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What Nick Briney Eats to Fuel His Fitness

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for fueling your fitness endeavors. Here’s how Nick Briney powers and recovers from his workout.

Headshot of Nick Briney.

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.

Maggie is an Experience Life senior editor. Michael is an Experience Life deputy editor. Jill is a health journalist based in Minnesota and contributed reporting for this piece.

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