Sweat Diaries

Meet the Marketing COO Who Coaches CrossFit and (Proudly!) Pushes Her Dog in a Stroller

Outside of being COO of Slice Communications, Giulia Umile's life revolves around CrossFit Novem, clean eating, and her adorable French bulldog.


By day, Giulia Umile is COO of Slice Communications. By night, she’s crushing workouts at CrossFit Novem. Every hour, she’s a proud dog mom to her French bulldog, Polpetta. / Photograph courtesy of Giulia Umile.

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 area resident 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 lbrzyski@phillymag.com.

Who I am: Giulia Umile (@giuliaumile), 39

Where I live: East Kensington

What I do: By day, I am the chief operating officer for Slice Communications, a marketing and PR agency in Philly. By night, I coach part-time for CrossFit Novem in Fishtown. I also take 24/7 care of my French bulldog, Polpetta, who goes everywhere I go.

What role healthy living plays in my life: Healthy living plays a huge role in my life. As a COO, CrossFit coach, dog mom, and just…person, I’m constantly trying to find that balance between being healthy, working, having fun, and living my life.

Health memberships (and what they cost): CrossFit Novem — free as a coach

This week’s grocery haul: $78 at BJ’s

Monday

Umile’s French bulldog, Polpetta — aka P — accompanies Umile everywhere she goes: work, CrossFit, the El. The best part? Umile pushes P in a stroller since P has trouble walking. / Photograph by Giulia Umile.

6 a.m. — My alarm clock goes off and I’m already struggling to get out of bed because of Sunday night football. I can’t do these night games! I get myself ready for work, throw a vest on my French bulldog Polpetta (she comes to work with me!) and we head out for a five-minute walk to the El ($2). Polpetta’s back legs don’t work that well, so she cannot walk…which means I push her in a stroller through the city and on the El (and deal with the daily stares from people). I don’t care, though. I will do anything to make her life easier!

7 a.m. — I get to the office early so I can get work done before my employees arrive and my calendar kicks into full gear. I make some coffee and add two tablespoons of Califia Farms vanilla almond creamer. If you don’t know about this stuff, you should. It’s delicious, and when it comes to coffee creamer, it’s the “healthiest” version I could find. (If you live in East Kensington, they sell it at Liberty Choice!)

8 a.m. — After an hour or so of responding to emails and other tasks, it’s time for breakfast. Over the weekend, I’ve spent nearly three hours on food prep. Monday through Friday there is little to no variance in what I eat, which is (for me) the easiest way to make sure I’m eating the appropriate amount of carbs, protein, and fat each day. I’m fairly strict during the week, then weekends can vary depending on what’s going on. I pack my breakfast, lunch, and snack every day and bring it to work with me. For breakfast, I’m eating oatmeal, one clementine, and some egg whites with two teaspoons of coconut oil.

9 a.m. — My day is now in full swing. For the next two hours, I’ve got phone calls, internal meetings with employees, and two interviews (it’s intern hiring season).

10 a.m. — Time for my protein shake. I’ve got a sensitivity to whey, so I stick with plant-based protein (I use 22 Days‘s Plant Power). The shake will hold me over between breakfast and lunch so I’m not ravenous by the time lunch rolls around.

11 a.m. — I get a quick break, so P and I head outside for a quick “walk.” Luckily, there is a dog park on the corner of 2nd and Market, so we don’t have to go very far.

12 p.m. — It’s lunch time! I head to the fridge to grab my lunch: chicken breast (I marinate my chicken overnight in a little olive oil, white wine, garlic salt, and pepper, then grill it), steamed broccoli, and roasted white potatoes (which I roasted with this AMAZING seasoning, Concord Fresh Success original roasted potato seasoning packet. Seriously, it will change your life). I top it off with Frank’s buffalo sauce and guacamole. It’s actually delicious and no, I don’t get tired of eating the same thing every day — a question I’ve been asked thousands of times.

12:30 p.m. — More meetings, phone calls, and interviews.

2:30 p.m. — I have my snack (which is usually my favorite meal of the day): plain Greek yogurt topped with blueberries, granola, and some peanut butter. IT’S SO GOOD. I’m a little tired from my less than ideal sleep last night, so I step out to 7-11 to grab two diet cherry Pepsis ($1.79). This is my go-to pick me up on afternoons when I need a little pep in my step.

