences in a later post.


One of the biggest struggles for me, even presently, is portion size. Our portions in America are much larger than necessary, therefore, we mentally and physically have normalized consumption beyond what our bodies need. My Fitness Pal has helped me with portion control also, but at times the lines can get blurred. Through reading and research of my own, I’ve learned to stick with using the size of my fist for portions. If all else fails and/or you’re willing to spend a bit more to get on track, there are many great pre-prepared meals that will also aid you terms of portion-control. Personally, I have enjoyed Freshly’s meals as each package outlines the contents and allows for easy input into My Fitness Pal. Ultimately, the best way to ensure you’re eating 100% cleanly is to cook your own meals. Freshly and many other companies do produce fairly-clean food options, but nothing beats your eyes seeing the exact contents of your meal.

One of my recent meals from Freshly.


The last letter in M.A.P.P.S. is honestly the most crucial. You can set numerous goals for yourself and invest in the necessary items, but your compliance is what matters most. I’ve found that creating outlandish goals and following trendy diets (Keto, Intermittent Fasting, etc.) don’t work well for me. My goal is to create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and set myself up for long-term success. While diet-crazes may produce results in the short-term, it’s imporant to remember that your health/fitness journey is a marathon and not a sprint. The “finish line” is ever-changing and it’s best to set up a flexible plan that allows for life to happen.

I used to stick to Intermittent Fasting and while I’m not a proponent of it, I did see results. I found that my cravings were not as bad after adjusting fully, and was able to consistently reach a caloric deficit which is crucial for any sort of weight loss. As a student and a young professional in NYC, it did fit my lifestyle, but as time progressed it became unsustainanble for me. An example of what I presently eat on any day is as follows:

  • Breakfast: Coffee, egg whites (or whole eggs depending on my goals), oats or a piece of wheat toast (yes, you need carbs)
  • Snack: Protein Bar (+ a second coffee)
  • Lunch: Turkey Burger, Veggies + Hummus
  • Snack: Apple + Nuts (Peanuts, Almonds, etc.) + (occasional chips if i’m stressed lol)
  • *workout*
  • Snack: Protein Shake
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken (or other lean meat preferably), Veggies (Broccoli a lot), Cauliflower/Brown Rice (sometimes ill add a sauce + egg and make a stir-fry)

While this is one day, you have to keep in mind that my diet does not look like this every single day. I do often leave room for the unexpected, especially on the weekend.

Eating cake is OK. Having drinks with your friends is OK too. I do all of these things and I will not be stopping any time soon. I’ve learned from experience that restricting myself completely takes the freedom and joy out of my life. Through my journey, I have learned that what I can do is slightly modify each of these experiences to remain on track with my goals. If I’m having cake, I may take a smaller piece and scrape off the heaps of icing. I’m aware that alcohol has absolutely zero nutritional value, but when I do drink, I tend to cut myself off or stick with something less calorie-dense (i.e. vodka soda). Be proactive and create a sustainable plan for yourself!

While this quarantine is far from ideal, being isolated does give you the opportunity to truly hone in on your diet and analyze what you’re consuming day to day. It’s imperative that you find a sustainable plan and adjust it accordingly so that when quarantine finally does end, your habits are already established.

Feel free to comment any tips or experiences relative to this topic below!

fitness, health, Quarantine, Wellness

At-Home Fitness Fuel

I’m not sure about you, but my energy levels have been minimal during these quarantine days. It’s mandatory at this point that I work out in the morning or it’s not happening. Period. Pre-covid, I never really relied on pre-workout supplements for energy, but since May I’ve begun experimenting with various brands. I’ve found that taking a pre-workout or energy-inducing beverage 20-30 minutes before working out at home has greatly contributed to my consistency and overall results.

I do believe that taking pre-workout on a daily basis leads to dependency on the product, but it’s a great option to have on-hand if you’re ever feeling less than stellar. In this post I’m going to share some of the pre-workout options I’ve tried, my opinions on each, and links for purchase.

