Yo Gotti used to be a picky eater. Not anymore—with a few exceptions. Asparagus, brussels sprouts, and kale—especially kale—are still tough to swallow, he says. But the rapper is committed to his new diet and exercise routine, which he started last October and doubled down on during quarantine.
Gotti says he’s lost 40 pounds this year, though that isn’t his main priority. In fact, his trainer encouraged him to stop looking at his scale, and instead focus on a broader goal: feeling healthier and more energetic. It took a while for Gotti to adopt that mindset—one that’s less connected to specific numbers—but he’s there now, he says. The new regimen has been a net positive. He runs with his trainer, he bikes, he boxes, and he sticks to proteins and greens. And when he wants a cheat meal, particularly his mom’s cooking, he’s still going to eat that cheat meal—just with smaller portions (and he’s not going to feel bad about it.)
The 39-year-old rapper best known for “Rake It Up” and “Down in the DM” has been building out his healthier lifestyle while making time for his musical ventures, too. He just released a new record, “Recession Proof,” and tells GQ he has another single on the way soon.
In a recent call from Los Angeles, Yo Gotti broke down his favorite workout tracks, discussed whether or not he has a second career in boxing, and detailed how he balances counting calories versus eating cleaner.
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: When did you start on this new diet and exercise routine?
Yo Gotti: I started with the workouts around October 2019. I would lose eight pounds, 10 pounds, then go back up with all the traveling. When the quarantine hit, that’s really when I got the nutrition in and got in a space where I could focus on this for three months straight. In the beginning, I was just eating cleaner, and then when the virus started, that’s when I started actually counting the calories I was taking in on a daily basis.
Can you walk me through a typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner for you these days?
I’m not really eating breakfast. I’m eating from 2 to 10, within those eight hours. When I wake up, I work out, handle my business, and my first meal comes later. My chef will prepare different types of meals, but mainly, foods with protein, and lots of vegetables. I stay away from the carbs and try to make sure I’m not intaking a whole lot of sugar. It’s just very lean and healthy.
For dinner, I do more protein—more chicken than steak. And still heavy on the vegetables. Cabbage and stuff like that. I didn’t grow up eating no vegetables. I ate at fast food restaurants every day. I didn’t even have the patience to do fine dining and waiting for them to prepare the food, because I wanted it right then. So this has been a big challenge for me, the working out and the diet. It was totally the opposite of what I’d been doing my whole life. It’s given me something to focus on during this whole quarantine. It was a goal that I set, and anybody who knows me knows that I always challenge myself.
I ain’t gonna say this was easy to do though. Early on, I didn’t see no difference when I’d step on the scale. I would ask the trainer why I wasn’t losing weight. But he explained to me that sometimes it’s about getting fitter, or losing inches, versus pounds. So the trainer actually took the scale away at one point. He said, “Let’s just work hard and think about how you feel.” And now, it’s more of a lifestyle. I like the results. I feel better, I have more energy, I’m moving around more swiftly. I like what comes with being fit and being healthy, so I’m staying on it. I’m focusing more on my core now, and maintaining what I got.
How do you get workouts in while social distancing?
Me and my trainer do it right there at the house and in the backyard. He ordered me some equipment and a bike, some jump ropes, and I was doing two-a-days for a while. I was on the bike and running. I try to wake up and make that the first thing I do every morning. It helps get my day going. Hit it early in the morning and again in the evening right before I go to bed. We was trying to do three to five miles while running, and on the bike, I’m doing 20 miles.
Are you lifting any weights?
Only during circuits. So not really weightlifting, but a big part of the workouts is boxing.
I saw on your Instagram you were boxing on a boat.
Yeah, my trainer is a boxer, so that was his idea. Boxing is a full-body workout, and while you’re in it and learning the procedures and steps, you’re working out at the same time. Sometimes it don’t feel like you’re actually working out, which I like. We’re doing 12 three-minute rounds with a short break in between. It’s intense.
Are you gaining any confidence in your boxing abilities? Are you ready to get in the ring with somebody?
Ha, nah. I ain’t getting in the ring with nobody. I’ll leave that to the professionals.
What do you listen to when you workout?
I listen to a lot of the stuff that’s on my label [CMG]. A lot of music that’s unreleased that we’re working on. When I’m working out, I’m trying to study my music, Moneybagg Yo’s music, Blac Youngsta’s music, 42 Dugg’s music. Also Lil Baby’s album.
Do you have any cheat meals left?
My cheat meal is whatever I think about. One thing about me is whatever comes to my mind, if I want it, I’m going to eat it. So when my momma made this strawberry cake for Fourth of July, I’m not going to eat five pieces like I used to, but I’m going to taste it. I can’t not eat my momma’s food.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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Originally Appeared on GQ