4:30 p.m. — I pack up, and P and I head out to the El ($2). We get off at the Berks stop, and walk the few blocks to CrossFit Novem. I get changed into my workout clothes, and then start some PT exercises for my shoulder, as I’m dealing with a little shoulder injury, which is slowly improving!

5:30 p.m. — CrossFit class begins! This is always my favorite hour of the day. I’m taking this one, not teaching it. Coach Tracy explains our warmup (back squats: six sets of three at 80-percent), and then we get into the workout, which includes the 500-meter row and 20 dumbbell hang clean and jerks, done four rounds for time with a 15-minute cap. I don’t finish this workout within the time cap, but it’s okay. I still feel great! I cool down, clean up, chat with my friends at the gym, then bundle up for the walk home with P.

7 p.m. — I’m home now, and I remember that P needs a bath! After we’re both clean, I head downstairs to make dinner: turkey with roasted potatoes and veggies. And, of course, I put some more Frank’s buffalo sauce on top.

7:30 p.m. — My agenda for the night is to finish the final season of Orange is the New Black, while catching up on texts and emails.

10 p.m. — Wowwwww that final season was super sad! Time for bed.

Daily Total: $5.79

Tuesday

In between breakfast and lunch, Umile drinks a protein shake made with this plant-based protein powder. / Photograph by Giulia Umile.

6 a.m. — And my alarm goes off right on cue. I always shower at night, so no shower necessary for me in the mornings. I hit my standard getting ready routine, and P and I are out the door and on the El by 6:45 a.m. ($2).

7 a.m. — After making my coffee with two tablespoons of creamer, I make my to-do list for the day. I have phone calls on my calendar starting at 9 a.m., plus an event in our office tonight, so I want to make sure everything is in order.

8:30 a.m. — Breakfast time! It’s the same as yesterday because I am a creature of habit.

9 a.m. — After taking P out for a quick walk, I dive into a normal schedule of meeting with different members of my team, clients, phone interviews, etc. I love the pace of my days, because they always go by quickly. It’s not always ideal running from meeting to meeting, but it keeps me busy.

10:30 a.m. — I grab my protein shaker and put in one scoop of my 22 days powder. I try to drink around 100 ounces of water before I leave the office each day, and the 30 ounces of water in my protein shake help me get there more easily.

12 p.m. — I push a meeting back five minutes to heat up my lunch, which is, as you may have guessed, the same as it was yesterday.

2:30 p.m. — Snack time! Another Greek yogurt topped with blueberries, granola, and pb.

3 p.m. — I have to leave the office because of the event tonight, but I’m taking P home first ($2).

5 p.m. — Event starts! I can’t workout tonight — normally my rest days are Thursday and Sunday — but this week I’ll switch that up and rest today and Sunday. I spaced and forgot my dinner at home, so I will snack on some of the appetizers we have for the event. We use this amazing catering company, Hungry, for our events. They use only local chefs, and you get a quick bio about each chef as well. The food is always delicious, the delivery is on time and thoughtful, and their prices are reasonable. We are celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with a story slam for local women entrepreneurs, so for this occasion we also chose a woman chef. Once most of our guests have arrived and the event is about to begin, I sneak into the conference room and grab a few buffalo chicken wontons, some grilled pita with hummus, and some olive tapenade. There’s wine and beer, but I try not to drink during the week so I grab a bottle of water and head back out into the event.

8:30 p.m. — The event was a huge success! We’ve finished cleaning up, and it’s time to head home on the El ($2).

9:30 p.m. — Showered and ready to call it a night.

Daily Total: $6

Wednesday

Umile crushes ring rows in one of her CrossFit classes. / Photograph courtesy of Giulia Umile.

6 a.m. — I’m not a snooze button girl, so I’m up and out of bed quickly. Brush my teeth and get dressed (tip: lay out your clothes the night before so you don’t waste time in the morning). I do P’s therapy exercises with her, give her her medicine, grab my food for the day, and again we head out to the El ($2).

7 a.m. — I get to the office, make myself some coffee, and jump right into my inbox. On average, I get about 300 emails per day, so any time I am away from email for more than a few hours, it can really add up. I spend about an hour or so catching up and get my inbox down to a reasonable amount.

