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A NASM-, FRC-, and USAW-certified personal trainer and an ISSA-certified nutrition specialist, Nick Briney (on @nick_briney) is the senior personal-training manager at Life Time in Overland Park, Kan. Here’s how he fuels for fitness.

Experience Life | Describe your training and nutrition goals.

Nick Briney | I follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time, I am locked in on fueling my body and recovering with nutrient-dense meals that meet my energy needs. The other 20 percent allows me some freedom to indulge when I want.

I generally avoid dairy and gluten-containing foods to support digestive health.

My training goals are to like how I look, be able to perform in an athletic environment, stay relatively strong, and be able to move without pain or restriction. Without properly managing my nutrition, there is no way I would be able to train the way I do.

EL | Do you use tests to inform your food and fitness choices?

NB | I have used several assess­ments to get personalized information that guides my nutrition choices. I’ve done food-sensitivity lab testing, basic and comprehensive blood panels, and active and resting metabolic assessments. I’ve discovered that I’m sensitive to egg whites and egg yolks and that I wasn’t eating enough carbohydrates to fuel my training and recovery. Based on this information, I dialed them in.

EL | How has your food regimen changed over time?

NB| Quite a bit, because of how much I have learned about how to optimize my nutrition over the years through doing my own research, getting health assessments done for a look at what I personally need, and trial and error to see how I can fit changes into my routine consistently. It’s an ongoing process that I’ll always be changing and fine-tuning to find the best ways to stay on top of my health and continue to improve my fitness.

EL | Describe a day in your life.

NB | I usually start my morning with a glass of lemon water with sea salt, followed by tea or coffee with unflavored collagen mixed in. A typical breakfast is usually chia-seed pudding with almond butter and berries, avocado toast and sausage or bacon, or oatmeal with honey and berries. Any morning that I work out early, breakfast is usually something less dense, like a piece of toast with almond butter and protein powder mixed with water.

On an ideal day, I’m able to work out around two hours after I eat breakfast, giving my food plenty of time to digest. My workouts generally consist of a 10-minute metabolic warm-up, 10 minutes of movement prep, 45 minutes of strength and conditioning, and 10 minutes of cooling down with some more mobility. Preworkout, I make a drink of creatine, glutamine, essential amino acids, and greens mixed with 20 oz. of water. Postworkout, I usually grab a protein shake with some UCAN or a protein bar. Lunches and dinners on weekdays are pretty routine: protein, carbs, fat, and one or two types of veggies. For example, ground beef, sweet potatoes, kale and onions, and avocado with “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning is a favorite. Throughout the day, I snack on beef jerky, fruit, energy balls (see recipe below), or some trail mix. My supplements include multivitamins, fish oil, vitamin D, and a probiotic.

EL | Do you have any favorite recipes to share?

NB| Energy Balls.

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free quick oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup dark-chocolate morsels
  • 1/4 cup of coconut shavings
  • 1/4 cup of raw local honey
  • 1/2 cup of almond butter
  • 1 serving of chocolate vegan protein powder

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl or food processor, then add honey and almond butter. Ball up into bite-size portions. Double or triple this recipe for a weeks’ supply.

This originally appeared as “Fit Fuel” in the May 2020 print issue of Experience Life.

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