  1. Celsius

Through working in the fitness industry, I was introduced early on to celsius products. It has become my go-to option in terms of pre-workouts. I like that Celsius uses green tea extract, which has a slew of health benefits (10 Benefits of Green Tea Extract), as one of its main ingredients. I’ve never had jitters, or a crash later in the day, and it’s super easy to drink on the go.

2. Beyond Raw Lit

I usually am a huge fan of Beyond Raw Labs products, but this one definitely let me down. The flavor itself wasn’t bad, but my body did not react well to this product at all. I think had the least productive workout after consumption due to the fact I was overly jittery and easily distracted from my sets. I tried taking half a serving also, and the result was similar.

3. Eboost

I was also introduced to Eboost through my work in fitness also. I really enjoy using this product before I run outside and I like that you have the option to purchase single-use packets. Interestingly, I’ve found the full packet to be too much to handle. It makes me a bit jittery and my body tingles a bit, so I’ve found that taking half of the packet works best!

4. Bang

While at GNC (my home away from home), one of the store representatives recommended that I try this product. There are so many appealing flavors, and eye-catching packaging, so I threw a few in my cart. The product gave me the energy needed, but after consuming an entire can, I was left with a slight headache that hindered my workout. Not sure what ingredient causes this, but I tried a second can/flavor and it was the same result.

5. Coffee

Good old coffee never fails. I’ve found that having a cup 30 mins before my workout (along with an apple) gives me enough energy to push through my workouts. Both simple and easily accessible. I invested in a Keurig during quarantine, so I’ve ordered the Starbucks sampler linked above that I really enjoy.

6. Adjust your Sleep!

Yes, supplements are great and coffee can aid you in your workouts, but you must realize they can never replace adequate rest. Are you up late every night binge-watching Netflix? Up late on Facetime with friends? That is not going to help you reach your goals! I’ve been guilty of this myself, but you have to determine what your priorities are. Quarantine has allowed for valuable time adjust your sleeping habits. Structure your life in a way that will allow for success in the long-run. I sometimes have difficulty falling asleep, so I take Olly’s melatonin on the nights I am restless. They work, but keep in mind that consumption on a daily basis can lead to dependence.

As you continue in your fitness journey, your difficulties with sleep should gradually improve! Mine definitely have. Check out this article Exercising for Better Sleep from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Hopefully these suggestions will aid you in combating any lack of energy. If you’ve been using any other pre-workout or green tea products feel free to leave them in the comments!


fitness, health, Quarantine, Wellness

At-Home Equipment Haul

 I’m a bit later than usual, but this week is all about workout equipment. What do you need to build a routine at home?

“Like many of you, all I did in my apartment pre-corona was stretch. My equipment consisted of one fairly worn out yoga mat.”

Like many of you, all I did in my apartment pre-corona was stretch. My equipment consisted of one fairly worn out yoga mat. Months later, that is no longer the case! I’m excited to share some items I’ve been using personally, along with other creative things I’ve seen across the internet.

1. Sweet Sweat

I think one of the things I found myself missing the most is the intensity of my pre-corona workouts. To increase the sweat factor, I’ve thrown on the Sweet Sweat before lifting, running, or cycling. During my time working at Barry’s, my friend (and now Barry’s trainer) Joe Allen ( introduced me to the Sweet Sweat. It quickly became an essential for me. He explained to me that when working out, your core is the last part of the body to heat up. Hence why we perspiration tends to happen on our arms and legs first, and why we tend to see results in those areas more quickly. I love the Sweet Sweat because it speeds the heating process up by insulating your core. I know I struggled with the love handle area early in my fitness journey, and Joe’s tip allowed me to level up. Just remember that the belt will NOT do the work for you— it’s an aid, not the source. You are. 

Me using my Sweet Sweat during an @aarmy bootcamp.

2. Resistance Bands

In terms of other at home equipment, resistance bands have consistently been a staple in my routine. They’re easily accessible online and effective. Amazon is a great site for purchase as you can buy indiviudal bands (color-coded by strength) or a full set. My bands of choice (along with ab-roller and ankle weights) are pictured below. For squats, the blue velcro-cuffed resistance band is a must have!