9 a.m. — After walking P and having breakfast (the usual), my phone calls for the day begin. We check in with our clients bi-weekly, so on Wednesdays, I have a bunch. In between calls I make my protein shake to hold me over until lunch.

12 p.m. — Since 9 a.m., I’ve had four meetings and the rumble in my stomach lets me know it’s time for lunch. A lot of people ask me how I eat the same thing nearly everyday, and the truth is, all the food I make and eat is delicious. So, I truly enjoy the food that I eat and it also makes deciding what to eat incredibly easy! Seriously though, I watch the people around me spend time every day deciding what to eat, and most of that food is purchased from a restaurant. I enjoy cooking, and it allows me to control exactly what’s going into my body and (for the most part) have really healthy, whole meals. An initial reaction is usually, “I could never do that!” and to be honest, I thought the same thing a few years ago. My response is usually, “You don’t know unless you try.”

3:30 p.m. — I’m coaching the 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 p.m. classes tonight, so it’s time to head out! P and I take the El home ($2) where I drop her off, eat my Greek yogurt snack, and jump on my bike to head to CrossFit Novem.

7:30 p.m. — All three of my classes crush their workouts! As if my night isn’t busy enough, I’m signed up for the 7:30 p.m. class, so I quickly clean up after the last boot camp and head to the other side of the gym for my workout. Tonight, Peter is my coach and my workout is full of front squats, a 400-meter run, dumbbell snatches, pull-ups, and push-ups. It’s tough!

8:30 p.m. — Phew! It’s been a long day. I make the quick bike ride home, shower, eat dinner, and go to bed.

Daily Total: $4

Thursday

To save time and money, Umile batch cooks pretty much all of her meals, including this side of seasoned roasted veggies she portioned for the week. / Photograph by Giulia Umile.

6 a.m. — Wake up! As the week goes on, it gets harder and harder to get out of bed, especially as it gets colder outside. But, I know there is a ton to do, so I drag myself out of bed and get my day started! The El is PACKED this morning, but I am used to the side eyes I get from people for having my dog in a stroller. ($2).

7 a.m. — Coffee made, I check my schedule for the day and realize that it’s actually not too crazy. I do know, however, that I’ve got a meeting with my entire staff this morning. And while this meeting occurs every week, today will be slightly different as a colleague of mine needs to share some health related news with the rest of the team, and I know it will be emotional. I spend some time going through emails and prepare for the meeting.

8:30 a.m. — I prepare my breakfast and head into the conference room to take a phone call. At this point I’ve gotten pretty good at putting the phone on mute to take bites and eating entire meals over the course of a phone call (LOL!), and my employees graciously accept the fact that I eat during a lot of our meetings.

11 a.m. — My first client call of the day and our team meeting are over. As expected, it was an emotional meeting and I’m incredibly grateful to work with such a supporting, loving team. I’ve got some emails to hammer out, so I remain in the conference room getting this work done.

1 p.m. — At some point I look up and realize time has flown! I’ve got a meeting and I haven’t eaten yet. My lunch is in the fridge, but a colleague is eating a Primo hoagie, and the urge is too strong to resist. I head out with a co-worker to the Primo’s around the corner, and order a ham and cheese with lettuce, tomato, and onion. It’s highly unusual for me eat something else besides what I’ve packed for lunch, but I am an emotional eater. I buy my co-worker’s lunch too ($20.71). Since this hoagie has more carbs and fat than my normal lunch (and also, it’s huge and will keep me full for awhile), I skip my snack for today.

4:30 p.m. — The rest of this day has flown by, and I pack up to head home on the El ($2). I drop P at home, change my clothes, and head to the gym. Tonight, I’m taking the 5:30 p.m. class and then coaching the 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

6:30 p.m. — My workout went really well, and the classes I’m coaching will start in a few minutes, so I grab my protein shaker which has half a scoop of the 22 Days protein powder, and eat a rice cake.

8:30 p.m. — Coaching the last class of the night means closing up the gym. After saying goodbye to the last of the members, I erase the whiteboard, write the workout for tomorrow, make sure all of the correct equipment is out for the 5 a.m. class, clean up a bit, turn the lights off and the alarm on, and hop on my bike to head home.

