Health + Fitness
It all started when…
I looked in the mirror. The past three years had not been kind to my body - double-batter-fried-quad-Krabby-Patties, steaming bowls of pastas, and grilled cheeses galore had begun to take their toll. Not to mention my fondness for bourbon - a glass (or three) had become part of my nightly routine, and I was having difficulty remembering a time when all my evenings weren't draped in the fog of alcohol. I had tried, ineffectively, to make changes in the past, but could never motivate myself to sustain them with my couch and a glass of brown beckoning to me after a long day of shooting. Finally, I realized: I could use my show to hold myself hostage into making progress. I could bare it all on camera, the ugly reality of my midsection, and throw some gasoline on the fire dying out under my ass. At the same time, I could attend Comic Con as a Kratos-Babish hybrid, building story arcs for future episodes and motivating me to keep working after the 30 day challenge was over. If you're reading this, then maybe you'll join me in taking some steps to be kinder to our bodies. What follows is the routine I developed with my buddy Chris for a 30-day "reset", as we called it - but adopting any kind of change, large or small, can create a noticeable impact. Keep doing it regularly, keep trying to do it bigger and better, and keep it up - I will if you will!
The diet was relatively simple: 1800 calories max daily (2000 on heavy workout days), defined by three macronutrients: 180 grams of protein, 140 grams of carbohydrates, and 50 grams of fat. Nothing with added sugar, no alcohol, no unhealthy fats. These numbers are going to depend entirely on you and your current bodyweight - there are myriad calorie calculators online, and I used LoseIt! to keep track of my intake and calculate how much I needed. I highly recommend using a calorie tracker for your first 30 days, and after that, you should have very good instincts as to what you should be doing and eating each day.
The exercise was more complex, but that's because I'm hoping to build toward a very specific physique. The fact is, if you burn more calories than you consume in a day, you're going to lose weight. Walking, running, situps, cycling, skating, swimming - if your end goal is weight loss, lowering your calorie intake and adding activity is literally all you need to do. But if you're in the position where you'd like to start sculpting or become more toned, I think the routine Chris developed for me is a great place to start.
Stretch: cobra stretches, spider-man stretches, windshield wipers
Warm-up: 5 minutes hard cardio - running, bicycling, or burpees are good examples
Seated Ab Circles: 2 sets (both directions), 35 seconds each, 30 second rest in between
Mountain Climber Planks: 2 sets, 35 seconds each, 30 second rest in between
Plank Leg Raises: 2 sets, 35 seconds each, 30 second rest in between
Situps: 2 sets, 35 seconds each, 30 second rest in between
Scissors: 2 sets, 35 seconds each, 30 second rest in between
Russian Twist: 2 sets, 35 seconds each, 30 second rest in between
Plank Holds: 2 sets, 45 seconds each, 30 second rest in between
More coming soon!
I found this to be an insanely useful tool in combatting the blandness of diet foods. It's by no means completely healthy - it's very fatty and should be used sparingly - but since it's just made from raw cashews, it's a much healthier fat than, say, mayonnaise.
16 ounces raw cashews
Place cashews in a large bowl, and cover with enough water to fully submerge the cashews. Allow to soak for at least 4 hours, up to overnight (to quicken this process, you can use boiling water and allow the cashews to soak for 30 minutes).
2. Drain the cashews and place in a high-powered blender. Add just enough water to cover the cashews along with a generous pinch of salt, and blend on high speed for 1-3 minutes, until completely creamy. Allow to cool completely, jar, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Creamy Shrimp and Tomato Pasta
There's a time in all diets when we have an uncontrollable craving for pasta. When working out vigorously and frequently, carbs aren't always the enemy - so there's certainly room for pasta in my routine. Using red lentil pasta, however, packs a bonus punch of fiber and protein that you don't get with the white-flour stuff.
4 ounces red lentil pasta
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined (shells optionally reserved)
1 shallot, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup packed basil leaves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/4 cup cashew cream
1/4 cup packed parsley, minced
Cook the pasta according to package directions, until just shy of al dente, and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Set aside.
Optional: In a large, high-walled sauté pan, add shrimp shells and just enough water to cover. Simmer for 25 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half and opaque, and drain - set aside, and use in place of white wine to finish the pasta.
In a large sauté pan, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium flame until shimmering. Add the shrimp, sautéing 1-2 minutes on each side, until pink and cooked through. Set aside and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
In the same sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium flame until shimmering. Add the shallot and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and oregano, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have blistered and softened, adding a bit of water to the pan if the contents begin to burn.
Reserving a teaspoon for garnish, add the basil, and return the shrimp to the pan to warm through. Add the pasta, wine or shrimp stock, 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, and the cashew cream. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, tossing frequently, until the sauce has thickened and the pasta has absorbed most of the cooking liquid. Remove from heat and toss in parsley. Garnish with remaining basil and serve.