This Personal Trainer Starts Every Morning With a Big Glass of Water and a Freezing Cold Shower

Giancarlo Regni of G-Strength stays energized during long teaching days with lots of water, protein shakes, and hearty meals.


How does Gian Regni, owner of and personal trainer at G-Strength, survive teaching roughly 26 classes per week? Super cold showers and lots of protein. / Photograph courtesy of Giancarlo Regni

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 [email protected]

Who I am: Giancarlo Regni (@RealGStrength), 26

Where I live: Queen Village

What I do: I am the owner of, and a strength and conditioning coach at, G-Strength.

What role healthy living plays in my life: As a former athlete, I am always looking for ways to optimize my overall performance. For me, this means eating a balanced diet, hydrating, sleeping seven to nine hours per night, and training on a regular basis. My constant desire to live a healthy lifestyle led to making a career out of it and opening my own gym. Now, I spend every waking moment helping other people improve their lifestyles.

Health memberships (and what they cost):

This week’s grocery haul: Wegmans — $100

Monday

One of the many meals that keeps Regni going throughout his busy day is this broccoli, spinach, and cheese quiche. / Photograph by Giancarlo Regni

4 a.m. — Time to wake up! I start my morning drinking 16 ounces of water and taking a cold shower. The primary reason I do both is because they improve my overall level of alertness to keep me focused throughout the day.

4:15 a.m. — Breakfast this morning is a peanut butter and jelly protein shake. Here’s my recipe: one cup of almond milk, half a banana, two tablespoons of peanut butter, two tablespoons of strawberry jam, and one scoop of whey protein powder. (I use Whey+ by Legion Athletics.) I also take four fish oil soft gels and drink two cups of coffee. Gotta get juiced up for a busy morning!

5 a.m. — I’ve got four small-group personal training sessions this morning, meaning I’ll be going nonstop for the next four hours. My clients are great, though.

7:15 a.m. — Halfway through sessions, I snack on a Clif Builders vanilla almond protein bar.

9 a.m. — Training sessions complete! Now I’ve got a physical preparation assessment with a new client. At G-Strength, we perform an assessment and consultation with everyone who walks through our doors. This allows us to gather more information about their exercise and injury history as well as put them through a movement screening.

10 a.m. — I go on a 10-minute walk to clear my head and reflect on the morning. It’s always good to get outside and be exposed to sunlight.

10:15 a.m. — Yes, this is lunchtime for me. I run upstairs and grab a chicken salad wrap. I should mention that I live directly above my gym. I’m currently renting both spaces, which makes for an easy commute every morning.

10:30 a.m. — Now it’s my time to train! I take some pre-workout (I like Pulse by Legion Athletics) before completing a neural primer circuit. This involves six rounds of medicine ball slams, plyometric push-ups, box jumps, band pull-aparts, side planks, rear-foot elevated hip flexor stretches, and relaxed hangs from the pull-up bar.

11:30 a.m. — I drink some creatine monohydrate (Recharge by Legion Athletics) to refuel before hitting the showers.

12 p.m. — Another small-group personal training session to lead.

1:15 p.m. — Time for my second lunch: a piece of broccoli, spinach, and cheddar quiche.

3 p.m. — I head out to pick up my girlfriend, Rachel, from her job at a local hospital before heading back over to the gym.

3:45 p.m. — I’ve got two more small-group personal training sessions for the day, so I fuel up with a green shake (Genesis by Legion Athletics) mixed with water and orange juice.

4 p.m. — Ready to teach two back-to-back group sessions!

6:30 p.m. — I’m home for the night and am getting ready to eat dinner with Rachel. Tonight we’re having steak and casserole. She prepares all of these meals by the way. She absolutely crushes meal prep on Sundays! We try to eat at home as much as possible and save our date nights for the weekend. This works well for us because it helps us not only save money but also stay on track with our nutrition.

7 p.m. — I’m currently working on my Level Two Certified Physical Preparation Specialist certification online, so I decide to complete some online modules post-dinner.

8 p.m. — Thought I was home for the evening, but the nighttime group got crowded out of nowhere, so I go downstairs and help out.

9 p.m. — Time for some Monday Night Football. I need 24.5 points out of James Connor to stay undefeated in our G-Strength fantasy football league, but it’s probably not going to happen.

9:30 p.m. — I take some melatonin and four fish oil capsules before getting drowsy and eventually succumbing to sleep.

