Philadelphia-based personal trainer Jayel Lewis admits she doesn't follow a typical "training" diet. She's not heavy into protein, she doesn't stress about calories, and she definitely doesn't deprive herself.
"I eat what works for me, when it works for me," said Lewis.
As the owner of JL Fitness, Lewis trains eight hours a day with roughly 15 active clients on her roster. To keep things as simple as possible, Lewis sticks to her favorite tried and true foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts, plus hydrating with water and tea "religiously."
"Eggs are a staple in my diet because they're easy, convenient and give me what I need," said Lewis. "But I do like to indulge a little."
For Lewis, nutrition is about finding the right equation that makes sense for you. She encourages her clients to experiment with their diets to see what works and what doesn't. But, it's also about finding ways to make food fun again.
"For me, food gets me excited because it has the potential to help you feel better about yourself and your workouts and it's something that you're always in control of," said Lewis.
Lewis tells her clients to avoid the urge to obsess over their food choices as doing so will make healthy eating quickly feel like a chore.
"If I'm busting my butt in the gym, I definitely feel like I deserve that glass of wine at the end of the day," said Lewis. "This is life; there will be wine and there will be chocolates and that's ok."
Below, in her own words, Lewis describes her typical day of healthy eating:
Breakfast #1: Oatmeal with raspberries.
"I always, always, start my morning with a cup of oatmeal and organic raspberries. This is a staple in my diet and it's so convenient for my 4:30 a.m. wake up call!"
Breakfast #2: Omelette.
"After my morning clients I have time to run home, take my puppy for a walk, and fix a nice breakfast. I whip together two pieces of turkey bacon, four whole eggs + one egg white + 1T low fat cheese. It's quick and easy, has all of the protein I need, and I love it!"
Mid-day snack: Kombucha and a square of dark chocolate.
"My snack usually consists of a small piece of dark chocolate (Confession: I have to have chocolate every day. A little piece goes a long way!), and a green smoothie or a pick me up beverage such as kombucha since I'm one of the rare trainers that isn't really into coffee."
"I love my greens, and feel lost without them. That's why lunch is typically a salad with added veggies and chicken +/- a hard boiled egg. I usually grab one out somewhere to save on time."
Snack #2: Green smoothie.
"Depending on timing, it's usually 2 percent Greek yogurt with a handful of almonds, or a green smoothie I've made at home using the ingredients pictured above."
Dinner: Salmon with potatoes, asparagus and red peppers.
"By the time I get home I'm exhausted and don't feel like cooking from scratch. I'll either have breakfast for dinner (eggs again), or fish since it's relatively easy to cook. Once I add in veggies and a carb my meal is complete."