What These 11 Charlotte Trainers Eat in a Day

Sophie Folts

Where to find her: Ballet Fit Theory at Fit Atelier (Creator/Instuctor), Dance instructor at Charlotte Ballet, Group Fitness Instructor & freelance Personal Trainer at Ebb & Flow Movement Studio (NASM CPT). @ballerina_fit on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Either tofu w/ vegetables & curry from Viet Thai or Fajitas at La Unica w/ corn tortillas (any Mexican place really).
What a typical day of eating looks like:
Breakfast- (most often) Vega plant-based protein powder mixed with a frozen banana and almond milk (give or take peanut butter) and 1 slice of avocado toast with sriracha
Snack- cliff or RX Bar w/ an apple
Lunch- Turkey sandwich w/ spinach, Monterrey jack cheese, and sriracha and garlic hummus
Snack- Fage 0% açaí-mixed berry yogurt or Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food Oatmeal bites
Dinner- if I cook it’s usually a homemade curry or vegan tacos… sometimes chicken w/ risotto and steamed broccoli OR a salad of whatever veggies I have in the fridge lol.
Do you follow any “diets”? I was a very strict vegan for 2.5 years until last year. Some days I’m still completely vegan just out of habit and love for the same 6 or so meals lol. In general I try not to have any specific diet these days other than eating high protein. I think the word diet can have a very restrictive and negative connotation. These days if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie and I move on with my life lol.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Gummies!!!! Gummy bears, snakes, lifesavers (split colors are the best)… gummy anything I love and get most times I’m at a gas station lol.
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: Life shouldn’t be a temporary, restrictive, crash diet where I have to be angry with myself if I have a treat or over indulge. When you eat healthy, workout and take care of yourself consistently, the random holiday treats and wine with your girlfriends on the weekend don’t effect you so much. LONG LASTING RESULTS=CONSISTENCY AND PATIENCE. THIS IS A LIFESTYLE NOT A DIET!

Finley Funsten

Where to find her: MADabolic  Charlotte, General Manager/Trainer (ISSA Strength & Conditioning Certified, StrongFirst Combat Certified, Certified ISSA Fitness Nutritionist, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified). @bacon.and.squats on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Yafo Kitchen! My go to: spinach mix + rice base, a fat ass dollop of tzatziki, sliced cucumber, sliced tomatoes, sumac onion, roasted cauliflower (add-on); schwarma chicken, tahini drizzle and the juice of ½ a lemon…and let’s not forget their fresh-to-death laffah bread!!
What a typical day of eating looks like:
-Breakfast: a large egg white omelet with broccoli, spinach, and ¼ cup almond cheese; 2 maple chicken breakfast sausage links; 1 slice of whole grain bread with 1 tbsp of light cream cheese and ½ tbsp of reduced-sugar strawberry preservatives (literally every single ingredient from Trader Joe’s)
-Pre-Workout: 1 scoop of SFH PUSH (Fruit Punch) mixed with 20 oz of cold water
-Post-Workout: SHAKE TIME! I usually get a PB & Jacked from Project LeanNation using powdered peanut butter (to keep that optimal high carb: high protein: low fat post-workout ratio). And since I am literally obsessed with all things SFH, I bring my own Vanilla SFH RECOVER protein. I love my Project LeanNation fam for being so patient with me and my bougie protein additions…
-Lunch: Project LeanNation Barbecue Stuffed Sweet Potato (from their Signature Line)
Snack: ½ pink lady apple, 1/2 bag of sugar snap peas, 2 oz grilled chicken – all chopped up in a large Tupperware bowl. So much volume!!!! I usually also chase it all down with a YELLOW juice from Clean Juice Southend!
-Dinner: 1 cup of white jasmine rice, 1 bag of Trader Joe’s cauliflower rice (yes…the whole bag), ½ sliced bell pepper, 4 oz of extra lean 96/4 ground beef – all sautéed together, seasoned with Trader Joes Chili Lime seasoning, and topped off with 3-4 tbsp of salsa and shit load of Smoked Tabasco.
-Dessert: ¾ cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt + 1 tbsp peanut butter + ¾ cup of Golden Grahams cereal
Do you follow any “diets”? I’m riding that macro train HARD, and I don’t see myself offboarding anytime soon. I absolutely LOVE the freedom that this flexible form of dieting has given me. While I source the majority of my macros from nutrient-dense foods, I freely enjoy balance by factoring “fun” foods into my day with zero guilt associated (hello red wine, TJ’s turbinado sugar and chocolate covered almonds, Hawthorne’s pizza, and Cupcrazed cookies).
Favorite guilty pleasure: Cookies…but like…REAL cookies. Specifically those crazy, fat, doughy cookies from Cupcrazed on Woodlawn. Except for the fact that I don’t feel guilty AT ALL about smashing them. When I want one, I eat one, and move the f**k on with my day.
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: Remove the “cheat meal” mentality. “Cheating” has a negative connotation…obviously. And the beloved cheat meal perpetuates the restrict/binge pattern that I see so often: restrict, restrict, restrict (either in calories or food choices) followed by a binge session (or several), followed by more restricting. Binge/restrict/binge/restrict…it’s a vicious cycle.