3. Ab Roller & Ankle Weights

These two are fairly easy to come by on sites like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. I don’t use them on a daily basis, but once or twice a week I will incorporate them into a workout. It’s important to remember that you should keep your body guessing! Be consistent, but change up your routine and rotate the equipment you use for certain excercises. If you’re doing a workout video that calls for lunges, don’t be afraid to strap on the ankle weights for added intensity!

4. Jump Rope

An easy cardio-alternative. This jump rope is super easy to carry if you’re on the go, and fun to implement into your workout schedule. See my last post, Who Cares About the “Quarantine 15”, where I explained how I made jumping rope a staple in my routine.

4. Weights

A set or two of weights would be ideal at home, but they’re hard to come by and/or priced gouged (don’t even get me started) on sites like Amazon, Walmart, Dick’s, etc. After searching for weeks, I was able to find two sets (20lb & 30lb) from the Facebook market. Just be aware of the average price(s) for the set you’re looking to buy. So many people have been taking advantage of the weight shortage.

5. Mat

I spent the first few weeks of quarantine exercising on a thin yoga mat and I quickly knew I had to upgrade. My body started to feel the impacts of zero cushion and it was hindering my progress. After delving into reviews on Amazon, I settled on the mat linked above! I found it to make such a difference in my workouts. Now I’m sore solely from crunches–not the floor.

6. Running/ Cycling Belt

When running and cycling, I’ve been using the Zipster Lite running pouch from Nathan Sports. A few weeks ago, the straps on my old running belt fell apart mid-run (RIP). I did a bit of research and found that this belt had solid reviews in terms of durabilty and its a slip-on construction makes it less likely to fall apart when in use.

If your budget is tight and brand new equipment is out of reach, buy any of these items second-hand or use household items! I’ve seen so many trainers online using backpacks filled with books, wine bottles, and gallons of water in workouts. For used equipment, I’ve been scouring Facebook market and Craigslist—people are rapidly buying and selling items. 
If you’re looking for workouts that incorporate at-home items, check out this one by Keoni Hudoba (@keonihudoba) using a kitchen pot!

Let’s get to it people. Feel free to comment any items you’ve been using in your own routines!

fitness, health, Wellness

The Wrong Path(s)

During my first year of college in New York, I felt physically unhealthy for the first time in my life. Zero gym time. Zero vegetables. Zero accountability. It wasn’t a surprise that my body changed quickly. Like many others, I was new to the stress of undergrad, consuming more alcohol than ever before, and had access to any cuisine imaginable 24/7. My saving grace was that living in Manhattan requires you to walk every day.

“Not only was academic stress causing me to eat and drink excessively, but I was also navigating a difficult chapter in my life: coming out as gay.”

Not only was academic stress causing me to eat and drink excessively, but I was also navigating a difficult chapter in my life: coming out as gay. I dreamt of living in NYC for the longest and being my authentic self, but no one warned me that it wouldn’t be fairytale-like. Gay men can be the harshest critics of other gay men. I began dating for the first time and some of my newfound insecurities (i.e. my physical appearance) became topics of discussion. There was no rulebook and I didn’t have any mentors to discuss my journey with. I relied on food and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

During the Spring of 2016, I got my heart broken for the first time. In a nutshell: I was the less “physically attractive” option. As you can imagine, my world shattered and it led to some radical changes. I strived for the media’s standard of beauty and naively believed that if acheived, I would never feel that level of pain again.

During the following year, I consumed more information on fitness than actual food. The characteristics that once made me a great athlete, aided me in surpassing my initial goals. I may have become “skinnier” but internally I was just as unhealthy as before. Only this time, I was on the opposite end of the spectrum.

It took some time, but presently, my relationship with myself and with food are healthy. I now realize that my prior lifestyles were equally damaging. My advice for someone in either situation would be: sit down and write a list of your habits, both good and bad. See the full picture and pick one not-so-great habit to tackle over the next few weeks.

Growth and concrete changes happen gradually.

xx Christian