Diary of a master trainer

How a fitness pro stays healthy after cross-country flights.

David Harris, VP of personal training at Equinox, divides his time between homes in NYC and LA — which means he’s intimately familiar with the red-eye and its potential to wreak havoc on his health. After four years of cross-country commuting, he’s established a fitness and nutrition plan that helps him change time zones without major effects. "It’s not just a matter of adjusting to the sleep clock — it’s really about keeping your internal organs in detox mode," he says. We asked him to keep a diary of three days in his life.


"I’m catching a 7:00am flight to LA this morning, so I have a nutrient-dense rice protein shake with fiber and lecithin, two slices of whole grain toast and vitamin supplements. The protein stabilizes my blood sugar, the toast is an easily digestible carb for quick energy and I always take supplements in the morning so they get into my bloodstream fairly quickly before a workout."

"I head to the airport. I’m flying Virgin, which has pretty good meal options. While in the air, I have a cup of oatmeal followed later by a small can of tuna, whole grain crackers, a mixed green salad and a liter of water throughout the flight."

"Land at LAX. The weather, predictably, is perfect."

"After lunch (chicken breast, brown rice and a green salad), I have a fresh-squeezed beet, apple, ginger, lemon and aloe juice. It’s called the 'Liver Cleanse' and I order it from Juice Generation in New York and Earth Bar in LA. When you’re flying, you’re not only exposed to germs in the air but there’s the dehydrating effect of being inside a closed cabin for 5.5 hours, which depletes you of nutrients, so I’m constantly trying to replenish."

"All business. I drink another liter of water while visiting the clubs."

"I’m still on east coast time so I make an early dinner of grilled fish, steamed kale and rice cakes. Kale is really high in vitamin B12 (great for red blood cells), folic acid and fiber. I always choose fish that’s as closely sourced as possible, with the exception of Atlantic salmon on the east coast (it’s high in mercury and PCP). I go for the rice cakes because I don’t want heavy carbs at the end of the day."

"Before bed, I have two teaspoons of Psyllium husks dissolved in 8 oz. of water. They’re another high-fiber source, which is good for removing bad cholesterol from the body."

"After staying awake as long as I can to get on LA time, I go to bed."


"I rise after 8 hours of sleep on the PST clock and have my usual protein shake breakfast."

"I hit the club for a treadmill run where I execute ten four-stage intervals, each lasting 1 minute a piece. My heart rate ranges are from 135 – 141 (zone 1), 141-147 (zone 2), 147-151 (zone 3) and 151-156 (zone 4). I am allowed one minute of recovery between zones 3 and 4, then immediately go back into zone 2 after having recovered. With a warm-up and cool down, it lasts exactly 45 minutes. After the run, I stretch for 15 minutes, then move to the hot/cold plunge pools for 15 minutes to detoxify and remove lactic acid build up from the intensity."

"Post-workout, I drink another liver cleanse juice. The beets are loaded with antioxidants and the lemon, ginger and carrot have a detoxifying effect."

"I head to the Valley for lunch with the in-laws at International House of Pancakes. Surprising, I know, but they actually list calorie and carb counts for all their food, so if you’re going to go to a place like that it’s a good choice. I order a grilled hamburger patty with lettuce and tomato, three scrambled egg whites and two whole grain pancakes (no syrup)."

"I leave for Clinton Foundation Decade of Difference Concert at the Hollywood Bowl, which has great healthy options. I bought a dinner of Alaskan salmon, steamed vegetables and edamame, with popcorn to snack on."

"Water with Psyllium husks, then straight to bed."


"It was a late night, so I rise later than usual and have my standard shake and toast breakfast."

"I have a personal training session, which consists of a dynamic warm-up and combo circuits (Kettlebells, ViPR, TRX and bodyweight movements). My heart rate is consistently in the zone 2-3 range throughout."

"Lunch is chicken breast, spinach and brown rice with a glass of beet juice."

"I go to a screening for an Iranian film called Circumstance. It’s about the repression of Iranian youth."

"Dinner at True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica, which is Dr. Andrew Weil’s new restaurant. I have steamed kale marinated in lemon juice and topped with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. For an entrée, I have red pepper shrimp with miso noodles, red spinach and chilis. And a glass of white wine. The food there is so good and really, really clean."

"Water with Psyllium husks (yes, again)."

"I pack up and head to LAX for my flight back to New York and a 5:30am EST arrival time. I take Somnapure (a combination of chamomile, melatonin, lemon root and ashwaganda) with 8 oz. of water to keep me hydrated and help me fall asleep."

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