Daily total: $0

Tuesday

Outside of training at G-Strength, Regni takes judo classes at El Idrissi Judo Academy. / Photograph courtesy of Giancarlo Regni

4 a.m. — Rise and grind! James Connor came up huge for me last night. I remain undefeated in the gym fantasy league. I drink my signature 16 ounces of water. Although I drink water all day long (totaling about two gallons), this first glass of the day is particularly important. Rehydrating first thing in the morning is crucial for optimizing performance because it improves nutrient absorption from the breakfast I’m about to eat, brain and immune system function, and overall alertness. Of course I follow it with a cold shower.

4:20 a.m. — Breakfast this morning is another peanut butter and jelly protein shake made from the same recipe as yesterday. Plus, of course, four fish oil softgels and a cup of coffee.

5 a.m. — My morning today is going to look very similar to yesterday’s. I’ve got four small-group personal training sessions until 9 a.m.

7:30 a.m. — Time for another Clif Builders protein bar as a mid-morning snack. Besides fitness, I am a creature of habit.

9:30 a.m. — Personal training sessions went well and my clients crushed it. I step out of the gym to go on a 10-minute walk.

9:45 a.m. — I’m already hungry for my first lunch (another chicken salad wrap). I also drink my pre-workout to get me fueled for my own workout.

10 a.m. — Let the squatting and lifting commence! Today I have the pleasure of training with two G-Strength members, one of which is Alaa El Idrissi, owner of the judo studio I go to. He is currently training with our head strength and conditioning coach, Tyler Curtis, to represent the United States in judo at the 2020 Olympics. He brings great energy to our session and I’m really looking forward to attending his judo class later on tonight.

12 p.m. — Another small-group personal training session.

1 p.m. — I write an Instagram post to recognize our client of the quarter and catch up on some administrative work for G-Strength.

2:30 p.m. — I get out of the gym for a bit and walk over to pay my October rent (thrilling).

4 p.m. — Another two rounds of small-group personal training. In between, I plan on heating up some chicken stroganoff Rachel prepped over the weekend.

6:45 p.m. — I’m done facilitating training for the day and drink a mocha protein shake before my own fitness class tonight.

7:30 p.m. — Just got to judo class at El Idrissi Judo Academy. I love these classes; they really help me work on my form and focus on moving and controlling my body.

9:45 p.m. — I’m home, showered, and ready to hit the hay. Before lights out, I enjoy a third protein shake of the day as a bedtime snack.

10:30 p.m. — Good night!

Daily total: $0

Wednesday

Regni poses after his own workout with three training partners. / Photograph courtesy of Giancarlo Regni

7 a.m. — I get to sleep in today, and it’s much needed because my body feels absolutely wrecked after judo and two days of tough workouts. I’m moving slower than usual, but I still drink my 16 ounces of water and take a cold shower.

7:10 a.m. — Breakfast this morning is another Clif Builders protein bar, plus four fish oil softgels.

7:45 a.m. — I drink a cup of coffee before heading downstairs to work. On days my body is tired, I’m especially thankful I don’t have to go too far for my job.

8 a.m. — I lead a small-group session.

9 a.m. — On Wednesdays, I try to get off the exercise floor as much as possible. The gym still runs, but I take today to work ON the business, rather than IN it. So I go into my office to do some administrative work.

10 a.m. — Switching things up today! My mid-morning snack is the peanut butter and jelly protein shake I usually have for breakfast.

10:30 a.m. — I arrive at Blade and Badger for a haircut ($35). It’s a good excuse to get in my daily walk.

12 p.m. — Every Wednesday at noon, the team and I hop on an SPF Mastermind Zoom call. Vince Gabriele, a fitness business coach, will remind us of something we forgot or teach us something new about gym ownership. Then we use the remainder of the time to talk about problems and discuss solutions. I eat leftover chicken stroganoff as we chat.

1:30 p.m. — Off one call, on another. Now I’ve got my bi-weekly call with Slice Communications (my PR team).

2 p.m. — Time to drink a pre-workout and train. I’m joined by three training partners today, and there’s so much great energy in the gym! Shout out to Damon, Tina, and Logan for making today awesome. I’ll recover with some creatine monohydrate after.

4 p.m. — You know the drill by now: two back-to-back small-group training sessions.

