Sweat Diaries

A Week in the Life of a Philly-Area Chef Who Loves CrossFit

Joe Monnich, chef and owner at The Bercy, Al Pastor, and Stove & Tap, shares his Sweat Diary.


Joe Monnich is the chef and owner of three Philly-area restaurants. Photographs courtesy Joe Monnich.

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: Joe Monnich

What I do: Chef and owner at The Bercy, Al Pastor, and Stove & Tap

What role healthy living plays in my life: “An active and healthy lifestyle is the only way I am able to balance the everyday grind of life — it takes a lot of energy to run a restaurant and most importantly be a father. It also helps to manage my beer and pizza addiction!”

Health memberships: I pay $149 a month at Fearless Athletics and $150 a month at Life Time.

Monday

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Chef Joe Monnich is a member of Fearless Athletics. Photograph courtesy Joe Monnich.

7:15 a.m. — My day starts as it does every morning. My four year old wakes me up between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., informing that he has slept through the night without bothering me and that he just went to the bathroom. After his morning announcement, he directs me to wake up and make him a smoothie that we share.

7:30 a.m. Fruit smoothie. This concoction consists of a banana, a handful of blueberries, frozen pineapple, coconut milk, and Fage 2% yogurt. This is my wake-up meal seven days a week. It’s a good amount of natural sugar to stimulate the body, and the majority of my dairy intake for the day, unless I’m eating pizza at some point.

10 a.m. — CrossFit at Fearless Athletics in Philly. My workout is broken up into three segments. First there is always a general warm-up using your own body weight to loosen up the muscles, followed by a strength exercise. We finished with a conditioning workout which consists of a 15 minute, one-mile run, then AMRAP five man makers, 10 weighted jump squats, and 15 tuck ups.

11:30 a.m. — I eat an RXBar and drink some water that I packed from home.

12 p.m. — I report to The Bercy in Ardmore. It’s time for work. My day generally consists of cooking in the kitchen, eating, and boosting morale. I generally try to spend at least two days a week here since I am required to be at our other restaurants a bit more. This changes week to week.

12:36 p.m. — I eat two hard-boiled eggs and half of an avocado with sea salt. This will hold me over through the lunch rush.

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Absinthe-cured salmon in the afternoon. Photograph courtesy Joe Monnich.

2:20 p.m. — I make myself my favorite appetizer, which is not a terrible lunch option: Absinthe-cured salmon with sweet pea green salad and a poppy seed dressing.

4:45 p.m. — Line check for the restaurant. I walk around and taste all of the sauces, blanched veggies, and check on the quality and quantity of the food.

5 p.m. — Dinner service begins and runs through the next four hours. I taste food CONSTANTLY.

9:15 p.m. — My dinner time. I have a pork chop with sautéed spinach and apple-green tomato jam at The Bercy. I wash it down with a glass of Pinot Blanc.

11:30 p.m. — Home from work, I decompress with a grapefruit LaCroix.

12:30 a.m. — Bed.

Daily total: $0

Tuesday

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Al Pastor tacos for lunch. Photograph courtesy Joe Monnich.

7:05 a.m. — Rise and shine with my son forcing me out of bed.

7:45 a.m. — Make my morning smoothie with the boys, pack my son William’s lunch, and try to get out the door.

8:15 a.m. — Take my son to pre-school and head to Life Time Ardmore.

9:30 a.m. — Arrive at Life Time. My workout is what ever I’m feeling for the day. This particular day I started with a 1000-meter row on the erg, followed by squat cleans and weighted lunges. I finish the work out with a 12-minute AMRAP of 100 battle rope arm waves, 40 sit-ups, and 10 kettlebell snatches, followed by a four-minute weighted run on the curved tread mill.

10:30 a.m. — Steam room, sauna, and shower.

11 a.m. — I grab a large Root to Stem juice from Robeks ($9.69).

12 p.m. — Arrive at Al Pastor in Exton. This is our Mexican restaurant in the Eagleview town center.

12:15 p.m. — Eat a pork belly Al Pastor taco, wash it down with some water and proceed to work through the lunch push.

2:30 p.m. — Leave Al Pastor to head to Stove & Tap in Lansdale, PA.

3:15 p.m. — Arrive in Lansdale, starving as usual. I eat half of an avocado with sea salt and two strips of bacon. This should keep me going until dinner.

8 p.m. — I need to eat dinner, so I make myself a big green salad with a piece of grilled salmon on top.

10:15 p.m. — I leave work. The drive home is usually 45 minutes.

