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Laurent Gras

The world-renowned chef on how fitness impacts his life

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You have low body fat. How hard is it to maintain that while working with food all day?
I'm pretty skinny right now. I'm 153 pounds and 5'10, so I don't have a lot of fat on me. But I'm extremely active and extremely dynamic. I don't have an office, I don't have a seat, I'm always in the kitchen working with the staff and doing things. I'm working from 8 in the morning until midnight or 1 a.m. I'm always running around.

How does your personal diet complement your high level of fitness?
I would say protein, carbohydrates and low fat. I eat here at the restaurant, so I eat with the staff. In terms of protein, I eat chicken, beef, fish, mussels, pork, whatever. And then for carbohydrates I'll have potatoes or vegetables. We'll do soup also and we do salads every day. Nothing expensive but everything is a good quality product. It's fresh and there is no cream and no butter. It's healthy food.

You're a very active cyclist. How much have you been cycling lately?
During the winter I stop riding, but I'm in the gym and I do a lot of spinning and jump rope, as well as weight on the legs. During the winter I build my muscle base for the season, so I eat more protein in the winter so I can increase the muscle mass.

What is your gym workout like?
Spinning. I usually start by doing 20 or 30 minutes of jump rope, and then I do about 60 minutes of spinning. Different simulations of the various sides of spinning, from climbing to high cadence to flat roads.

You've said you ride about 400 miles a week on your bike during the warmer months. How do you divide that up?
Mornings and afternoons. So usually I try to do two or three mornings for an hour and a half. I start at 7 a.m. and I'm done by 8:30 a.m. And I try to do a three-hour ride one afternoon, and that's usually between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. And then on my day off I do a long ride. I usually do 100 miles.

How does fitness impact other areas of your life?
It's like cleaning yourself. You push away all the toxins and you energize your body. I went to the gym today for about two hours. I was tired in the morning, but when I came back from the gym I was fresh. I only slept five hours last night. It brings a balance to my life, especially when you have a high-stress job and you spend a lot of time at work. That's why I like cycling. I get on that bike and get out of everywhere.

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