Cam Newton has clipped in from the comfort of home for a little extra motivation from Alex Toussaint. And when you hear the 28-year-old talk, it isn't surprising. When he drops some inspirational patter—perhaps he's feeling extra “blessed,” one of his signatures—it just hits a little harder. That attitude is certainly a big part of what's made the Long Island native one of Peloton's biggest stars.
The fitness giant has parlayed pandemic-enforced isolation into an absolutely massive year—the company's stock has more than tripled in value since the beginning of March. But Toussaint has been at the company for ages, relatively speaking, having joined up in 2016 after leaving spin rival Flywheel, where he got his start mopping the floors. Now he digitally teaches thousands of riders each day, and keeps the inspirational talk going even off the bike: “I thrive knowing that every single day I have an opportunity to go live out my passion,” he tells GQ. “I don't have a job. I have a passion and just wake up everyday every single day to live that out. That excites me.”
We recently caught up with Toussaint to talk about his workout routine and diet, from what goes in his morning protein shake to his favorite sweet treat.
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: Is there such a thing as a normal day in your life?
Alex Toussaint: My eyes open around 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. I have this routine that I'm very strict on. Before my feet touch the ground, I do this inhale confidence thing. I take time to be present, thank God for an opportunity to wake up and the opportunity to inhale confidence. I take three strong, deep breaths before my feet touch the ground. Then when I go to the bathroom, after I wash my face and brush my teeth, I actually do the same routine again—but on the third exhale, I actually yell into the mirror. My neighbors probably think I'm crazy for that, but it's just my way of letting all of my negative energy out and releasing anything weighing me down mentally or physically from the day before, from the week before, whatever the case may be. This way, I start the day with a new, fresh mindset and new, fresh approach. I’ve been really diligent on that for the past three years.
Strong start to the day. Then what happens?
If I have time, I'll try to get on the Peloton app and do a 10- to 20-minute meditation. If not, I’ll make a smoothie before I head out the door with my puppy—he’s an eight-month-old French bulldog and he’s gotta get his morning cardio in.
What’s in the smoothie?
Almond milk, frozen pineapple and strawberries and Ladder protein. I'm a texture guy and the texture is totally different if you’re going with frozen versus fresh fruit. Oh, and vanilla protein at all times. Then, it’s ideally my turn to get a workout. I'm an early workout guy. I hit it by 8:00 A.M. if possible, at the latest. Whether it's basketball, cross training, even getting on the Peloton—I just need some kind of movement for the body, because I know later on that day, I'll probably have to teach, and I like to work out before I teach. That way, my body is ready—it’s good prep for the class.
What’s for lunch?
Either I'm going to have a big chicken salad or something with some rice and heavy protein. I don't have a strict diet. I have a term I use, I disciplined myself within the freedoms. Basically, I'm a very loose kind of person. I know what my body can take in and what it can't. I know I disciplined myself enough where it's like, I know I can't eat certain things on certain days. So I have a crazy sweet tooth, I love things like cereal and cookies. But I know that over the course of a week, I'm not eating that every single day. By Thursday, I get a little more flexible. I'm very big on Grandma's Cookies.
Like, from your grandma in the mail?
No no, it’s a brand name. But you know if my grandma was sending my cookies that I wouldn’t be able to just eat them on the weekends.
As far as where I get the inspiration for my meals, though, I come from a Caribbean background, where our foods are very high protein, very heavy in carbs. Given that I cycle so often, I do need to make sure I put certain things into my body to make sure I don't lose muscle mass.
When do you get to the act of teaching during the day?
Usually it’s in the afternoon after I spend time working on my business. I’ll get to the studio and knock them out, it could be one, two or three classes back-to-back. After my classes, that’s my time to decompress.
Talk to us about that.
Well, I'm kind of wired for like an hour or two after class. So I actually find myself going on walks after class, or even getting into my car and going on long drives. Living in New York, it can be hard to find a place of stillness, a place of peace. I'm from long Island where you could walk out your back door and you can live in peace, but I've been living in the city and it’s very different.
What I do can definitely be overstimulating, and in order to not shut down I need to take this time so I can be at my peak performance at all times. It’s one of the biggest things I tell people: As much as you recover physically, you also need to recover mentally, too. My mother always says you can't pour from an empty cup. I don’t just need a cup that’s full. I need a cup that’s overflowing so I can offer some to our community.
What’s for dinner?
Dinner is similar to lunch. Sometimes I even eat the same meal. I make sure to have some vegetables to make sure that I get my greens in. And then afterward, if I’ve had a really stressful day, I’m all about playing some basketball late at night. That's very big to me. I love to just get into the rhythm of shooting and running. I’d say that basketball has honestly saved my life, many times.
Anything else we should know about your overall wellness routine?
Nights are the best for me. I’m on the couch, I’m wearing my Normatec boots. I’m big on sports. I’m not out of the house a lot. I just wanna inspire my people, show love to my people, go home, and keep it safe. Sure, I’ll eat out sometimes, I love Catch Steak. But honestly, I have my routine, and I stick with it.
The actor was done bulking up for the camera—until Damon Lindelof called with an offer he couldn't refuse.
Originally Appeared on GQ