When it comes to eating, trainer walks the talk

September 15, 2008|By LEIF E. GREEN

"Chad, what do you eat?"

One of the most common questions that I get as a professional fitness trainer is, "You always look good. What do you eat?"

Well I don't follow any special diet except when I'm on a "get lean" cycle, which doesn't last longer than six weeks. So, for the other 46 weeks, things are a little more relaxed, nutrition wise.

It all begins with breakfast, which can be as early as 5 a.m.

I usually begin by day with a big bowl (bigger than my wife would like) of high-fiber cereal with skim milk. I also will eat a serving of fruit here as well, such as a banana or some blueberries. If I have a little more time in the morning, I'll have a big bowl of oatmeal with a bit of flax seed and vanilla protein powder.


I like to load up on the carbohydrates early in the day for maximum energy, and so I don't need to eat so much in the evening.

About three hours later, at mid-morning, I'll have a source of lean protein, like some cheese, or two cups of low-fat, no-sugar-added yogurt. I'll also have a high-fiber grain bar and two servings of fruit like grapes or black cherries. I like a high dose of antioxidants at this point for a nice brain boost in my work day. Also, the fiber helps carry me over until lunch.

Lunch can be different depending on the day. I might bring leftovers from one of my wife's amazing dinners. I might pack a lunch of one or two servings of tuna or chicken, two or three servings of vegetables and starch carbs such as sandwich bread or rice. Or I might get some of the best roasted chicken ever made from a great Amish market upstairs from my club.

Three hours after lunch, I'll have another "feeding" like my mid-morning affair. If it is a strength-training day, I'll double up on the fruit for a little more in the tank during the workout.

I make my own post-workout nutrition drink - a two-to-one ratio of carbs to protein - within 30 minutes of the workout. The easiest way to get this is good ol' fat-free chocolate milk with a little whey protein in the mix. The quick carbs and easy-to-digest protein will replenish the nutrients lost during your training and help speed muscle repair and recovery.

Most nights, I get home around 8 p.m., so I want food immediately, as I like to be in bed by 10:30 p.m. Fortunately for me, my wife cooks up healthy stuff almost on a daily basis. So I eat dinner and I'm done for the day.

Once a week I like to eat a big, fat cheeseburger, just to relax and eat purely for pleasure. I might even have some fries as a reward, if I had a great training week.

Yep I walk the talk.

Food is a tool for me to look and perform the way I want to. At this point I'm on autopilot. I've been doing it so long now, it's easy. I don't even have to think about what I'm going to eat anymore - it's my daily routine. When my clients stop resisting and get on board the "good nutrition express," they find the difference in their results can be night and day.

As you can see, my day isn't complicated. There's no secret techniques. I eat a lot of good stuff, I eat often, and I train really hard. And I'm not eating tofu and cardboard all day.

So get it together - eat better to live better.

Chad Smith is a local certified personal trainer and fitness expert. He can be reached via e-mail at

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