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Food Diaries: Perry O’Hearn of Philly Phitness

As the owner of Philly Phitness, Perry O’Hearn works 15-hour days and he admits that’s really not interested in preparing a week’s worth of meals during his down time. That’s where Hen House Foods comes in.

Perry O'Hearn is a busy guy. As the owner of Philly Phitness, a network of local fitness professionals, O'Hearn sees about eight clients a day and acts as a consultant to the six different trainers that use his 3,000 square feet of space in Rittenhouse.

O'Hearn typically works 15-hour days and admits that he's really not interested in preparing a week's worth of meals in his down time.

"I have a very hectic schedule — my days start at 5:30 a.m. and I don't get home until about 9:30 p.m.," said O'Hearn. "The last thing I want to do on a Sunday is go food shopping at a crazy Trader Joe's."

But you don't get amazing abs like O'Hearn's by eating out for every meal — that's where Hen House Foods comes in.

"About four months ago, we were barbecuing at one of my trainer's house and I was saying how much I missed grilled foods and that I would practically pay someone to barbecue chicken for me," O'Hearn recalled.

That someone happened to be the sister of one of his trainers — After a stretch as a sous chef at Amis, Maddie Henigan branched out on her own to create Hen House Foods, where she offers a prepared meal service to her clients.

"They food shop for me, cook for me, and deliver everything to me (except breakfast) on my doorstep every Sunday," said O'Hearn. "I've been doing it for about four months; it's the best decision I've ever made."

O'Hearn says the meals are a combination of his requests and Henigan's own inspiration. And those meals are particularly important to someone as active as O'Hearn, who needs fuel to stay on top of his game throughout his long days.

"For two years I had a desk job as an engineer, now I'm on my feet all day and biking back and forth to the gym," said O'Hearn. "It's increased my calorie intake significantly."

"There are times when I'm eating 3,000 calories a day. If I don't eat enough carbs, I hit a wall when I'm training and I can't afford to do that to my clients."

O'Hearn's emphasis on healthy eating stems from an increased risk of heart disease that runs through his family. Yet, he doesn't believe in "bad" foods.

"I mostly eat clean but I'm also not afraid to go out and have a good beer with a bloody burger," said O'Hearn. "I'm a big believer in the law of averages — as long as it's the expectation and not the rule you'll be fine."

Below, in his own words, O'Hearn describes his typical day of healthy eating:

Breakfast #1: Oatmeal.

"I typically wake up at 4:30-5:00 a.m. so I usually split breakfast into two meals.  I don't drink coffee so I like to load up on carbs to help boost my energy at the crack of dawn. The first breakfast is some oatmeal with peanut butter and is often times accompanied by a piece of fruit."

Breakfast #2: 3-egg omelette with corn.

"When I get my first break — usually around 10 a.m. — I have my second round of breakfast. Here I like to go a little heavier on the protein and veggies. This breakfast was a 3-egg omelette with one yoke and some corn. (I usually add spinach or broccoli but I ran out!) To add some flavor, I use a tomato and basil dipping sauce."

Lunch #1: Banh mi chicken taco with Brussels sprouts, a squash-beet medley and cauliflower quinoa.   

"I typically have a lunch around 2-3 p.m. This is a pretty balanced meal between my carb, fat and protein intake. This particular meal was a lone piece of steak and a banh mi taco with sesame marinated shredded chicken and chipotle sauce, with a side of Brussels sprouts and a squash-beet medley on top of cauliflower quinoa."

Lunch #2: Steak with cauliflower quinoa, broccoli and a squash-beet medley.

"Since I work until 9 p.m. most nights, I have a second lunch around 6 p.m. This meal is similar to my first lunch except, as the day continues, I reduce my complex carbs to prevent me from having sleeping issues. Today I had three grilled pieces of steak over a half serving of cauliflower quinoa with a side of broccoli and a beet-squash medley. "

Dinner: Beef meatball, braised beet greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and polenta.

"My last meal is around 9-10 p.m. depending on when I get home. Tonight's dinner consisted of beef meatballs with a little ricotta, braised beet greens over some polenta and Brussels sprouts and broccoli."


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