6:15 p.m. — Dinner is on-the-go tonight since I’ve got another client across the city. I eat some beef barbacoa with parsnip home fries from Kettlebell Kitchen ($11.95).

6:45 p.m. — I hop in a Lyft and head up to Rittenhouse for a private training session with a client ($13 round trip).

8:30 p.m. — I’m home for the night and am pretty beat, even though this is my “slow” day. I decide to have some more leftover chicken stroganoff.

9 p.m. — Four fish oil softgels? Check. Time for bed!

Daily total: $59.95

Thursday

Regni shows some love for one of his small-group personal training classes. / Photograph courtesy of Giancarlo Regni

4:45 a.m. — Starting the day with the usual 16 ounces and cold shower.

5 a.m. — And looks like I’m really back to my normal routine because breakfast is a peanut butter and jelly protein shake, four fish oil softgels, and a cup of coffee.

5:45 a.m. — I take a Lyft up to Rittenhouse again to train a private client before coming back down to Queen Village ($13).

7 a.m. — Back-to-back small-group personal training sessions.

9:30 a.m. — I drink my typical pre-workout and train. Today, I’m doing rounds of back squat, bench press, and band tricep push-downs.

11 a.m. — Refuel with some creatine monohydrate.

12 p.m. — Back to leading a personal training session!

1 p.m. — I dedicate the next three hours to continuing my certification requirements and completing administrative work for G-Strength. I usually take some time to reach out to any clients who haven’t been in to train yet on a given week. Part of being a good coach, trainer, and business owner for me is making sure I do my best to hold everyone accountable and help them maximize results.

4 p.m. — Time for my usual small group training sessions.

6 p.m. — Right after the second session ends, I run upstairs, pack a quick bag, and drive all the way up to Ithaca, New York. I’ve got a full-day of observing Synergy Vestal tomorrow.

10 p.m. — Traffic wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but four hours is still a long time for me to be sitting. I’m staying at Rachel’s sister’s house because she doesn’t live too far from where I need to be in the morning. I stretch my legs before heading to bed.

Daily total: $13

Friday

Regni visited Syngery Athletics in upstate New York to gain more insight into how to operate his own gym and run personal training sessions. / Photograph by Giancarlo Regni

6 a.m. — I wake up, get ready, and drive to Synergy. One of the owners, Joe Hashey, is hosting a mentorship program today to help other gym owners learn how he runs things.

6:50 a.m. — I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way for some breakfast, and get a sausage, egg, and cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel and a large black coffee ($6.46). There’s definitely better options on the menu, such as the wake-up wrap, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat until around noon, so I figured I’d load up on carbs.

7:30 a.m. — Time to observe training sessions at Synergy Vestal until about 10 a.m.

10 a.m. — Heading into a lecture on session protocols led by Synergy’s training mentor.

11 a.m. — Now, we’ve got a corporate partnership presentation by the brand ambassador of CoreLife Eatery. Unfortunately, there’s not one in Philly yet, but I can’t wait until there is. I personally like their emphasis on clean eating.

11:30 a.m. — Lunchtime! I am super hungry, and luckily it’s complimentary. I chow down on a ranch flank steak bowl with a side of coconut curry chicken soup.

1 p.m. — Gearing up for the second presentation of the day led by the development manager of Visions Federal Credit Union. Both presentations provide insight into how two local businesses can form a mutually beneficial relationship and how to get more involved in the community along the way.

2 p.m. — We’re spending the next two hours identifying potential partnerships with local businesses in our area and sending out e-mails and making phone calls to get the ball rolling. It’s really productive because I don’t always carve out the time to do this, even though I know I should.

5 p.m. — Finished for the day, and I head over to Joe’s house for dinner. I crush three cheeseburgers!

8 p.m. — Even though I’m tired, I decide to get in a workout since I can use Synergy’s facilities for free today. On the agenda, I’ve got back squats, weighted chin-ups, Romanian deadlifts, hammer curls, and band pull-aparts. After a long day of sitting down, this is brutal. What was I thinking using the heaviest weight of the week on a Friday night?

9:30 p.m. — I’m back at Rachel’s sister’s house and am exhausted! I drink my creatine monohydrate, relax a bit, and head to bed.

Daily total: $6.46

Weekly totals

Money spent: $179.41
Workouts completed: 6
Personal training sessions taught: 26
Protein shakes consumed: 6
Glasses of water drank: So many