Pat James

Where to find him: Lab243 (NASM CPT). @withpatjames on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: My favorite meal would be from Brazwells. They have best tasting sweet salmon salad, and I add sweet potato fries.
What a typical day of eating looks like for you: My typical day of really only follows one protocol is that I meet my macro goals. I food prep which keeps me in line or I make a healthy substitute from a restaurant
Do you follow any “diets”?: Macros
Favorite guilty pleasure: a burger and fries from 5 guys. I love that place lol
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, my advice would be to keep it simple. There’s so much information out here, that it can be overwhelming. So just keep it simple and Find a source that you can trust. Then just implement the information provided.

Lee Kennelly

Where to find her: Hilliard Studio Method, Director of Training. @leekennelly on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Kid Cashew Supergreens Salad w/ grilled shrimp. Splurge (in every way): martini + seafood pasta at Toscana and oh gosh, I love the ambiance at La Belle Helene for champagne + oysters.
What a typical day of eating looks like for you: Any combo of protein + fiber + fat
Breakfast: obvi a Hilliard Studio Method Smoothie or scrambled eggs, chia and avocado
Post workout: GT’s Synergy Kombucha + Think Thin Creamy Peanut Butter Bar
Afternoon: pick 1 – nuts + fruit, veggies + hummus, yummy bowl of leftovers
Dinner: chopped salad with olive oil + balsamic vinegar or roasted veggies, plus pick 1: fish, usually salmon, black beans + quinoa, lentils, veggie based soup
Dessert: Wine
Do you follow any “diets”?: No, nothing strictly. As you can tell, I’m a protein, fiber and fats girl. I avoid refined sugar altogether because it provides zero fuel for me and cheese platters are so fun, but also don’t make me feel great.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Said sweets and cheese 🙂
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: Create a healthy relationship with food: 1. get off the scale (muscle = good pounds) 2. fuel your body and your mind with positive energy (fretting over food raises cortisol stress hormones and creates a negative cycle that causes your body to hold onto fat) 3. lose the junk, reset your tastebuds and love real food (sugar is addictive) 4. enjoy + celebrate (food is community based + brings us together. Enjoy the company first and savor the food second.)

Shawna Baker

Where you can find her: I currently teach barre at First Wind Cycling & Fitness and am just starting at Ebb + Flow Movement Studio this week. She is a Barre Intensity Master Trainer & working toward her Comprehensive Pilates Certification. @shawna.baker on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: I love the Quinoa Stuffed Avocado at Viva Chicken for a quick lunch/dinner and the fish tacos at Que Onda are the best I’ve found outside of San Diego!
What a typical day of eating looks like for you: As soon as my feet hit the floor, I start drinking water and that continues throughout the day, (sometimes I’ll add a few drops of doTerra Lemon oil)… As far as my eating habits,  it really depends on my teaching schedule for the day, but normally I’ll start with making a breakfast sandwich at home (egg, avocado, topped with the Trader Joe’s – Everything But the Bagel Seasoning Blend, maybe a slice of cheese, on Whole Wheat bread), I’ll follow that up with a coffee  – my fav coffee shops are Queen City Grounds and Waterbean Coffee, and my order is always the same, regular latte (then sometimes I’ll add a sprinkle cinnamon on top),  for a mid-morning snack I usually have a banana,  Lunch and Dinner are usually one of my meals from Project Lean Nation (I do their Lifestyle meals) and they are a life-saver for busy days,  a mid-afternoon snack is almost always a Peanut Butter Perfect Bar (I’m obsessed!) and my husband makes his own kombucha, so my “night cap” is usually a glass of Lemon Ginger kombucha.
Do you follow any “diets”?: Nope, I try to do the best I can to eat clean, and Project Lean Nation has helped a ton with that, but I’m not super strict with myself.
Favorite guilty pleasure (food related): I have a sweet tooth 🙂  Chocolate and cookies are my fav when I want a treat.
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: Everything in moderation!


