Protein Shakes, Cava Grill, and Tacos: What a Super-Fit Flywheel Instructor Eats in a Day

Photograph of Gaither courtesy Flywheel Sports.

Fitness instructors tend to live pretty active lifestyles, and Flywheel instructor Arnold Gaither is no exception. He may teach the fast-paced, competitive indoor cycling classes six days a week, sometimes with more than one class in a day. In addition to teaching, he incorporates his own high intensity interval training and strength training workouts. To stay in top form, Gaither knows he has to fuel his body appropriately.

“As someone who is very active and a fitness professional by trade, it is very important for me to look and feel my best,” says Gaither. “I need food that will help with energy, healthy, weight management, and recovery. A ‘bad’ diet of food high in sugar and simple carbs will only make me feel sluggish and ultimately not on top of my game. Lean proteins, veggies, complex carbs, good fat and dense/high fiber fruits are the way to go for me to stay fit, active, and lead by example for my FLY fans.”

As part of his healthy diet, Gaither attempts to drink through a gallon of water every day—which his friend has labeled the “Chug Life.” Below, see what Gaither consumes in a day to stay fit to fly.


All food photographs courtesy Arnold Gaither.

“My day starts with some sort of physical activity, followed by a long dog walk.  I firmly believe in getting a head start on your day in order to achieve an ‘afterburn.’  This is when the body continues to burn calories for hours after a strenuous workout.  I keep this really simple and basic at home.  Ten squat jumps, ten pushups, ten mountain climbers each leg; repeat five times,” says Gaither. “Now I am ready for my first and most important meal of the day—smoothie time.  Ten ounces of water, “juice plus” shake, greek yogurt with strawberries, banana, 1/2 cup of quick oats, 1/2 cup of ice.  This low calorie, complete meal is great for digestion, energy, and weight management.”


“Meal #2 happens between 11 AM and noon. I don’t expect a 400 calorie smoothie to last long. Trader Joe’s is a life saver when it comes to my food consumption.  The food is well within budget and more importantly comes already prepared,” says Gaither. “I take a full grocery bag from Trader Joe’s with me to work on Monday and prepare meals right in the office.  Eight ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast, eight ounces of potatoes, six ounces of spinach.  We’re talking between 500-600 calories, a big chunk of protein that’s needed for my daily workouts.”

Post-Workout Snack

“I hit the gym at 1 PM every day for heavy weight training. It is recommended that you consume protein within the first 30 minutes of completing a strength training workout,” says Gaither. “Those muscles you break down are not going to rebuild themselves, so I like to whip up a quick shake with two scoops of Syntha-6 —it provides 44g of protein with only 4g of sugar.”

Mid-Afternoon Meal

“Meal #4 is somewhat of my cheat meal.  With back-to-back Flywheel classes in the evening, this is my chance to fuel up,” says Gaither. “What better way to do that than a salad from Cava? This is without a doubt my favorite place.  Super greens, tzatziki, harissa, chicken, lemon herb tahini, and all the toppings.”

Post-Flywheel Snack

“I have a snack immediately after class.  Huge thank you to Flywheel Sports for always providing fresh fruit for riders, pulsers, guests and staff. My go-to choice is the apple—it’s a dense fruit, rich in fiber and vitamin C,” says Gaither. “But most importantly, it will hold me over until I can get home to make dinner.  This is a key element for anyone looking to lose weight.  With tons of fast food temptations on your way home from the gym, you can easily talk yourself into ‘deserving it’ after your  workout, so it’s important to nip temptation right off the bat.”


“Tacos. I am not a great cook, so this is super simple to make. It’s delicious, and provides the perfect amount of protein, carbs, veggies, and good fat for my final meal,” says Gaither. “Corn Tortillas, shredded chicken breast, lettuce, avocado, cheese, sour cream, roasted corn, jalapeños, red onion, cilantro, and lime.”

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Consult with your doctor before beginning a new diet. Washingtonian does not endorse any diet without the supervision of a medical professional. 

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.