Nashville Prep Diary: Diet and Exercise

Last week I posted a blog about the areas I’m going to focus on improving before I move to Nashville in August. While I’ll be attempting to get better in all my categories this week, this week’s blog will lay out my strategy for diet and exercise.




Food has always been my Achilles’ heel- being on the road a lot means I usually don’t have healthy food available, and when I finally get home after a late show even the healthiest of foods can pack on the pounds if you eaten right before bed.  To compound the problem, I have had a difficult time getting enough exercise since my biking accident two years ago. So what’s a musician to do?


After much trial and error, I think I’ve hit on a manageable way to lose weight and stay in shape that works for my particular schedule and personality. Here’s my approach to dropping my weight and getting that rocker look:


The hardest part about eating healthy is choosing to eat healthy every day, when the easiest thing to do is grab some fast food on the way home. In order to be successful at eating heathy, I have realized I have to make it easier to eat the stuff that’s good for me, and make it take effort to eat junk food. 


I did some research into dieting and asked a few friends that were good with healthy eating, and developed an “ideal” diet that focused on being extremely portable (aka can sit in a car all day), easy to make, and simple to eat in a hurry. Here’s the diet:


Protein Powder (2 cups)

Sunflower Seeds (4 oz)

Sunflower Seeds (4 oz)

green juice (8 oz)

Pure Protein Bar (1 bar)

Banana (1)

Apple (1)

Protein Powder (2 cups)

 32 oz. water

 32 oz. water

 32 oz. water

 32 oz. water


This loosely follows the bodybuilder’s diet, which is based around a simple concept: if you eat more protein and less simple carbs, you’ll build more muscle and feel more full. Without getting too technical, it suggests you consume 40% protein, 40% complex carbs, and 20% fat each day in your diet. this has almost the perfect balance of those nutrients, and should be highly effective at shedding the pounds.


(One note: I am not a picky eater, and don’t mind eating boring food for days. If you try this at home, I highly recommend you vary it so you don’t get burnt out). 


Using the free program Evernote on my iPhone, I put in all of these foods. When I eat them each day, I simply check the box next to the food item. This keeps my focused, and let’s me know if there’s still food available for me to eat. 


One can not live on protein powder alone, so I’m also building in a few fail-safes to mix it up: 


• On nights when my wife and I eat together, I will allow myself to eat vegetables and meat, substituting it for the banana and protein powder in the evening.


• I’m allowing myself 2 cheat meals every week, so I don’t get burnt out. 




One of my biggest challenges is getting enough time to work out each day, and working out when I’m on the road with no equipment. Enter tabata training.


Tabata training is based on a simple idea: workout 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds. Repeat. It burns tons of calories (13-20 per minute, depending on the exercise), and almost double your metabolic rate for 30 minutes after working out, which means you’ll burn more fat.


I did some research, and found a great app called “7 Minute Workout” for my phone. It guides me through a tabata workout in 7 minutes, and I literally walk away feeling energized. Rather than work out for 30 minutes each day, I simply do my tabata routine for 7 minutes during breaks, several times each day. 


While that’s great, I still felt like I needed more. I ended up downloading another free app, Daily Burn, which provides me with other great free workouts that don’t need gym equipment. I’ll do these 2-3 times a week as needed. Also, I’ll be biking and doing other outdoorsy stuff over the summer, which should help keep me burning fat.




This is the hardest part of all- I can set up the best plan ever, and without consistently sticking to it, I’ll fail. To motivate myself to stay on target, I’ll be taking all the money I was spending each week on going out to eat (around $5-$10 per day) and saving it back for new clothes and gear. If I’m consistent and I factor in cheat days, this should work out to a whopping $120-$240 per month for me to invest in stuff that’s going to further my career. How’s that for motivation? 


I know this isn’t going to be an easy path, but I’m optimistic about improving who I am in this area. I’ll keep you posted as the pounds start to come off!