I’m excited to launch my Rebel in the Spotlight series, where I ask the same 25 questions to my fellow food, nutrition, and fitness enthusiasts. I’ll be interviewing people who have completely different viewpoints and practices when it comes to healthy living, which makes it all the more interesting to get a glimpse into their perspectives. The focus of these interviews isn’t for you all to learn more about the people themselves, but to get a better appreciation of different (and sometimes contrasting) eating and workout regimens, and understanding that there is no one right answer to living a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about what works best for you and what personally motivates and inspires you.
Everyone who will be featured on this spotlight series are true rebels to me in every sense of the word. They have their own way of doing things, despite how the vast majority of the public behaves. They are taking health and happiness into their own hands. They are reaching and obtaining their goals themselves, instead of waiting around for it to reach them. A rebel is someone who rises, even in opposition or resistance. All of these people have dealt with opposition and resistance in some way, shape, or form in their diet or fitness journeys, and I believe this is definitely something worth admiring and celebrating. I hope these people serve as inspirations to you, as they have to me, and I can’t wait to share their different philosophies with you all!
Now on to the interview: 25 Questions with Tony and Nate
What better way to kick off the Rebel in the Spotlight series than with the extremely knowledgable Nutrition for Performance co-founders, and my friends, Nathan Diaz and Antonio Castillo.
Nathan and Antonio created Nutrition for Performance (N4P) to help others from all over the country accomplish their health goals.
The mission of N4P is to provide individualized tactical strategies to improve overall performance through nutrition and other lifestyle modifications. We provide the most recent, evidenced-based nutritional practices in order to enhance overall performance through private consultation, public presentations, and other avenues of education. We firmly believe that true results require a TEAM approach.
What do we mean by TEAM? TEAM stands for “Together Everyone Accomplishes More”. We work as your coaches, but you are the captain of your championship season. Just like a team captain, your commitment to consistently improve is key to the success of your overall performance. So let us be part of your TEAM. Check out our website for a more in-depth look at what we offer.
They have some great things in store, so check out their website at www.sportnutritionexperts.com to see how they can help you achieve your nutrition and fitness goals!
- How old were you when you started your health/fitness habits and what prompted it?
T- I was in High school so about 16 years old when I started my health and fitness habits. I was having weight issues and wanted to change. I saw that by dieting and exercising I was able to reach my weight goals.
N- Like many incoming college freshman, I wanted to impress the ladies so I got serious about only lifting weights! After months of inconsistent weight fluctuation, and not truly seeing the results I wanted to see, I decided to get just as serious about what I put into my body. That’s when my love for nutrition was born.
- How would you describe your cooking style in 3 words?
T- Aggressively Average Learner.
N- Pretty Freakin’ Delicious!!! But for real Inventive, Colorful, Fresh
- What is your signature dish?
T- Salmon, brown rice, and Oven Roasted cayenne asparagus. I could cook that with my eyes closed.
N- My oatmeal bowls
- Do believe in weekly meal prepping? Why or why not?
T- I believe 100% in weekly meal prepping. As someone who believes time is the biggest commodity taking 2 hours to cook a week’s worth of meals saves me time and money. I do not have to worry if I have lunch that day or not. It is quite relieving.
N- I believe 100% in meal prepping. Taking one day to cook 3-4 days’ worth of meals cuts down on time spent in the kitchen and the headache of having to answer the question, “So what’s for dinner?” I also believe meal prepping plays a pivotal role in achieving health and fitness goals. Yes, planning ahead may take a little extra thinking power, but in the long run, it saves you so much time and money. As the old adage goes, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”
- If you got to cook a meal with anyone in the world, who would it be?
T- Hmmm… It would have to be with Alton Brown. The man’s loves Bourbon and a great cook. We would make a great meal and a darn good old fashioned.
N- Aaron Sanchez! (Judge on Chopped, his show Taco Trip on Food Network) I’ve had the privilege of meeting Aaron. Not only am I a fan of his cooking style, I love the energy he brings to the kitchen.
