Trillion-pack abs and a salt-and-pepper beard might seem to make Adrian Williams the kind of guy that you love to hate. But talk to the native New Yorker for just a few seconds and you’ll see why he’s been such a hit with Peloton’s subscribers. The 37-year-old starting his tenure at the company in 2020 during the early days of pandemic, and he’s established himself as a go-to treadmill and strength instructor, especially for early risers.
(Related: a redesigned model of Peloton’s treadmill is going back on sale next week after a pause due to safety issues and recalls.)
GQ caught up with Williams to learn more about his workout routine and go-to diet, which includes a lot of fish, waking up not long after 4 a.m., and the occasional fried chicken sandwich.
GQ: You usually teach early, right?
Adrian Williams: Yeah—so my days start early. I’m up at 4:15, then I drink a glass of water, take a tablespoon of fish oil, and drink a cup of organic beet juice. Before I teach, I’ll also have a piece of toast with peanut butter, a banana, or all three together. I only drink Blue Bottle Coffe—it sounds bougie, I know. I buy the cans out and then mix it myself at home with oat milk. Then I go to work. I have more water before I teach, but ultimately I don’t really like to eat much before then.
So you have quasi-breakfast, then you have real breakfast?
Yeah. I like dinner for breakfast. I’ll come home after teaching three or four classes and I’ll have a piece of salmon, eggs, rice, with some sort of cold veggies. This could be a mixed salad, which could be super simple tomatoes and spinach. I’m also obsessed with olives. Maybe charred broccoli that I’ve made previously from the night before. That keeps me full while I work, and then I can focus on the task at hand.
So the “dinner for breakfast” mindset is so that you can perform better during your day?
Oh definitely. Dinner for breakfast keeps me full. If I eat a traditional American breakfast, I’m ravenous. I started doing dinner for breakfast when I went to Japan a few years ago, when I was basically eating fish and rice and things that here in America traditionally would eat at night. This way, I’m not distracted while I’m trying to work.
What’s for lunch?
Usually a salad with tomatoes, nuts, shaved cheddar—tofu sometimes if I’m craving something more dense. Other times it can be super simple with just cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach. After lunch I snack a ton. Mostly a lot of mixed nuts, dark chocolate covered cashews are my thing. I’m obsessed with plantain chips. I also snack on fruit, including cherries, pineapples, and watermelon.
It’s almost always fish. I jump between sea bass and salmon a lot. If it’s not sea bass and salmon, it’s usually like a rack of lamb. I’ll eat these with a starch, like potatoes. If not potatoes, then I eat a lot of rice and greens, I like asparagus. I still snack before I usually go to sleep because I’m constantly hungry. And if I don’t teach the next day and it’s early, I’ll definitely have a glass of wine or beer.
So basically what we hear is that you’re crazy disciplined in what you eat during the day.
A lot of people think that based on how I look I’m just obscenely controlled. I would say it’s more that I grew up in a home with really good eating habits. My mom didn’t really cook red meat. We ate a lot of fish. You couldn’t have your actual meal until you had your salad first. You had to finish your meal, and then you could have something to drink. I grew up with all these strict rules. Then, when I became an adult, it was very easy for me to make good choices. Sure, my choices are healthy, but they make me feel my best.