I’ve often thought that personal trainers are the Greek Gods of our time – perfectly sculpted and blessed with a divine discipline to say no to chocolate. And we’re the commoners slaving our way at the gym only to shed a morsel of fat (and dignity).
But since we are all human, what is it that trainers are doing differently? Aside from the obvious amount of time spent exercising, a large part comes down to nutrition. Although we might think we eat well, for most of us, we should swallow our excuses when we’re wolfing down cake.
So to find out how personal trainers truly eat (and discover where we’re going wrong), we asked four inspirational, celebrity trainers to dish up their weekly grocery list.
Free-range eggs, spinach, avocado, chili, raw cashew nuts, broccoli, kale, carrots, cherry tomatoes, kombucha, pink himalayan salt, free-range chicken thighs, eye fillet steak, white fish, salmon (when I’m in the United States I like to get Turkey). I like to mix it up with seasonal veggies and occasionally buy some fruit such as berries or pears. The most important items for me are avocado and chili… I can never have enough!
Breakfast is my main event every day. I like to make a three egg scramble that consists solely of egg, spinach, cherry tomatoes, chili, sometimes zucchini and avocado on the side. I also love to go out for breakfast with my friends but generally order the exact same thing.
Lunch and dinner is very similar for me and consists of protein, veggies and healthy fats such as avocado (always demanding MORE avocado!). If I can’t whip myself up a fresh salad for lunch or dinner I have select places in Auckland, Sydney (Bondi Wholefoods, Lox Stock & Barrel, Ruby’s Diner), LA (Sweetgreen, Erewhon Market, Zinque) and NYC (Sweetgreen, Wholefoods, Hu Kitchen) – the cities where I mostly spend my time – that I will go to get this where I know the ingredients will be super fresh and not ruined with a whole lot of unnecessary additives, dressings etc. As I exercise a lot it is really important that I get in a good serving of protein with each meal as well as healthy fats such as avocado and raw nuts, as my body primarily uses this as fuel.
I drink a lot of water each day – at least three litres – but if I’m looking for something with a little more flavour I love a ginger kombucha, and a black coffee is never too far from my hand. Post workout I have a whey protein shake – one scoop of whey protein mixed with water. Don’t get caught up putting a whole heap of ingredients in your protein shake, you want the protein to hit your muscles quickly so the more fun stuff you’re adding to your shake, the slower this process is and you’re often adding a whole lot of unnecessary calories. If I get a craving for something sweet at night time I will often make a ginger honey tea or snack on some blueberries – sounds a little boring but it works like a charm for me!
Pretty simple – fuel your body efficiently with good food that will give you the energy you need to support your daily output. I exercise a lot and demand a lot from my body so I also eat A LOT. I’m at a point where I confidently know what foods agree with me and which ones don’t so I will be fussy and sometimes a little “difficult” about my meals but it is always worth it as it means I’m ready to go at any moment for what my job requires. My best advice would be to take the time to feel and understand what works specifically for your body. If you feel uncomfortable, bloated or tired all the time after certain foods then that’s a great sign that they probably don’t agree with you. It’s a bit of a trial and error process and requires some discipline but it will make a big difference to your energy levels, physical output in your workouts and your body composition. Enjoy your food, it is one of the greatest pleasures of life but also be kind to your body – you only get one of them and you want it to last you a long time.
Bananas, frozen blueberries, goji berries, chia seeds, maca powder, cocoa powder, eggs, oats, almond milk, coconut water, organic peanut butter, rye bread, almonds, dark chocolate, full-fat yogurt, avocado, kiwi fruit, pears, cottage cheese, brown rice, sweet potato, chicken breast, salmon and always dark greens like spinach leaves, asparagus, broccoli, green beans and bok choy.
I guess it’s a typical shopping list for a male who likes to eat healthy but these are all my staples. My schedule is pretty full on and I’m at the gym a lot!
My go to smoothie most mornings if I don’t have oats is: 250ml coconut water, 1 serve of Swisse Pure Warrior vanilla WPI protein powder, 1 cup ice, 1 cup blueberries, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1tsp goji berries, 1 banana, 1/4 tsp of maca and 1 tsp of cacao – I add cacao for the antioxidants and maca because it gives long-lasting energy… and libido boost.
