Mark Fisher Fitness is all the rage in the theatre community, and Broadway performers are heading to the Hell's Kitchen hotspot to get "snatched" — with Fisher assisting his crew of "ninjas" in both exercise and healthy eating. We catch up with the theatrical fitness guru for pointers on how to make it through Thanksgiving dinner and still feel fabulous.
What are some suggestions for eating light throughout the day? What will fill us without stuffing our faces?
Mark Fisher: Generally speaking, focusing on protein throughout the day is a great way to eat without overstuffing yourself. Protein is very satiating (which means it fills you up), so some eggs in the morning and maybe a small salad with chicken breast [midday] can be a great way to "save up" your indulgences for the big event and keep your Broadway body.
Any tips or tricks to cooking/special recipes?
MF: This is really a matter of personal preference. While I think it's appropriate to celebrate family and tradition by sharing some treats you may not have every day, it's also a great idea to pick a few dishes you both enjoy AND serve your health and hotness goals. The main takeaway here is to introduce dishes you actually like! As a general rule, creating yummy and healthy vegetable dishes can be a great way to go here.
What are the dishes we should look for that are good choices?
MF: As above, protein (like turkey!) and veggies will be your best choices for filling up with your very biggest servings! Just be mindful of burying them with sauces, gravies, oil, etc. While those extra touches can be delicious — and may be your choice (see the next question!) — they will definitely add calories.
What are the absolute no-nos?
MF: Now here's one you may be surprised by… I don't actually believe in no-nos! Now there are certainly foods you wouldn't eat every day, but holidays are when many people (even the sexiest Broadway bodies!) choose to indulge with their loved ones. The one thing I recommend is being mindful of what you actually enjoy. I think you should skip the items you don't genuinely love, and prioritize your favorites. Oftentimes, people eat items they don't truly love simply because they're there. If we're more strategic, we can quite literally have our cake and eat it, too.
Can you speak to portion control — how much is too much on Thanksgiving?
MF: While everyone is different (since humans come in many sizes), one of my favorite hacks is to set yourself up for success by eating a small, protein heavy meal an hour before the dinner itself. As discussed, protein is satiating, so having a moderate serving an hour before will help self-regulate your portions and, for most people, will be far more effective than relying on willpower alone.
What do we do about alcohol?!
MF: Alcohol is totally fine in moderation. If you want a drink with dinner, enjoy! That said, if you're really pursuing health and hotness over the holidays, you'll probably want to avoid getting flat out drunk with doing lots of shots with Grandma. When we get drunk, we impair our decision-making ability, and it's pretty easy to mindlessly eat. This means we won't even get to truly savor and enjoy our special indulgences, which would be a total bummer.
What do we do about dessert? Can we have any?
MF: Definitely!! See the question above about absolute no-nos. As long as you're not having dessert every day of the week (which is another conversation altogether), holidays are a reasonable time for healthy and hot people to choose to enjoy some indulgence. If you really want a Broadway body, the context of your day-to-day eating habits matter most. You can definitely enjoy some special treats on occasion. The real issue would be if we enjoy some special treats on a frequent basis, week in and week out. At that point, they're no longer "special" treats. Haha.
Any tips on staying active?
MF: At Mark Fisher Fitness, we always say "you can't outtrain your diet." And while that may be true, you can actually rev up your metabolism for up to 48 hours with a vigorous strength training workout done quickly enough to keep your heart rate elevated. Oftentimes it's easy to skip workouts during the holidays because many of us are busy and/or traveling. To make it easy on yourself, prioritize time-efficient, body-weight-only workouts you can do anywhere (like Mark Fisher Fitness' MyBroadwayBody.com streaming workout videos). This way you can get some activity in the morning of Thanksgiving and enjoy your feast!
(Playbill.com features manager Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)