On any given day in LA you'll find Danielle (@daniellepascente) out for a long run (she's training for a marathon right now), jumping through a quick HIIT workout that she designed for her Kick Ass Training Guide, or doing a little cryo to help soothe her sore muscles. The girl lives and breathes wellness and we are pretty obsessed with everything that she does. So this week, we sat down with Danielle to take an even deeper dive in to her daily workout routine, the food choices that she makes, and how she thinks about replenishing her body.
Can you share your journey with us? Was holistic health and movement always a part of your life?
I grew up a multi-sport athlete so I would definitely say movement was always part of my life. Holistic health, NOT SO MUCH lol. Lets just say, I wasn’t always a healthy eater. Honestly, growing up as an athlete in the early 2000s - it was like - eat as much as you can all the time. Refuel your body with milk because milk does the body good. Eat massive meals before race days and carb up! I ate candy like it was my job and I pretty much lived off of ramen, mac n cheese, bean and cheese burritos, and alcohol in college. It wasn’t until I graduated college that I developed a major interest in WHAT I was putting in my body. I stepped into the personal training industry 11 years ago and never turned back. My holistic health habits have definitely grown with time!
The transition from being an athlete to a trainer definitely didn’t come easily at first. I think the biggest thing for me was that I wasn’t held accountable to be at practices anymore so I really had to find a form of movement that I enjoyed! I knew nothing about nutrition or how to properly fuel my body because it was never something that was focused on (even as an athlete). I've spent the last 10 years learning, re-learning, growing, helping others, and finding what works best for me. It's been a truly rewarding journey to be able to help others find love in movement. To help others find a way of eating that works for them and helps them feel energized. So even though it didn't used to be a part of my life, holistic health is VERY MUCH a part of my life now. It's something that's important to me and I know I feel my best when I move and when I properly fuel my body. Period.
Can you take us through a typical day of eating as Danielle Pascente?
I’ll start by saying everyday is a bit different depending on my schedule. I HATE cooking more than anything, so I’m not one to meal prep or overthink my meals. But I do eat mostly plant based and am going on about 2 years of being vegetarian (with vegan tendencies). It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life! My decision was based on some chronic digestion issues I was having. I tried to go vegan for 30 days and then I never really turned back because my body THRIVED off a plant based diet and my energy levels totally transformed.
OK, back to the food.
Pre - breakfast
-1 cup of ice cold water
-Probiotic (love Garden of Life brand)
-Black coffee with a splash of either vanilla almond milk OR sometimes I like to mix the seal salt dark chocolate Après & a dash of cinnamon
-Coconut peanut butter perfect bar and a 1/2 banana
-If I’m hungry between breakfast/lunch which usually isn’t the case, but if I am - I’ll have a handful of mixed nuts like cashews or almonds and an Après
-Protein Oatmeal - organic rolled oats heated with almond milk. Add 1 scoop favorite protein powder. Add 1 TBSP favorite nut butter (I like Justin's). The nut butter just melts into the oatmeal and it’s seriously HEAVENLY!
If it's not oatmeal.....
It's a huge greens salads with quinoa and some sort protein.
-If I’m hungry between lunch/dinner i’ll usually have a piece of fruit or mixed nuts.
I rotate between salty and sweet, kind of like lunch. Sometimes I'll have protein oatmeal or waffles. Sometimes I'll have a massive greens salad with quinoa or a sweet potato + avocado.
The only difference would be that I might sauté veggies or make it a hot meal. Grilled asparagus in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Sometimes I’ll sauté a bunch of stuff in a pan and it turns out like stir fry. I use quinoa as the base and make a quinoa bowl. I love Primal Kitchen dressings so I'm always using SOME primal kitchen dressings to jazz up my meals!
-I have the biggest sweet tooth so I actually need to have something sweet every single day. I don’t cut out full food groups - I think its ok to have good ingredient desserts in moderation. I love Lily’s dark chocolate chips. I actually typically have an Après as a post dinner snack if I'm craving something sweet. I also LOVE boom chicka pop (so addicting). The list goes on......
What's your go-to workout routine when you're low on time?
I always pick a workout from my Kick-Ass Training Guide because they are super efficient and don't require a lot of equipment. The Kick-Ass Training Guides have circuit style workouts in them with a combination of strength, cardio, and resistance exercises. I have a workout in one of the guides called "The Ladder." It's brutal but so efficient! You essentially take an exercise like burpees for instance. You ladder from 10 reps all the way down to 1 and move onto the next exercise. Point being, when I'm short on time - I will always pick something that gets my heart rate up, incorporates some weight training, and generally makes me sweat!
How do you replenish and give back to your body? Any alternative therapies like red light, acupuncture or even meditation that you swear by?
I've been REALLY into cryotherapy lately. I've been going consistently for about a year now and I've really noticed tremendous differences in my recovery time and just overall state of my body. I also LOVE epsom salt baths. They are part of my weekly routine. I swear by these 2 things and I genuinely look forward to doing them. CBD bath bombs have also been my jam lately. I'm training for my first marathon so that just helps me relax a bit more and melts away the muscle soreness.
You clearly have a powerful mind and body. What are you currently listening to, reading, following?
Oh man! So many things I listen to on a daily basis. Music really does fuel me though. There's something so powerful about a really good playlist. I curate all my own playlists on Spotify so I just made a Spring mix that I've been inspired by. You can find it here. I'm bias of course, but I think my playlists are awesome! I have a ton of other ones on Spotify too, so feel free to click around!
For podcasts, I love Almost30 Podcast, Rich Roll, Joe Rogan, and Gary Vee. I can't necessarily workout to a podcast, but I love listening to them when I'm working. I've been able to take away a lot of good business nuggets from these podcasts, so they inspire me to WORK HARDER.
And now for some rapid fire questions!
What time are you up? No later than 7:30 AM usually.
Longest you've ever held a plank? Hmmm. is this a challenge? Because I may or may not be planking on my floor right now just to see. And I can confirm..... 2 minutes and 14 seconds. I think I need to work on this LOL!
Morning vs evening workout? BOTH! I actually like to move my body once in the morning and once at night. I love the energy that both bring to me so I don't prefer one over the other.
Squats or lunges. Squats! All day!
Favorite class in LA: Double Ops Training Santa Monica. I program a workout there called Kick-Ass that I love. And I also love the Boiler Room workout there where they turn the AC off and do a full HIIT workout in the heat. It's kind of insane and amazing at the same time.
Coffee or tea: Coffee, coffee, coffee.
Early bird or night owl: night owl lately.
Go to snack :) Dark chocolate Après!! OF COURSE!! Also, if you pair it with a peanut butter perfect bar, it is literal perfection.
xx Team Après