I’ve got some mid-morning snacks on there like the yogurt with fruit and the almonds. My gym is in the city so there are plenty of options for a healthy lunch and smoothie. The chicken, fish and greens are my standard dinner but if I’m lazy or tired I’ll just whip up an omelette with greens.
When (not if), I’m still a bit peckish after dinner I generally cure my hunger with a row of dark chocolate and some peppermint tea. So that’s me Monday to Friday! I tend to eat out more on the weekends, trying not to go too silly!
First you must ask yourself what you are trying to achieve, and plan your diet accordingly. For me, a solid balanced diet of proteins, good fats and carbohydrates with plenty of greens is key. Meal timing is also important. For example, my smoothie is perfect for the morning but with all the energy it provides it would not be ideal for nighttime. Sugar and alcohol are definitely two things that should be cut out as much as possible, if not completely. So follow those general rules and you’ll be on the right track! But as I say to my clients, if you want extreme changes to your body composition and or physical performance then you must compliment that with extreme discipline with your diet.
Kefir, kimchi, tempeh, lentils, coconut oil, almonds and cashews, lots of organic fruit and vegetables, chocolate (always!) and staples for my baking cupboard: wholemeal spelt flour, oats, cacao, cacao nibs, cranberries, sultanas, coconut flakes, and so on.
My dad is making the most delicious water kefir at the moment and bringing me a bottle every few days. So not on my shopping list, but always in my fridge.
I shop every Friday at the Mullumbimby farmer’s markets – it’s become a bit of a ritual – and buy a really yummy kimchi by Alive Foods as well as a bunch or organic fruit and veg. I buy Byron Bay Tempeh because it does delicious non-soy tempeh varieties and I am hooked on the fava bean and wakame one.
The lentils are because I’m not eating a lot of meat and I love lentils, I use them in all sorts of salads, soups and curries. Right now, I am trying to make a version of one of my favourite dishes, the mushroom toor dal from Iku Wholefoods. Now that I don’t live in Sydney anymore, I’m trying to make my own. I also make my own milk, hence the almonds and cashews.
I advocate eating well (not too much and mostly wholefoods) all – or 90% – of the time and avoiding foods that bloat me. I’m a big fan of Michael Pollan’s food rules: eat food (that is food that is not packaged or processed and that your great-grandmother would recognise as food), mostly plants (predominantly plant-based foods and some meat if that’s appropriate for you) and not too much (eat mindfully, slowly and don’t overeat). Pretty simple but it works beautifully for me.
Lean beef mince, white fish, chicken breasts, eggs, kangaroo, brown rice, rice loaf bread, sweet potatoes, broccolini, zucchinis, red capsicum, beetroot, tomatoes, carrots, chia seeds, nuts, avocado… and sometimes if I get lost in the supermarket I may stumble into the ice cream section.
Of the nutritional benefits and how they will fuel my F45 training sessions. When I navigate the supermarket I only walk around the outside and avoid the middle lanes since that’s where all the processed and manmade foods are located.
I have kangaroo because game meat has the highest density of protein and I’m a country boy so it makes sense! I marinade it with garlic and chilli (if i have a lot of meetings I skip the garlic) – plenty of spice and herbs.
Both my sisters and all their kids are coeliac and lactose intolerant so I’m pretty sure I am too. I’ve found that most gluten-free breads on the market are a chemical cocktail (more numbers than letters in the list of ingredients) and have zero taste. I discovered Naturis organic rice loaf and buckwheat loaf and was thrilled to find that I really enjoyed both gluten-free products. In my opinion, the buckwheat bread is so good that I would choose to eat it even if I weren’t on a gluten-free diet.
An example of my diet is today’s ‘on-the-go Dan’s lunch’ which consists of half an avocado, sweet potato mash and some white fish, both of which I cooked last night. I have some lemon for dressing, and to put in my water. I always try and over cook and under eat the night before so I have yummy foods when I’m busy or travelling.
“You get out what you put in, so if you’re fuelling your body with B-grade fuel you’ll get B-grade results”
Since I am time poor and constantly travelling, I like to make sure I’m prepared with simple but nutritious foods. If I am really stuck with healthy options, I choose to fast rather than eat something unhealthy. The body is designed to sustain fasting and it encourages the body to utilise stored fat cells without entering a catabolic state.