Today we’re sitting down with Zuta Gilchriest, an athlete and dancer who’s been killing it in the fitness industry for over ten years. If you think athletic training and dancing don’t go together, think again. Aside from being the regional director and manager at Crunch Gym here in NYC, Zuta teaches several classes, from Zumba, to Pilates, to Pole Dancing, to the Jillian Michael’s Body Shred. She’s also a master trainer at SurfSET Fitness, so you can add surfing to her list of skills! Zuta showed us what she likes to eat in a typical day of her active life in NYC, and we can’t wait to share it with you guys.
I grew up in a family where wholesome eating was our way of life. We ate whole foods at meals, and everything was homemade. With that background, and my current active lifestyle, I’ve cultivated an “Eat to Live” lifestyle. I listen to my body and give it what it needs in the moment, while focusing on eating mostly fresh, unprocessed foods. What I eat differs depending on my schedule, but here’s a typical day for me:
I start every morning with a glass of water and then I grab a black coffee when I’m walking my two french bulldogs, Piper and Jackson. I’ve never been a big breakfast person, but I’ve recently noticed how much energetic I am when I start the day with some fresh seasonal fruit or a protein shake. Burn and Build Body has some great plant based protein powders. If I’m a bit more hungry, I’ll have gluten-free oatmeal, fried or poached eggs, and some live granola, which is a mix of apples, bananas, raw coconut, raw almonds, almond milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
I’m usually on the go for lunch, and luckily, NYC has so many great spots to grab a quick healthy meal. Some of my favorites are the “Grains and Greens” salad at Pret a Manger or the “Chicken and Rice Bowl” at Dig Inn, which includes roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. I also like to make a customized salad at Chop’t, which usually includes lots of colorful vegetables, chickpeas, and a splash of olive oil for the dressing.
I like to carry small snacks with me during the day to give me a boost of energy. Usually I’ll go for a some fresh fruit, handful of almonds, or a protein shake. In terms of beverages, I mainly stick to water, but I also make a tasty turmeric tonic, which is a great anti-inflammatory drink. It’s made with fresh squeezed lemon, water, turmeric and any other spices I have handy.
Typically for dinner, I like to combine a protein, a grain, and some vegetables into one dish. I find that this combination keeps me full without feeling like I need to snack after dinner. I’ll usually have a big helping of greens, like spinach or kale, accompanied by grilled chicken or salmon, and maybe some rice, quinoa, or black beans. It might sound boring, but I like to change up my seasonings and flavors depending on what I’m craving.
When I feel like having something different, I’ll try to experiment with my cooking and the products I buy. My current obsession is this gluten-free brown rice & quinoa pasta that I’ll put over some spinach and top with some marinara sauce. It’s so delicious!
Although I generally eat pretty clean, every couple months I like to take a week or two to eliminate some foods out of my diet to give my body a break, like coffee, dairy, alcohol, and gluten. I especially like some kits that Burn and Build Body have that have support supplements, protein shakes, and easy to follow eating plans. This also allows me to tune into how some foods affect my body and energy levels, and reminds me that what I eat today has an impact on how I’ll feel tomorrow. I don’t believe in dangerous cleanses or diets, so I just try to listen to my body and what it responds best to!