Sweat Diaries: The Software Engineer Who Spends $311 a Week on Boutique Fitness

A week in the life of a Philly-based software engineer who loves SLT, SoulCycle, and Pure Barre.

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend a week tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com with details. 

Who I am: Hee Jin Cho, 30, from Rittenhouse Square

What I do: Work in software sales and engineering

What role health and fitness plays in my life: Fitness is a grounding force in my life; it helps me reset and refocus and take into perspective what really matters, which is my health and happiness.

Health memberships: A subscription to the Simple Habit Meditation app, which I pay $11.99 per month to use. My husband, Peter, and I also practice yoga using the Asana Rebel app ($49 per year), and it’s a great way to stretch out or do quick five to 15-minute sessions when we need to roll out our muscles.


Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

7 a.m. — Why can’t I sleep past 7 a.m.? I finish drinking the liter bottle of water I opened last night and hop out of bed to practice five-minute yoga on the Asana Rebel app with my husband. He’s way more into yoga than I am, and I find myself drifting once or twice.

7:30 a.m. — COFFEE. I grind up some beans from Good Karma and drink a cup from our French press. I’m not a big breakfast person and prefer working out on an empty stomach in the morning. Peter and I then walk our dog, Bobo.

8:15 a.m. — I walk into SoulCycle for Elysse’s 8:30 class ($26). SoulCycle is an amazing stress-reliever and something of a therapy for me. Sometimes I ride entire songs with my eyes closed, just feeling the energy and the sweat, and I come out completely refreshed, 100-percent of the time.

9:15 a.m. — Drenched in sweat and exhilarated, I rush over to SLT for a 9:30 with Denita ($26).

10:20 a.m. —  I shakily scrape myself off the Megaformer after a 50-minute class. I somehow manage to drink all my water, and then I stop into Konditori on 17th street and Chestnut for a post-workout coffee ($2.99).

10:45 a.m. — Home. I peel off my sweaty clothes into an ever-teetering pile of laundry that I try not to make eye contact with. Shower.

11 a.m. — I make vegetarian tacos (tofu-soyrizo scramble on a tortilla with some avocados) and drink a giant glass of lemon water for brunch.

11:30 a.m. — In my office, I attempt to bang out some content for a presentation I’m giving in two weeks. I contemplate another cup of coffee, but I swear my cat’s looking at me like, Really?, so I have half a bottle of iced Joe Tea ($0.98)

2 p.m. — I can’t stare at the screen anymore, so I decide to start prepping dinner and veggies for the week.

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

3 p.m. — I’ve got about a pound of bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery all cleaned and sliced into portions for both snacking and cooking. I need a nap.

3:30 p.m. — Back to work!

6:30 p.m. — Work done, another liter of water down the hatch. Dinner is an anchovy-based sauce over an eggplant stack and a whipped-goat-cheese-topped cauliflower.

Daily total: $55.97


Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

6 a.m. — Wake up.

6:30 a.m. — Shower, let the dog out, COFFEE. I have an odd relationship with coffee. Sometimes I’ll drink five-plus cups a day, or I won’t drink any at all. This morning, I grind up some beans from Good Karma and drink a cup of French press.

7 a.m. — Quick walk over to 30th Street Station to catch the Amtrak to New York. I’m in NYC at least four times a month.

7:20 a.m. — I work on the train. I drink more (free) coffee at the office, then I’m in meetings.

10:13 a.m. — In desperate need of a snack. I walk to Bluestone Lane near the office and get an avocado smash with a poached egg and a black coffee ($21.50).

11:45 a.m. — I turn to Seamless for lunch options. I order a turkey wrap with lettuce instead the tortilla wrap and a bag of fruit chips from Frame (free, thanks to work).

4:45 p.m. — Last meeting is done. Customer and sales rep asks if I want to join them for drinks, but I decide I need to sweat it out. I pack up my bag and run to SoulCycle ($34).

6:25 p.m. — I feel awesome. Sweaty and gross, but awesome. I decide to walk to Penn Station. On the way, I stop at E-Mo in Koreatown and grab spicy tuna kimbap (Korean seaweed rolls) to munch on the train home ($13.52).

7:20 p.m. — Ride the Acela back to Philly.

