Health & Fit: The Real-Life Diet of MSNBC's Chris Hayes, For Whom Ball Is Life - PressFrom - US
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Health & FitThe Real-Life Diet of MSNBC's Chris Hayes, For Whom Ball Is Life

19:11  12 july  2019
19:11  12 july  2019 Source:   gq.com

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Christopher Loffredo Hayes (/heɪz/; born February 28, 1979) is an American progressive journalist and author. Hayes hosts All In with Chris Hayes , a weekday news and opinion television show on MSNBC .

The Real-Life Diet of MSNBC's Chris Hayes, For Whom Ball Is Life© Christopher Dilts

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Though he doesn't outright say it, I can read between the lines: Chris Hayes, host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, is a true believer in the Ball Is Life axiom. We're chatting in his office a few hours before his nightly show, and have covered a gamut of fitness-related topics. But again and again, the conversation returns to basketball.

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"In an absolutely ideal world," Hayes begins his unintentional Ball Is Life qualifier, "if I could wave a magic wand and it wouldn't mean taking time away from my job, my wife, my kids, and my sleep, I would play pickup basketball five days a week."

Hayes doesn't get to play quite as much as he used to—he's a fairly busy guy, and he's got a family now. He was balling out more frequently back when he lived in Washington, D.C., regularly matching up against a who's who of Capitol Hill figures and fellow media folk. (Rumor has it that CNN's Chris Cillizza is... pretty good.) To get some exercise in a constructive way that's also a little easier to squeeze into his schedule, Hayes has more recently embraced weightlifting. And though that pivot originally started because of a bad back and concerns about his then-impending 40th birthday, Hayes has grown to actually love working out. Maybe, even, as much as pickup basketball: "This is the first time in my life where I look forward to going to the gym," Hayes says.

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Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC , the author of Twilight of the Elites, and an editor-at-large at The Nation. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter, and son.

In an interview with GQ, Hayes fully breaks down his basketball skillset, gives all the details of his newly curated workout routine, and provides his definitive answer on who he deems to be the fittest president of all time.

GQ: You posted a photo of a text exchange with your wife where she encourages you to go play pickup basketball that night, as long as it’s "old man ball." Can you define what that is, exactly?

Chris Hayes: Old man ball is a way of playing basketball that minimizes movement, aerobic exercise, and risk of injury. It's all about controlled movements. I'm not really running any fastbreaks, not getting out on the floor much, but I am using my body mass to my advantage. I remember when I was younger and there would occasionally be 40, 50, or even 60-year-old dudes at pickup. They couldn't really move that much, but they could pass. They knew how to play the game. They could dribble and they could really use their body. That's old man ball.

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Chris Hayes , MSNBC Host, "All in with Chris Hayes "; Editor at Large, The Nation; Author, A Colony in a Nation; Twitter @chrislhayes In conversation with

If you had to compare your current style of play to one NBA player, who would it be?

This is an old reference that you probably won't get, but I've been referred to as having a Billy Owens vibe. He was kind of like a point forward.

So you're not just running from three-point line to three-point line playing absolutely no defense?

No, no, no. I play defense.

You regularly post about your workouts on social media. What are the origins of your workout routine?

I pulled my back out pretty badly, and had never really had a back injury. I was just feeling kind of debilitated by it. I went to physical therapy, and the physical therapist said I should go to a trainer and get stronger. So I started seeing a trainer in February 2018. At the time, I was turning 39 and thinking about 40.

I ended up tweeting my workouts as a weird external motivator. You know, like people that are quitting cigarettes, they have to tell people they're quitting. They can't just tell themselves they're quitting because then they'll violate it. The public working out is a way of keeping myself going.

Sounds like the biggest thing you initially wanted to improve was your core.

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Yeah. So basically, there were two phases. My core was out of shape. For the first 10 months that I was working out with a trainer, it was mostly core work, a lot of plank stuff and isometric stuff like TRXs. Starting in December of last year, we went to a much more intense weight training regimen based on a plan by Mike Matthews.

Was that your decision or your trainer's?

Mine. I had just gotten much stronger in my core and was jonesing to get a little bit bigger. I told him that and he was like, “Okay, well we're going to do a serious, hardcore weight training regimen where we do certain muscle groups certain days, and we track our progress.” We're always trying to set personal records.

How many days a week are you working out?