Jen Knag

Where you can find her: Instructor in the PE Department at Davidson College and C2 FHIT / AFFA Group Ex., Schwinn Indoor Cycle CLASSIC and MOSSA Group Fight Certified. @jenknagfitness on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Fresh Chef in Cornelius // kale salad topped with any of their protein (but my go to would be either the salmon or herb shrimp)
What a typical day of eating looks like for you:Morning is crazy getting 3 little ladies off to school so I usually just have coffee and a bar (Quest is my go to). Kristin (creator of C2FHIT) gave us a great tip, eat healthy carbs and lean protein within an hour of your workout, so I’ve been trying to do that (eggs and/or Dave’s Killer bread toasted). I’m obsessed with boiled eggs so I at least have 3-4 as snacks with some nuts throughout the day. I literally eat a salad with left over grilled chicken (we grill a ton every Monday) every day for lunch. Dinner just depends on how crazy we are with sports and other events for the girls (chicken or fish with veggies is a go to….Dude, writing this down really makes me feel lame and realize I need to get some awesome recipes in my life ).
Do you follow any “diets”?: Most of my life I was a big calorie counter but always felt I could eat what I wanted because I worked out so much. Knowing what I know now, (diet being 80% exercise being 20%) made me realize if I wanted to see bigger changes, I needed to make bigger changes where it counted. After my last pregnancy, with my twins, I knew I needed to really dial it in knowing I wouldn’t be able to continue the same level of fitness I was used to as well as eat enough to sustain both babies and myself. This is when my husband and I started Paleo. We have found this to be an easy way to meal plan with a family, using the paleo compliant foods for all of us and adding in some non-paleo foods for the girls to enjoy, as well as us when we choose.
Favorite guilty pleasure: my husbands homemade pizza on the Green Egg.
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: I’m a big believer in “everything in moderation”. Depriving myself only makes me want it more and I eventually cave. If I give myself little moments of the things I love to eat, I stay on track.

Daniel Riggi

Where you can find him: New Era Performance  & iHealthFitness®, Owner (MS, CSCS, CPT, CHC, NS). @danielriggihf on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Healthy fav – 300 East, Black bean & chicken tortilla. Not-so healthy fav Mama Ricotta’s Chicken parm.
What a typical day of eating looks like for you: My nutrition plan changes pretty regularly and is based on what my fitness goals are. Right now, since I’m starting to increase my resistance training volume, the weekday menu looks like:
Breakfast: 1 cup of quick-oats oatmeal mixed with 1 scoop of hydrolyzed whey protein (cinnamon bun flavor) and 1 chopped banana.
Medium coffee mixed with 1 Stevia packet and almond milk.
Snack 1: Carrots and hummus OR 1 string cheese stick
Lunch (post workout): 2 Health(ier) Pb&J sandwiches, 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt mixed with a handful of organic raspberries.
Medium-sized glass of almond milk.
Dinner: 8 oz. chicken breast marinated with low-sodium seasoning, 1/2 cup of brown rice, and a baked medium-sized sweet potato (stereotypical trainer dinner, I know. Just easy to make!)
Snack 2: ½ cup of cottage cheese mixed with blueberries and organic honey.
Do you follow any diets? No particular diet plan.
Favorite guilty pleasure: I. LOVE. SWEETS. I can’t keep them in my house because I have 0 self-control
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: build a plan (fitness or nutrition) that you can stick to and enjoy while understanding that it’s a lifestyle, not a temporary fix.

Ashton Baalaer

Where you can find him: Personal Trainer at STAX  Gym, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Precision Nutrition Certification. @ashtonbaalaer on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Midwood Smokehouse (Plenty of protein), I order the Nachos Libre with BBQ Chicken or a Combo BBQ Platter with 4 different meats (and always sweet potato fries)
What a typical day of eating look like for you:
Breakfast:  2 eggs + 3 egg whites, chicken sausage, and 2 english muffins with peanut butter.
For lunch I usually have a “pancake bowl” (protein powder + all natural pancake mix + some chocolate chips).
My post-workout meal, I have lean ground beef in some corn tortillas topped with BBQ sauce and a large apple or kiwi.
My last meal is anywhere from a green protein shake to a plate of chicken with tons of veggies depending on what I feel like.. then always of course finish with some frozen yogurt ice cream 🙂
Do you follow and “diets”?:I don’t strictly follow any diet, overall I would say intuitive eating + some flexible dieting. I track macros very closely when I’m leaning out.
Favorite guilty pleasure: a huge warm cookie skillet with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or donuts!!!
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: Don’t follow a diet, follow a healthy lifestyle thats for YOU and for YOUR goals!