- What does your typical breakfast consist of?
T- My typical breakfast is usually 2 scrambled eggs loaded with veggies (i.e. spinach, bell peppers, whatever extra I had from the night before.) A high fiber English muffin and half an avocado if it is ready.
N- I have two breakfast go-tos:
Option #1: Cooked oats topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries, sliced banana, peanut butter (duh), honey drizzle, praline pecan granola, sliced almonds, and a dash of cinnamon. For added protein, I’ll add some vanilla or flavorless whey protein powder.
Option #2: Open-faced breakfast sandwich. Everything bagel or Asiago cheese bagel piled high with fresh spinach, bacon (duh), 2 sunny side up eggs seasoned with herb de Provence, and a homemade tomato and basil bruschetta.
- Do you weigh yourself on a regular basis? Why or why not?
T- I try and weigh myself weekly to see if my weight changes, but I focus more on how I feel than a number on the scale.
N- I do not only because for me, my goal is not to gain or lose weight. My goals are to change my body composition by increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat. I could weigh 190# with 20% body fat or 190# with 11% body fat. The scale cannot tell the difference. I still weigh 190#.
- What are your 5 most frequently consumed foods?
T- Eggs, Salmon, Brown Rice, beans, and any Veggie.
N- Peanut butter, Greek yogurt, spinach, blueberries, bananas
- What do you love most about cooking?
T- I love that cooking brings people together. I think what I cook for someone lets them see a piece of me they are not aware of. Cooking is an expression of my time and gratitude for that person/group of people.
N- Cooking is very relaxing for me. It takes me away from the daily stressors of life and brings me to a place of serenity. I put on some music (either EDM or hip-hop), and fly away to my stress-free zone. I also feel cooking is an expression of love. When you cook for someone, you are giving them a little piece of you. You can express yourself to someone through your cooking, and that is powerful. How do you think I won over my beautiful wife? 😉
- How much water do you drink a day and how do you stay hydrated?
T- I usually drink between 6-8 of my 24 oz reusable water bottle. I carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. I am actually in an airport right now with my bottle with me.
N- I drink about 4-16 oz glasses and 2-3 24-ounce water bottles (reusable)/day (so totally about 120-140 oz/day). I do several things. Every meal, I drink 2 glasses of water. At first, I would set alarms in my phone to drink water every hour. Now I have a built in alarm system in my brain that goes off every hour telling me to drink. Another major key is carrying a reusable water bottle. During my time at UF, I was on the go all the time. Carrying a water bottle would help me keep hydrated wherever I was.
- If you could eat only 1 source of protein, 1 fat, and 1 carb for the rest of your life, what would they be?
T- Protein: Shrimp, Fat: Avocado, Carb: Brown Rice
N- Protein: Blackened grouper, Fat: Avocado, Carb: Pasta
- What is one food or nutrition fact you wish everyone knew?
T- How to interpret a food label correctly to reach their nutrition goals.
N- Don’t waste your money on cleanses and detox formulas. Everyone on this earth has a built in detox machine. It’s called a liver.
- What current nutrition fad do you hate the most?
T- There is no fad I hate, but I am not in agreement of a ketogenic diet for the layperson. I know it has been show that ketogenic diets are great for an epileptic patient, but I do not believe overeating one macro is the best way to go. I am all about balance.
N- The ketogenic diet. I don’t hate this fad, I just do not believe it is sustainable and easy to keep up with. If you do not know what the ketogenic diet is, it is a diet high in fat, moderate protein and very low in carbohydrates. The purpose of this is to switch your body from using carbohydrates as an energy source to utilizing fat for energy. Experts in the field say you get more long lasting energy, laser focus, etc. etc. Though there is science to back up these claims, it is a very difficult diet to manage long term. Another point, how happy are you when you deprive yourself of carbs?
- What is your favorite form of exercise and why?
