Antoni Porowski de Queer Eyseptember 12, 2019
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Real-Life Diet is a series in which GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and everyone in-between about their diets and exercise routines: what’s worked, what hasn’t, and where they’re still improving. Keep in mind, what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
Antoni Porowski might be a food and wine expert, and arguably the fittest Queer Eye cast member, but even he is not immune from a case of what he calls the “fuck-its.” That is to say: A moment in time—typically on the weekend—when he abandons his plant-based diet in favor of some radically less healthy take-out meals.
Yes, Queer Eye’s resident chef indulges in take-out, too. Normally, however, he’s guiding strangers through the joys of cuisine creation, which he recently expanded into a newly-released cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen. He says the cookbook recipes are heavily influenced by his Polish roots, but there are plenty of other dishes that he feels are representative of his multicultural upbringing, which was split between Quebec and the United States.
During a break from filming the new season of Queer Eye in Philadelphia, Porowski spoke to GQ about his diet—“fuck its” and otherwise—as well as his all-time favorite meals to serve up, and how he maintains a steafast workout routine when he’s away from his New York trainer and fancy workout classes. (Hint: The answer involves an at-home exercise app and… another trainer.)
GQ: What’s your workout regimen like these days?
Antoni Porowski: I work out six times a week. When I’m in New York, I have a trainer. I go to the gym early in the morning about three times a week, and then I’ll do one workout by myself. I have my own little routine that I do depending on which muscle groups I’ve already worked. I get easily distracted, and that’s why working with a trainer is helpful, because otherwise I’ll end up on my phone and then a workout will take me an hour and 40 minutes. When I’m with him, I bust it out in 45 minutes.
A super important thing that I started doing recently is understanding the importance of stretching. I do that for about 15 minutes. Before a workout, I use a foam roller, and then after a workout, I always do stretches that involve muscle groups that I wasn’t even working that day. It makes everything less painful later. Aside from that, I love to throw in different classes—SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and ToneHouse, even though that last one is really aggressive.
Are you still able to work out six days a week with your shoot schedule?
I’m actually in Philly because we’re filming a new season, but I try to get to New York as often as I can. Whenever I’m there, I still see my trainer. But I also have a really awesome trainer in Philly, who I met when we were filming in Kansas City last year. I see him every morning before shooting, and we do a lot of exercises using body weight. I don’t like doing very heavy weights because I have pretty shitty knees from swimming and boxing when I was younger, so with him, it’s a lot of resistance bands.
Filming is exhausting in many ways, but at the same time, if I don’t do physical activity on any given day, I don’t sleep as well. I’m a very hyper person, and I’m actually ADHD, so I have to stay simulated all the time. When I get it out of my system in the morning, I have more energy during the day, if that makes any sense.
Do you have a favorite muscle group to work out?
I know a lot of people hate leg day, but I was born with what I call a negative ass—the Porowskis are not blessed with butts—and I’ve always wanted to have one that’s proportional to the rest of my body. I started working on a lot of glutes, legs, quads, and I really developing my legs.
How did you arrive at your current workout routine?
I was always very active as a kid and played different sports, and then when I got older and started university, I stopped practicing. You’re focused on getting a really high GPA and figuring out what the hell you’re going to do with the rest of your life, and you don’t really have time to exercise, because your face is just in books.
It was a few years after university—and it was actually my first relationship with a guy after dating women—that I was suddenly very aware of my body. The man I was seeing worked out regularly, and we started working out together at the end of every day. I think vanity kicked in.
Yeah. That happened before the show, but also, when you’re on camera and somebody comes up to you and offers you an underwear campaign, suddenly it’s like, holy shit, people are watching. I need to look cute. So while working out is obviously good for being healthy, of course there is a vanity component as well. I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t.
Since you’re the food guy for Queer Eye, what’s your diet look like?
I’m kind of a walking contradiction. During the week, I eat a lot of plant-based foods. I have greens that are high in fiber and I eat a lot of fruits at night, but I eat only between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm. It took me three months to actually get accustomed to that.
In Philly, with our long shoot schedules, sometimes I just come home and eat whatever it is that I can get. I always find a couple of green-bowl places or healthy spots where I can get a grilled salmon filet with a whole bunch of broccolini and some lentils or farro on the side, so I don’t feel like human garbage before I go to sleep.
Do you have any cheat meals?
A couple nights during the week I’ll get the serious “fuck-its,” and that’s when I do take-out, usually Indian food. Indian food is the ultimate comfort food; it’s what I was raised on when my parents would travel. I’d like to tell you that it’s only Sundays that I cheat, but it’s usually Saturdays and Sundays. Weekends are really a free-for-all. That’s when I have people over for dinner, and I don’t want to worry too much about what I’m eating. On Sundays, I’ll wake up in the morning and order a bagel with egg and bacon from Tompkins, I’ll make my own sriracha, and then just down one of those with reckless abandon.
I also still love dairy—I’m a dairy freak, and I have been my whole life, even though I’m lactose intolerant. During the week, I try to stay away from dairy, and will stick to an iced oat milk latte. On the weekends, I’ll have a full-fat cappuccino with a croissant, and I’ll slather offensive amounts of Nutella on it. And I just found out recently that my favorite cheese in the world, cabot clothbound cheddar, is naturally lactose-free because of how it’s made, which is kind of awesome.
Which are some of your all-time favorite recipes?
I love smoky skillet fajitas, which I made for Tan [France] and Jonathan [Van Ness] literally every season of Queer Eye. Now, we try to have a fajita night once a week. The blackened swordfish is another good one that’s super easy to make. Whole roasted snapper is actually a whole fish, but it’s the least intimidating recipe in my book, in my opinion. When people see a whole fish, they freak out, because they think it’s so difficult to deal with, but it’s super simple, extremely flavorful, and not expensive.
Do you have a current fitness goal you’re trying to meet other than working on your “negative butt”?
It’s really about maintenance at this point, and just making sure that if I have the “fuck-its,” on a Tuesday or Wednesday and eat a bunch of pizza, then I don’t have pizza again that week. I don’t stay too precious about like, I want to attain this, or I want to be a certain way. I try not to pay too much attention to what I see in the mirror. My mood can very much affect my perception of my body.
If someone can’t regularly make it to the gym, what would you recommend for them?
This isn’t an endorsement, but there’s an app I use called Chest Workout Plan. It focuses on chest, butt, and abs. For the most part, it only involves body weight, and you can do anywhere between a five-minute workout and a 21-minute workout. You can do it on your living room floor, put on an episode of Queer Eye or whatever the hell you want to watch, and time will fly by.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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