9:10 p.m. —  Home. My husband, the saint, has a vesper and gouda waiting for me, so I eat a little of that before I do my nightly routine of lying in bed with a notebook. I like to center myself for the next morning by writing down the things, both work and non-work related, and prioritizing.

10:30 p.m. — List done, meditation app on, I doze off.

Daily total: $69.02


Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

5:45 a.m. — Today’s the first day I felt that I could actually sleep in. But I’m scared/in love with my SLT instructors so I push the cat off me, drag myself out of bed, and force myself to drink some of the coffee. I let my dog out, then off to SLT it is.

7:30 a.m. — Ever been punched in the gut while someone is trying to use your abs to squeeze oranges really hard? That’s what that last class felt like ($26).

8 a.m. — Shower, then time for emails. I drink some more coffee and open my laptop.

11:30 a.m. — I can’t look at emails or answer phone calls anymore, so I walk over to Pure Barre. Today, class is full of all the old regulars, so the instructor tortures us. During stretch, it feels euphoric and I’m grateful for the sweat ($23).

1 p.m. — Walking the dog, I get a panicked phone call that sends me into office mode. I run home and chomp on celery and carrots while I work.

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

3:30 p.m. — I realize it’s 3:30 and I haven’t eaten anything. Problem is, the calls keep coming. Only thing at hand is a bunch of Sugarfina champagne gummies, so I have about a 100 of those (really great diet, I know).

4:30 p.m. — I use Instacart to order a bunch of food from Whole Foods ($53.12).

6 p.m. — Groceries arrive. I’m making Beef Taco Skillet from Live, Laugh, Yum! I throw the ingredients in together and stick it in the oven. I also make an Old Fashioned cocktail.

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

7 p.m. — Peter walks in the door bearing a slice of cake from Di Bruno Bros. Did I mention this man is a saint? We eat the skillet dish with some freshly sliced avocado and onions. I pair mine with a Daisy Cutter IPA.

9:10 p.m. — After doing my priority list, we watch old episodes of The Simpsons.

11 p.m. — Lights out, eye mask on, meditation app on, sleep.

Daily total: $102.12


Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

8 a.m. — This morning isn’t too insane, so I decide to make breakfast until I have to answer emails. I make a four-egg feta cheese omelet, sprinkle some curry powder, and have that with half an avocado and some cherry tomatoes. I drink more of the Good Karma coffee. My husband turns on Asana Rebel app for a 45-minute yoga session, but I have to stop after 20 minutes to take a customer call.

9:30 a.m. — I drink some more coffee. Interesting aspect of being a software sales engineer is that there are times when it’s non-stop fire drills, but there are lulls when I’m free to go work out, make a complicated dinner, or go shopping.

10 a.m. — Starting the day with Pure Barre sounds like a good idea ($23). Halfway through the warm up, I find myself wishing for tequila.

11 a.m. — I hop over to Di Bruno’s for an unsweetened matcha latte ($4.99).

12:10 p.m. — My inbox is not full of emails that begin with “I NEED YOU NOW!!” so I pick up my dog and we go for a stroll. I can’t resist the pull of the Bakeshop on 20th, so I go in and get a ricotta cookie for me and a brookie for Peter ($6.50).

12:30 p.m. — I’m not all that hungry, so I decide to power through until dinner.

2:30 p.m. — I’m crashing a little bit and reach for my Sugarfina champagne gummies. I have a minor but persistent addiction to the damn things and will buy them in five-pound bags. They’re sitting on my desk next to a bunch of Girl Scout cookies. I munch on ten of the delicious little things while mowing through emails

3:30 p.m. — The afternoon crash is real. Rather than reach for more gummies, I take the dog for a walk around the block.

4:30 p.m. — I cave. Three Thin Mints down the hatch.

5:45 p.m. — Emails done, work done. I turn on Asana Rebel and do a quick five-minute stretch in the kitchen.

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

5:50 p.m. — Time for salad assembly. I’m making a warm steak salad with the veggies in my fridge that are crying for help.

6:30 p.m. — I drink a sauvignon blanc.

7 p.m. — Dinner is awesome.

8 p.m. — More Simpsons. I drink a glass of Widow Jane bourbon neat.

