Perhaps surprisingly for someone on the brink of dropping his sixth studio album, 2 Chainz isn’t stressed in the slightest. In fact, he’s feeling better than ever. Over the past six months, the rapper’s been dialing in a healthier lifestyle, which he credits for making him feel on top of his game. (Despite a ridiculous sleep schedule—the man behind “I’m Different” typically goes to bed at 7 a.m.)
GQ recently caught up with 2 Chainz to chat intermittent fasting, his backyard garden, the one food he wishes he’d eat less.
For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and everyone in between about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
GQ: What time does your day start?
2 Chainz: My day begins at night because I'm an artist, and I'm up all night. I literally go to sleep about 6:30 or 7:00 every morning. I spend my nights recording, in my man cave of sorts. I'm an only child, and I don't really consider myself having best friends after my father passed. So, it’s a lot of "me time" at night. My engineer hangs with me, his name’s Nolan, and I appreciate him. And of course my dog named Trappy, he’s my emotional support animal. We go everywhere together; he’s about 5 years old.
Anyway. The day technically starts once I wake up around 12:30 or 1 p.m.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the afternoon?
I drink a bottle of water. Then, I go to the gym on an empty stomach. After the gym, I like to get my protein in because I do a hard workout, so that’s important. My smoothie contains a plant-based protein, cinnamon, and powdered peanut butter. By the time I have it, I’m starving. It’s the first thing I put into my body during the day because I do this thing called intermittent fasting, so I’m only eating for an 8-hour period while I’m awake. It just really attacks whatever fat you have.
Then do you have another meal right after that?
Yeah. So I get home, and I’m big on protein and vegetables. I’m working with LG, and they got me this oven that has a built-in air fryer, which is great. I eat salmon sometimes. I’m also really big on what I like to call my Tity Boi turkey burgers—I eat them all of the time and I have them at my restaurant. It’s a ground turkey patty mixed with feta cheese and spinach with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pepper jack cheese.
Is there anything you don’t eat?
I don't eat beef. I don’t eat pork. I love greens and I love beans. I don't eat candy. My dad was a diabetic. A lot of the things that I've been doing, it's been a habit. The intermittent fasting is new, but as far as the foods that I’m eating—I’ve been this way. I also grow a lot of stuff because we have a garden out back. I ate okra yesterday that we got from the garden, and I’ve also got bell peppers and mint back there too. I really appreciate the farm-to-table thing. Oh and I love a good salad with turkey bacon, you cut it up real small. This isn’t me just saying this for the interview. This is my real life.
When did you get into intermittent fasting?
The beginning of the pandemic really messed up my eating habits—I would get up and I would smoke the joint and it would make me hungry and then I would have to eat. I knew I wanted to be better, so now I don't do any of that. I mean, I still smoke. But I've been strict on this diet for about six months now.
I think so many people are caught up in breakfast being the most important part of the day they overdo it first thing, but no one tells you that you can eat breakfast any time of the day. I really believe it's very important to get your heart going, get your blood moving, the oxygen flowing. It makes my day better. Even though I get started later than everyone else, it starts off right.
What happens after you eat that first big meal?
Once I start eating, I’m eating something every one-and-a-half to two hours. I really, really try not to eat fries, but the air fryer makes it so easy, so I have those for a snack sometimes. I feel like a low-level chef. If it’s not fries, it’s chicken wings. And if I’m just looking for something really fast, then my snacks are mostly cherries, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, and nuts like walnuts or cashews or lightly salted almonds.
What else are you doing aside from eating during the day if you don’t get to work until the nighttime?
Well, I don't really start my day until later in the evening because I try to wait for my kids to come home from school so I can spend time with them. They get home around 3:30 or 4:00, and I spend time with them for a few hours. Sometimes I help with homework, but to be honest, you know Always Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Are we? I don’t know really. But I like to think that I help.
We hang out and we have dinner—they eat a lot of the same healthy stuff that I eat. Lots of proteins. Then we put them to bed and it’s time for me to go into my man cave of sorts.
Do you ever deviate from eating healthy?
Well, I have a couple clubs here in Atlanta. When I go there, they have delicious fries. They just hit different at 3 a.m. I’m really trying to work on that.
What are you excited about right now?
I’m excited about the NBA championship. I'm excited about my life. I’m excited that my kids have gotten back to school and everything seems to be fine with that, no one is coming back with any symptoms and everyone in their classes are fine. I'm about to drop a new album, So Help Me God. And really, I’m just in a place where I’m excited to be a better husband, father, friend, and person. Some people didn't get up this morning. I realize what a blessing that is, that I did.
Anything else you got for me?
It’s not that hard to eat good. So just avoid the candy and the soda and avoid processed foods and that’s what’s up. You can do that, right?
The comedian and game show host pounds the pavement to help treat his OCD, ADHD, and high cholesterol—but really, he can't remember a time when he didn't need to move.
Originally Appeared on GQ