Lynn Fernandez

copyright wanda koch photography
Where you can find her: DatFit Training at Metro 51 Fitness. (NASM Certified Personal Trainer, AFFA Certified Group Ex, TRX Grey Rank Trainer, and Bootybarre Certified). @datfittraining on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Cooking is not my favorite thing to do so when I eat out it is usually things I would not cook at home. My favorite places to eat here in Charlotte.. Illios Noche – Salmon with white beans. Capital Grill – filet with grilled asparagus. Ink and Ivy – side order of Brussels sprouts
What a typical day of eating looks like for you: My alarm goes off at 4:30am every morning and I’m out the door by 5:15 with coffee in hand.  I’m usually eating between classes or clients so I pack my cooler with a few of my staples such as blueberries, bananas, protein shakes, boiled eggs, grilled chicken, cheese sticks, almonds, avocado, carrots and hummus.  Dinner is usually a salad of kale, spinach, any assortment of protein, cauliflower rice, sweet potatoes.
Do you follow any “diets”?: I don’t follow any particular diet.  I try to stay away from processed foods, sodas, and extra sweets.  If you fuel your body with nutrient dense foods it is basically all you need. But, don’t get me wrong..if there is a piece of chocolate left behind it’s going in my tummy!
Favorite guilty pleasure (food related): Cereal..I can’t have it in the house. Especially Fruity Pebbles. I will eat the entire box!
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: Keep it simple…don’t overthink it!

Tara Kimbell 

Where you can find her: Charlotte Athletic Club (both locations). (ACE, TRX & SPARTAN Certified, Reebok Cycle Qualified). @tara_kimbell on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: VIVA CHICKEN – Quinoa Stuffed Avocado — Organic quinoa, avocado, red peppers, rocoto mayo, balsamic vinaigrette with Chicken and the Yellow Sauce with a side of Plantains.
What a typical day of eating looks like for you:
6am Black Coffee I make at home (Starbucks Pike) + water (Try to drink 80-100 oz a day of H2O.
9am Breakfast – I make overnight Organic Oats (Maple) or an Organic Peanut Butter & Jam sandwich that I take to work.
1pm Snack/Lunch – Protein Bar usually Quest Bar or Raw Bar and some un-salted cashews or almonds + more water
3pm Snack – Green Smoothie from GreenBrothers Juice
5pm Dinner (biggest meal of the day for me) – I eat a lot of protein (Chicken, Bacon, Ground Turkey or eggs with some rice, avocado and usually another vegetable such as carrots and/or kale or a salad. + water
730 or 8pm Snack – Frozen raspberries and blueberries with a splash of Almond Milk in a bowl or when I’m feeling like I deserve it which is quite often I will eat a homemade choc chip cookie or 2 or some PB Cup Ben and Jerry’s. + water which makes it all ok, right? *H2O washes all the calories away.
Do you follow any “diets”?: I honestly have never followed a diet in my entire life thus far. Probably never will. I eat healthy for the most part and in moderation if eating a treat. What has worked for me is eating smaller meals and little snacks if I get hungry. I hate feeling full because I am always training or teaching and need to feel energized, not sluggish and/or bloated.  Ive been eating small meals for as long as I can remember as far back as my high school days and it works for me.
Favorite guilty pleasure: CARROT CAKE — Novas Bakery—hands down my “go to” guilty treat. *Every birthday Cake I’ve had from a young age was Carrot Cake.
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: Do not deprive yourself too much when it comes to a “not so healthy” food item. I always say that Its ok to eat the cake or the ice cream “sometimes”, but know that if you put those calories in your body, you better also know that you have to earn those calories by putting in the work in the gym.  I do not deprive myself, but you better bet you will see me busting my butt off for those 45 min a day when I do workout. *Ultimately though…Live Well, Eat Well, Perform Better, Look Better!

Coty Bradburn

Where you can find him: CrossFit Mountain Island, Owner (CFLI). @cotybradburn on Instagram.
Favorite meal when eating out in Charlotte: Viva Chicken. 1/2 Chicken w/green beans and Yuca.
What a typical day of eating looks like for you: 
Breakfast – 2-3 eggs + egg whites sautéed with spinach, 4 pieces of turkey bacon, 1 bagel
Lunch and dinner – some kind of lean protein, sweet potato/red potato, veggies.
Do you follow any “diets”?: if anything I’d say I stick to a pretty paleo style diet, and I track my macros and structure my meals around when I exercise/am active. I’m a big fan of nutrient timing.
Favorite guilty pleasure: chips and salsa fa lyfe
One piece of advice you live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet: balance is key. Anything that is too extreme isn’t sustainable, and anything that isn’t sustainable won’t work. you have to find a way of eating that doesn’t feel like a diet and you can sustain over the long term, and gets you closer to your goals while keeping you healthy for the long term.


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