9 p.m. — Bed. Notebook. Cat. I open a bottle of sparkling water and drink half a liter before I find myself wanting another Thin Mint. Time to sleep instead.

Daily total: $34.49


Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

5 a.m. — All that sugar from the day before isn’t helping. I wake up, finish my water, and get dressed for SoulCycle.

6 a.m. — I’m both euphoric and suffering in Ryan Lewis’ class ($26).

7 a.m. — Feeling super light after the sprints and the runs, I treat myself to a Buzzed smoothie at Sip-n-Glo ($9). The coffee hit is just what I need.

7:30 a.m. — I get home and eat some leftover salad while drinking coffee. I answer emails for a bit.

8:30 a.m. — I drag myself to SLT and plop on a machine ($26).

10 a.m. — Back home, I put in a load of laundry. I bought this sports-specific detergent from Amazon called Rockin’ Green Active Wear. I mix a spoonful into the detergent, and the clothes come out smelling super fresh.

10:30 a.m. — Work and coffee.

1:30 p.m. — I’m craving carbs but I opt for Shirataki noodles with kimchi, sesame seed oil, a poached egg, dried peppers, and pollack roe. I pair that with some avocado and about two liters of water.

2:30 p.m. — Back to work. I’m dying for a Diet Coke, but I remember the Girl Scout cookies and decide to have one Thin Mint.

3:40 p.m. — Four thin mints and 12 emails later, I’m feeling pretty guilty.

5 p.m. — Done working, I order a bottle of Curator Cab Sauvignon from Quick Sip ($0, thanks to a gift card).

5:55 p.m. — My wine arrives in record time, as I’m making a chicken and lemon caper dish.

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

6:30 p.m. — Peter walks in, and we have some cheese, I drink a cabernet, and we dig in to dinner.

7:30 p.m. — I have a lot of work to do, so I go back to my desk  few more hours. I finish the last of my wine and another handful of gummy bears.

10 p.m. — Bedtime.

Daily total: $61


Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

8 a.m. — I make coffee and answer phone calls. No breakfast for me today.

10 a.m. — Pure Barre time. Alisyn kills me, and I’m wobbling as I walk out of class ($23).

11 a.m. — I check emails while sitting at Bluestone Lane with a macha latte and an avocado smash with a poached egg ($21.50).

12:15 p.m. — At SoulCycle, Denita has the whole class rapping to Bodak Yellow by the end of class and I feel awesome walking out ($26).

1:30 p.m. — I walk the dog, and we split some strawberries and blueberries for lunch.

5 p.m. — FINALLY. I’m too wiped to make or cook anything, so I turn to Caviar and order an Arizona roll with brown rice and korokke from Fuji Mountain. I also love a good sip of tequila — Herradura silver is my favorite. ($35.01)

6:30 p.m. — Bad idea. I’m drunk.

7 p.m. — Somehow we have the great idea to eat gummy bears. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur.

Daily total: $82.51


Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

8 a.m. — I wake up somewhat blurry eyed. Did I bring gummy bears into bed with me?

8:15 a.m. — I feel human after a shower and a large coffee. We do a little bit of yoga before heading off to our respective workouts. I hit SoulCycle again ($26).

9:30 a.m. — Soul done, sweat dripping, I go to my husband’s office for a cup of coffee.

10:30 a.m. — I decide to go to SLT, where my girl Denita is CRUSHING her class ($26).

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

11:30 a.m. — I crawl out of class and meet Peter for a quick bite at Bluestone Lane. We split an egg dish and a black coffee.

1 p.m. — At home, I do a load of laundry and write a list of all the groceries we need for the week.

4 p.m. — Time for champagne. I sip on a glass while I answer some emails.

Photograph courtesy Hee Jin Cho.

6 p.m. — Peter and I walk to Double Knot, where we have Kobe beef hot dogs, uni rolls, duck scrapple, and a crispy tuna appetizer. We also have one cocktail each ($85.50).

8 p.m. — We walk home and stop for gelato at Gran Caffe L’Aquila.

10 p.m. — In bed with a book. I drift off with the meditation app.

Daily total: $137.50

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $542.61

SLT classes: 4

SoulCycle classes: 5

Pure Barre classes: 3

Yoga sessions: 3

Cups of coffee: 16

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