T- My favorite form of exercise is weight lifting. I like picking heavy things up and then putting them back down. Simple.
N- Compound exercises (squat, deadlifts, lunges, pull ups, push-ups, etc). These exercises require multiple muscle groups to work together to achieve the movement of weight through space. I feel these exercises push the body to another level and actually make you stronger.
- What is your current fitness/body goal?
T- My current fitness goal is to continue to be happy with the way I look.
N- Increase lean muscle while simultaneously decreasing body fat.
- How often do you pig out and eat whatever you want?
T- Like I said I am all about balance. I do not normally pig out. I eat pizza more often than people think.
N- Well, I eat whatever I want on a daily basis (pssh), but as far as pigging out, I would say not very often. I only do it when I go out to a restaurant and want to try multiple items on the menu. Instead of pigging out, I call it “exploring more than one food option” 😛
- What food is your guilty pleasure?
T- Pizza, can’t live without it.
N- Gummy bears! It’s that one thing I never grew out of as an adult. I still love them as much today as I did when I was five.
- What motivates you to stay consistent with your diet and workouts?
T- I stay consistent to my diet and workout because I want to stay healthy for my future family, whenever that happens. I do not want to be the old guy at Publix on an electric scooter because I cannot walk.
N- My performance. Running a business, getting my Master’s, and just the daily grind in general takes a toll on the body overtime. When I don’t put the right foods in my body or slack off with working out, I feel it in my performance. My energy shoots down, I cannot think as sharply, and I get sick. All these symptoms result in poor performance. If you treat your body poorly, it will treat you poorly. So I am naturally driven to stay consistent with diet and exercise out to stay on top of my game at all times.
- Who, in the food, nutrition, or fitness world, inspires you the most?
T- Everyone who is motivated to help others. That include my business partner Nate Diaz, and you Maria from Rebel Nutrition. Both of you inspire me to do better and do more for the nutrition world.
N- Robert Irvine, celebrity chef and restaurateur. He is one of the few celebrity chefs that incorporate nutrition and exercise in his cooking as well as his personal life. I had the opportunity to meet him and tell him about my goals, my love for cooking, and becoming an RD. The one thing he told me, and I will never forget this, was to keep on cooking. He further explained that our world does not need more professionals telling other people WHAT to eat but that we need professionals to effectively teach people on how to cook with the foods we are telling them to eat. After that interaction, I changed the way I look at food and nutrition.
- Have your food habits had an influence on your friends or family? If so, how?
T- My food habits have a huge influence on my friends and family. My fiancé and I always try and recreate dishes at home that are more health conscious than a butter loaded meal from a restaurant. Every time I go home my mom asks what she should buy so I can cook for her.
N- Yes! I show by example. They see how delicious healthy foods can taste and they are open to trying new foods. The power of cooking can change the way people view food. My family and friends are a testament to that.
- If someone came to you wanting to start living a healthier lifestyle, what is the first thing you would tell them?
N- Do a 3-day food log and then we will talk. This will show me how dedicated and motivated they are to adopting a healthier lifestyle.
- What is your most frequently asked question about food, nutrition, or fitness?
T- How can I lose weight?
N- “What can I do to lose weight?”
- If you were to write a cookbook, what would it be called?
T- The Dabbing Dietitians’ cookbook.
N- We are actually collaborating with someone on a seasonal cookbook so be on the lookout and you will find out. 😉
- What is your overall food philosophy?
T- Eat a balanced diet. Load up on veggies. Eat some lean protein. Have carbs that are long lasting.
N- Food is powerful. What you put into your body has the ability to heal and uplift people to be the best versions of themselves. It can also be one’s demise. Food should be used strategically to help people perform at their OPTIMAL level.
- How can people reach you/find your work?
People can check out the Nutrition For Performance website by going to www.sportnutritionexperts.com. They can also follow us on social media @nutrition4performance, and get the latest updates on what we are doing, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org