10 p.m. — After taking care of P, eating my dinner (turkey, roasted potatoes, and veggies) and showering, I am BEAT. My bed feels incredible.

Daily total: $24.71

Friday

Umile ends the week doing toes-to-bar in her Friday CrossFit class focused on gymnastics-style skills. / Photograph courtesy of Giulia Umile.

6 a.m. — It’s tough to wake up, BUT IT’S FRIDAY. As I’m getting ready, I notice P having an issue with her right eye. It’s clearly irritated, and she can’t really open it all the way. The vet isn’t open yet, but I’ll call them once they do and see if they can squeeze her in. We get ready and head into work ($2).

7 a.m. — Once I get to the office, I make my coffee with two tablespoons of my creamer but am basically just waiting for the vet to open. Once they do, I call and they have an opening at 9 a.m. P can’t really open her right eye at all, so I know I need to bring her in. I typically have a meeting from 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Friday mornings, but I let them know I can’t make it this week. I spend the next hour or so just catching up on email before we head out to see the vet.

8:50 a.m. — Luckily, P’s vet is right around the corner on 3rd. (If you’re looking for a vet in the city, we go to Center City Vet and I think they are amazing). Turns out, she has an ulcer on her eye. This has happened once before back in March. We caught it early and it’s small enough, so they think antibiotics and pain meds will clear it up. We make a quick stop at the dog park, I drop P at the office, then head out to CVS to pick up her prescription ($15 for visit and meds).

10 a.m. — I head back into the office and realize I am starving! I’ve got a meeting outside the office in less than 30 minutes, so I head to the kitchen to heat up my usual breakfast.

10:30 a.m. — I arrive at Old City Coffee, which is one of my favorite coffee spots in Philly. I’ve already had a cup of coffee this morning (and I don’t need more than one) so I get a bottle of Pellegrino ($3) and wait for my meeting partner to arrive.

11:45 a.m. — My coffee meeting was great (catching up with an old client turned friend) and I’ve got another appointment at noon just down the street. I’m turning 40 soon, I don’t wear makeup, and while I don’t consider myself a vain person, I’ve been getting Botox for a couple of years now. I only go three times per year, and I’ve got an appointment today at Abington Aesthetic and Laser.

12 p.m. — Dr. Zelinger sees me right away. We chat a little bit about my results from last time (I’m bad about going every six months, so it’s actually been closer to 8) and we get started. It takes less than a few minutes, and I’m back on my way to work. ($400)

12:30 p.m. — Another quick walk for P, and I’m back at the office ready for my lunch! Since the morning was a little busier than usual, I did not have my protein shake today and I’m pretty hungry. One of the main reasons I food prep is for time management. I know that as long as I am in my office, I can have a perfectly balanced (and delicious) meal ready in two minutes or less. So I heat up my lunch, and continue with my day. It’s a variety of phone calls with clients, meetings with employees, phone interviews, etc.

2:30 p.m. — Believe it or not, I’m hungry again! I walk back to the kitchen and grab my Greek yogurt snack.

4 p.m. — This afternoon has breezed by, and now it’s time to pack up and head out for the weekend ($2).

4:30 p.m. — I’m at CrossFit (where else?) for class. Today is a gymnastics skill day, which is basically practicing a specific gymnastics strength (today is toes-to-bar). Coach Erin takes us through the rest of the workout, and I spend a few minutes after class catching up with some friends before heading out for the walk home.

6 p.m. — P and I are home. Part of this lifestyle I have chosen means Friday nights are usually spent at home. Of course I want to go out to happy hour, have some beers and eat dinner out. But part of the deal I’ve made with myself is that Monday-Friday will be as healthy and clean as possible, and then the weekends are not nearly as strict and I’ll drink and eat out. I’m also coaching at 8 a.m. tomorrow, so I know staying in and getting sleep is a good idea. So I clean up around the house a bit, shower, get my dinner ready (same as before) and eat, then watch some mindless TV for a bit to veg out.

11 p.m. — With my alarm set for 7 a.m. (sleeping in!), I head to bed.

Daily Total: $422

Weekly totals

Money spent: $462.50
Workouts completed: Four
Workouts taught: Five

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