Three to four. I try to do it in the mid-afternoon, because there's a space between the editorial meetings in the mid-day. One of the things about this job is as soon as I wake up in the morning, my staff and I are all reading the news, sending each other links, thinking about the show. But you can't set the show too early, right? Like, you can't have an editorial meeting at 10 for an 8 p.m. show because things change too much.

What are you focusing on weightlifting-wise now that you've progressed from core to weights?

I'll do a push day, a pull day, and a leg day. On a push day, it’s bench press, incline bench, dumbbells, and then triceps. Pull day will be pull-ups or rows, lat pull downs and biceps. And also we'll do deadlifts on pull days. On leg day we'll do squats. I really like the focus and concentration of big lifts like deadlifts and squats, because you can't be distracted. You will f*** yourself up if you are distracted.

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It’s been a weird week for MSNBC ’ s Chris Hayes . Hayes , who found himself on Carlson’s nightly hit list because he [checks notes] dared to host a town hall on climate change and the Green New Deal with Fox News’ current boogeyperson, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thanked Carlson

Hardball with Chris Matthews is an American television talk show on MSNBC , broadcast weekdays at 7 PM ET hosted by Chris Matthews. The program was originally broadcast on the now-defunct

When you were in your 20s and early 30s, how often were you working out?

I've gone through periods where I did and didn't go to the gym. I'd never really worked out for long periods with a trainer before, which makes a big difference. A huge part of it is just a commitment to go. Also my trainer is fantastic—his name is Eric Freeman.

I did always play a lot of pickup ball in Washington, D.C. I was in this incredible, legendary pickup game at Gonzaga College High School, which is right off Capitol Hill. It's been going on for, I want to say, 20 or 30 years. And it’s a fascinating mix of like, Hill staff, lobbyists, reporters, and a lot of Washington people. Very bipartisan. I'm still in contact with the guy that runs that game, which is the best-managed pickup game I've ever been a part of. I would usually play like three days a week, because I didn't have kids and my wife was working in the White House, so she worked until nine or 10:00 p.m.

On the diet side, I read you drink quite a few cups of coffee every day, and you’re also big on protein shakes.

I've taken it down quite a bit with coffee. I had this weird thing where I started having almost an allergic reaction with too much caffeine. I was getting, like, vertigo attacks. So I try to keep it to four or five cups a day.

But yes, lots of protein shakes. I'll have one in the morning, and one after the workout, and sometimes I'll have a protein bar mid-afternoon. It's very hard to eat on a normal schedule because I feel really weird and sluggish if I eat before my show. I don't eat dinner until I get home, but I don't get home until 10.

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I've interviewed a couple people who have been on Broadway—

Very similar. I've actually commiserated with people on Broadway shows about their schedule. And, I mean, they have to do eight shows a week. I have to do five. But yeah, the adrenaline afterwards makes it hard to go to sleep until midnight at the earliest.

Is your plan with this weightlifting routine and protein intake to bulk up?

It's very hard to lift the way that I'm lifting and lose weight at the same time. What I've basically done is kept my weight the same and added about 15 pounds of muscle. So there's actually been a pretty big reduction in body fat.

What's your cheat meal?

Probably pizza. Pizza does something to me. I actually read about this and fell down a rabbit hole—pizza dough and a lot of other carbohydrates basically unhook your appetite hormones from your digestion.

Which president, past or present, was the most fit?

There's one answer to this. It's shirtless Theodore Roosevelt. First of all, he looks like a Game of Thrones character. Like, what Shire did you walk out of, Teddy? He's like five percent body fat.

In April, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that you are “what every man would be if feminists ever achieved absolute power in this country: apologetic, bespectacled, and deeply, deeply concerned about global warming and the patriarchal systems that cause it.” You, in turn, had a great response on your Instagram stories from what I gleaned was a pull day at the gym. Did you run that by anyone in advance?

I didn't run it by anyone and I found the whole thing sort of amusing. I wasn't going to get pulled into this beef. But Instagram Stories are great because they don't live forever. I wanted to say something jokey about the absurdity of it.

Well the Kid Mero had your back and tweeted that he’s got 10 racks on you “WASHING [Tucker Carlson] HANDILY IN THE PARKING LOT AT BAY PLAZA NO GLOVES NO RULES." Do you have anything you would like to add to that?

[Laughs] Nothing. Nothing to say about that.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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