11:15 p.m. — I pour myself a Booker’s Bourbon on the rocks and eat some almonds. A proper cool down from a long day is always needed. Don’t judge.

Daily total: $9.69

Wednesday

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A juice from Robeks. Photograph courtesy Joe Monnich.

6:20 a.m. — Early morning wake up courtesy of my youngest son, Jack. Thank you.

7:15 a.m. — Wake up William. Make a smoothie while feeding the kids pancakes. Pack up a lunch for the boy and get on the road.

8:15 a.m. — I bring coffee with me and drop William off at school. Then I head to The Bercy for meetings.

9:30 a.m. — I make an omelette at the restaurant with herbs and a salad for breakfast, wash it down with more coffee, and chat with the staff.

11:45 p.m. — Head to Life Time for an Express Warrior Sculpt Class, a fusion of yoga with weights. That makes it sound simple but it’s the biggest ass-kicking of the week. I can’t describe it — it takes a level of coordination that I don’t think I’ll ever have, but the workout is tremendous. It’s in a heated room and I feel like I get rung out every time I finish.

12:45 p.m. — Steam room, sauna, and shower.

1:15 p.m. — Head to Stove & Tap to finish out my day with a road soda — “Root to Stem” juice from Robeks ($9.69).

4 p.m. — Starving and need a pick-me-up. I eat two hardboiled eggs, two slices of bacon, and a small salad at Stove & Tap to tide me over through service.

8:30 p.m. — Dinnertime. I have some smoked ribs from Stove & Tap with French fries and some coleslaw. Not the best thing for you, but super delicious.

10:30 p.m. — Leave Stove & Tap to go home.

12:15 a.m. — Time to go to bed.

Daily total: $9.69

Thursday

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A late breakfast. Photograph courtesy Joe Monnich.

7 a.m. — Wake-up time.

7:30 a.m. — I make my normal morning smoothie, then make my kids some scrambled eggs and pork rolls and get ready to get William to school.

9 a.m. — Fearless Intensity Workout, a boot camp-style workout at Fearless Athletics. It’s generally a multiple conditioning workout that is meant to build stamina and strength. Today’s workout was one a LOONNGG one with too many movements to list.

10:15 a.m. — Run home to shower, and drink a protein shake. I like the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey, vanilla. It’s 24 grams of protein and not too many calories. Does the trick.

11:15 a.m. — I report to Stove & Tap and proceed to eat like a savage. I make an omelette and eat it with bacon, avocado, and a small green salad. I need it after the huge calorie burn from the morning.

3:30 p.m. — I’ve drunk a ton of water today, and I have some almonds for a snack.

6:05 p.m. — French fry break. I’m hungry. I love ketchup. It’s just going to happen.

9:15 p.m. — I’m having a New York strip with watercress salad and grilled asparagus for dinner from Stove & Tap.

10:30 p.m. — Leave work.

12:30 a.m. — Bedtime.

Daily total: $0

Friday

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Pizza night with the family. Photograph courtesy Joe Monnich.

6:45 a.m. — Wake up.

7:30 a.m. — Morning smoothie, wrangle the kids, get out the door.

8:30 a.m. — Head to Life Time Ardmore, post kid drop off.

9:15 a.m. — I’m feeling pretty unmotivated today. I need to work on my core strength, so I focus on that. I hit the treadmill for a two-mile run then do one-minute intervals of weighted planks and turn over and do flutter kicks for another minute. I’ll do this for eight minutes total. I finished with 100 sit-ups and then hit the steam room, sauna, and shower.

10:30 a.m. — Arrive at The Bercy for a short day at work.

10:45 a.m. — I need to eat something substantial, so I make an omelette with a side salad and scarf it down.

12 p.m. — I oversee a busy Friday lunch service. Lots of happy costumers.

2 p.m. — I finish up my day and think about heading home.

4:30 p.m. — Tonight is pizza night with the family. I pick up a pepperoni pie from PIZZA Shackamaxon in Fishtown ($24). They have the best pizza in Philly. I also pick up a six-pack of miscellaneous beers from the six-pack shop and go home ($20).

5:15 p.m. — Treat yo’ self!

7:30 p.m. — Pop some popcorn, sit on the couch with the wife and kids, and enjoy a movie.

10 p.m. — Pass out in a pizza-induced coma.

Daily total: $44

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $63.38

Fearless Athletics workouts: 2

Life Time workouts: 3

Steam/Sauna Sessions3

Robeks juices: 2

Fruit smoothies: 5

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