This week we caught up with Evan Candler, a young New Yorker who lives life out loud and has a deep love of Beyonce. From TV upfronts to engineering, Evan’s professional and personal pursuits are as well-rounded as his approach to wellness. He loves salt on his margarita or a good karaoke night as much as the indulgence he feels from his healthy habits, whether it’s his morning workout, whipping up his favorite smoothie or just making time for a mental self check-in.
“If you’ve made any sort of progress, it’s worth celebrating no matter how small the victory may seem.”
At A Glance
What gets you out of bed? Black coffee, Beyonce and a solid workout.
Healthy Habits Exercise, meditation and a diet rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and probiotics.
Vices Klondike bars.
One piece of health/wellness advice It’s really important not to compare yourself to others and give yourself grace as much as possible. We’re often our own worst enemy. If you’ve made any sort of progress, it’s worth celebrating no matter how small the victory may seem. Also, always be sure to moisturize!
Evan’s Morning Routine
My morning routine is extremely important to me because it helps set the tone for the day. I’m naturally an early riser, so I spend about an hour either reading something I find interesting or meditating. Then I drink a cup of black coffee, put on Beyonce, and get in a solid workout (in the living room these days) for about 45min - 1hr. Once I’ve worked up a good sweat and I feel that Beyonce would approve, I take a long, hot shower to clear my mind before I sit down and begin the grind. I've also recently incorporated a routine of wishing one of my favorite coworkers, Russell, good morning as soon as I log in for the day (it's the little things).
✔ Mindfulness & Meditation. Directing our attention to the present moment can help us better manage stress, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and cultivate feelings of joy and happiness. For those finding sitting still challenging in moments of distress walking meditation offers another alternative with similar benefits.
✔ Hot vs. Cold Showers Both are associated with science-based beneficial effects. Hot showers in particular are associated with improved muscle and joint health, sleep and a marker of brain health, BDNF.
✔ Positive Social Connection. While staying connected to loved ones during this time is essential to mental well-being, there is also tremendous value in maintaining consistent positive interactions with those at the more exterior rungs of our social network. Research demonstrates that social networks are pivotal in our ability to cope with stressful situations, engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors that support our physical and mental health and lower cardiovascular risk.
I feel privileged that my parents instilled the importance of having a healthy lifestyle at an early age. Fitness and nutrition are a huge part of my overall wellbeing. I workout 4-5 times a week (mostly lifting because cardio and I don't get along) and I make a conscious effort to consume a diet rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and probiotics (I LOVE kombucha). I’m also a strong advocate for mental health, so I make a habit of allocating time and space, usually 45 minutes every day, where I simply put down all distractions and check in on myself and ask myself how I’m doing.
✔ Lifting vs. Cardio. While many prefer one mode of exercise over the other, there is plenty of evidence to support engaging in both. When it comes to heart health, cardio is associated with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing plaque buildup and improving blood flow. Recent research suggests that weight lifting also protects the heart by reducing fat that lies just outside the heart sac (pericardium). Thus, with a combined cardio and weight bearing regimen you can pack in double the benefit.
✔ Omega-3s. In addition to supporting brain health, Omega-3s appear to reduce exercise-induced inflammation as well as improve strength training performance and recovery. Highly bioavailable sources include caviar, fatty fish, walnuts and flaxseed.
↺ Kombucha. First prepared in China ~ 2,000 years ago, this fermented tea beverage often contains significant amounts of B vitamins, antioxidants and probiotics. However, these can vary depending on the brand and preparation method. Further research supporting Kombucha’s widely advertised properties is limited and thus, it’s best not to use it as a substitute for a whole food and fiber rich diet to boost gut health.
Ice cream. I would do some real crazy stuff for a Klondike bar.
✔ Ice cream. Desserts can absolutely be a part of a healthy, balanced diet. As the nutrition director of an eating disorder and weight management program, one of my primary goals is to normalize eating behavior so that no foods wield so much emotional valence that they are entirely restricted or binged upon and tinged with shame and guilt. That said, it is clear that some foods are engineered to be hyperpalatable and hyper-rewarding. If specific foods are particularly challenging to eat in moderation, it may be best not to keep it around and readily available.
The way we start and end our days can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health. No matter how brief, beginning the day with a combination of mindfulness, exercise and social connection is a surefire way to boost resilience in the face of life’s stressors and build structure and routine into periods of uncertainty.
Throughout the day, the ways in which we choose to nourish, step back and check-in with ourselves often reflect the ripple effect of our initial choices. Thus, for the rest of this week try to start the day off with at least 1 healthy habit that sets intention for how you will care for yourself the rest of the day. It can be meditating for 5 minutes, journaling for 10, making a fruit and veggie smoothie, jumping rope for 3 minutes - whatever signals to you that you and your health will take priority. These seemingly small acts are indeed victories and as Evan stated, should be celebrated!