We are thrilled to be working with Darren Tomasso on our new health & wellness title, Metropolis Sport launching in February 2020. We wanted to take some time to introduce you to Darren, and hear more from him over the next few months leading to the launch of Metropolis Sport. Welcome, Darren!
WinYourDay is an integrative approach between quality eating and sleep, efficient and effective training, mindfulness, stress reduction, and intentional planning. Darren views each aspect of one’s health as an interdependent relationship that, over time, come together to form your best overall self and a lifelong health journey.
Full Name: Darren Tomasso
Hometown: Vineland, NJ
Job Title: Health and Wellness Consultant, Director of Training at Session, Head of Strength and HIIT at Throwdown
Education: The University of Pennsylvania, Psychology BA
Certification: NASM Performance, Corrective Exercise, and Nutrition Specialist
Hobby: Reading, writing, working out, cooking, shoes are a bit of a vice for me, avid NBA and tennis fan, fantasy basketball, 2K basketball on Xbox, sleep.
MM: Go-to breakfast before you #WinYourDay
DT: Breakfast isn’t really the most important meal of the day. That idea was highly driven by lobbyists and advertising from big food manufacturers. Traditional American breakfast foods are highly processed, carb and sugar-heavy, and don’t include many vegetables.
Instead, I just focus on getting my body and its systems going in the morning. The first thing I do when I wake up is to drink at least 24 ounces of water (since I was unable to drink water for 7-8 hours while sleeping). I avoid drinking coffee first thing in the morning because it can further dehydrate you and increase cortisol levels with the spike in heart rate.
During colder months, I like a cup of ginger and turmeric tea to warm me up. They’re also potent anti-inflammatories, so they’re great for recovery, especially if I’m training in the morning.
From there, I seek out nutrient-dense foods. Again, my goal is to prepare my mind and body so I can win my day. That may be a smoothie, juice, or bowl with plenty of multi-colored veggies and healthy fats.
My go-to morning smoothie: Kale, 1/4 cucumber, ginger, chia seed, pea protein, and some essential amino acids (like goji berries or spirulina)
MM: What daily routine do you put in place to create a pattern for success?
DT: It starts the night before, writing down my game plan to win my upcoming day. It also helps my quality of sleep knowing that I wrote down what I need to do the next day and can sleep with a clear mind.
I try to stay consistent with my sleep to maintain a good circadian rhythm since that may be the best way to improve sleep quality; 9 pm in bed and up by 5 am.
Most days I’m in the gym by 6:30 am with my first client, so I try to set the time I have in the morning on my own terms. After I wake up and rehydrate, I dedicate 5-10 minutes just to meditate and breathe before I open my phone. During this time, I will revisit the game plan I wrote the night before and adjust accordingly. I have two alarm clocks in my room so I don’t have to rely on my phone.
I then do something light to get moving and bring awareness back to my body: foam rolling, stretching, push-ups, bridges or squats.
My busiest blocks of time with clients are 6:30-11 am and 4-8 pm. I use the time between blocks to work out, read, write, program, and work on projects I have outside of training sessions. Before every workout, I meditate for 5-10 minutes to focus my mind on the work at hand.
My mealtimes are generally consistent and I only eat within an 8-10 hour window. My motto is “more plants, more life,” meaning I limit my consumption of animal products to one meal a day (I view them as a side dish), vary my protein sources (lentils and curried chickpeas are my go-to’s), and load my plate with nutrient-dense plants of different colors to fuel me.
I will have a nutrient-dense smoothie or juice upon waking (it’s technically eating, but I think of it as my morning cup of coffee.) Then, my eating window officially starts around 11-12 pm with lunch. Next, I have some kind of light meal after lunch like yogurt mixed with chia seed, flaxseed, and protein powder, followed by dinner around 6 pm. I’ll eat something light 1-2 hours before bedtime. Call me crazy but I often snack from those boxes of fresh mixed salad greens.
MM: How do you spend a day-off from the gym?
DT: People think I work out all the time because I am in the gym every day training my clients, but that’s far from the truth. I only workout 3-4 days a week in order to give myself time to recover. I prefer to think of them as “recovery days” to rejuvenate me physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I believe that what you do in the gym should fuel everything you do outside of it. Overtraining and under recovering can just increase stress hormones, reduce energy and sleep quality – preventing you from reaching your goals.
I make sure I plan training and recovery days ahead of time to hold myself accountable. An off-day shouldn’t be off from the other pillars of your holistic health. I still have to have quality sleep, eating, stress relief, stretching, and mobility so I maintain energy and productivity.
Even though I don’t go to the gym every day, I try to move every day. Maybe some bodyweight exercises at home, foam rolling, stretching, or mobility flow when I wake up, or before bed to help me wind down.
I also plan at least one week off from the gym entirely every year: a nice mental and physical reset I learned from one of my coaches and mentors at Penn. After that week away from the gym, I come in with new energy and vigor.
MM: What is your greatest source of inspiration? Why?
DT: My greatest source of inspiration is knowing that every morning I wake up, I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life by helping them get closer to their goals, educating them, and bringing them a mindset that helps them win their day.
When I first started my health journey, I was fortunate to have positive influences in my life to coach, motivate and educate me.
Now, it’s my mission to pay it forward by giving people the tools necessary to win their day.
MM: What is one healthy habit you want our readers to adopt in 2020?
DT: Less is more. Small wins over time leads to more success in the future. Oftentimes, 80% effort is better than trying to give 150% effort and burning out or giving up in frustration. You don’t need to change everything all at once and you don’t need to go hard in the gym every day. It’s a longitudinal process.
Start small and build from there. For example, if your goal is to be able to cook most of your meals, start by preparing all of your lunches for a week. Once you do that, try for 2 weeks, and then a month. Then, add dinner 3 days a week and so on. This is how you master your goals.
Also, eat more vegetables. One out of ten people doesn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables… So that’s two habits.
MM: Words to live by?
DT: If you train with me you’ll frequently hear me yell out, “we like to have fun here.” If you have fun and enjoy the process, I guarantee you’ll reach your goals quicker, while living a healthy, happy, and sustainable life.
Follow Darren on Instagram @darrentomasso