It’s easy to see why Joey Graziadei, 28, was tapped to be the newest lead of The Bachelor. (His journey to find love begins airing on ABC on January 22.) Dimpled and curly-haired, the tennis coach serves golden retriever energy even when baring his abs in a chainmail getup heretofore only seen on the cover of a romance novel.
But while Graziadei might look like a natural in front of the camera, he tells GQ he feels much more at home in Hawaii—where he’s lived and worked as a tennis instructor and activities coordinator for the past few years—than he does under the bright lights in the Bachelor mansion.
He’s an outdoors guy and feels his best when he’s able to fill his days with physical activity—something that reality TV’s long, irregular shooting schedule makes difficult. “I’m always in the best shape when I’m staying moving and busy…that’s the biggest key for me looking good,” says Graziadei. “I would’ve loved to have kept up my Hawaii lifestyle, but there’s not enough time on the show.”
Finding ways to get outside became key for Graziadei to keep his cool during the show’s famously tense moments. “When I’m inside and there’s a lot of chaos and noise around me, it builds,” he says. So, being able to take a walk, take some deep breaths, and clear his head, “it makes a big difference.”
For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and other high performers about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
GQ: Let’s start at the beginning of your day. Do you have a morning routine? What time do you wake up?
Joey Graziadei: When I've been in the best shape of my life, it's always been when I've been very busy—from teaching tennis, from being active, keeping hobbies alive. When that’s the case, I tend to pass out pretty early at night, which allows me to wake up at a good time, too. So when I was at my best, when I was living in Hawaii, I was waking up for work probably sometime around 6:30 or 7 a.m. every day. And it was a pretty simple start to the day. I would get up, take a shower, go to work, and have a cup of coffee. I wouldn't eat much in the morning just because I had to get to work and start getting the courts ready.
So no early breakfast for you. When would you eat? What does lunch look like?
I'm a big two-meal-a-day guy, and that's a big meal at lunch and a big meal at dinner. I love getting to the point where I would eat when I was hungry. So if I was on court for about three or four hours, I’d get hungry around 11:00, and I would eat at a good amount.
I wouldn't think too much about what I'm putting in my body. I would make sure it was something that was healthy; I didn't want to have something that felt like it was going to make me sluggish throughout the rest of the day. It’s a mix of trying to have some type of green in there, definitely a lot of carbs to give me some more fuel, and definitely having protein.
When I was feeling my best, I liked to get in a workout in the middle of the day. Sometimes I’d work out before I would eat because I felt like I still had some energy. Sometimes I try to have a little snack and then eat more after. But a lot of what I try to do is eat when I feel like I'm hungry and I put a lot of energy out there.
Speaking of workouts, sounds like tennis is a pretty core part of your movement routine. What about cross-training?
I was really lucky when I was living in Nashville that I had a roommate who was a personal trainer; he was the first person who got me into actually trying to lift heavy and lifting a lot of weights and doing real weight-lifting. That was short-lived, though. When I’m feeling my best, I’ve been doing workouts that are really bodyweight, rep-orientated, and not too heavy. Just pushups, situps, a little bit of dumbbells—simple stuff that just kept me in a routine.
I try to get my body moving a lot. In Hawaii, surfing was a really good thing for mobility and not only helped me build muscle but really helped with cardio in a different way.
Being in Hawaii, how much were you taking advantage of the outdoors with your activity?
My ideal setup was that I was getting in the water three to five times a week after work, and that would be a way to get a different type of cardio workout in. If the surf was a little bit flat, sometimes I would run after work. My goal was to do some sort of activity outside of work for at least an hour five days a week.
I think the reason why I was in the best shape of my life when I lived in Hawaii is because of how active my lifestyle was. I'm not going to sit here and act like I have something cracked. I was very lucky that I was doing stuff that was fun.
I have to ask, because it's such a cornerstone of the Bachelor franchise—what's your approach to drinking and alcohol?
I had fun in college; I'll be the first to say it. I definitely was in my worst shape in college because I did drink too much. But, living in Hawaii, it's not as common to be drinking heavily. Like, if I have any beers during the week, it's because we're watching the sunset or I'm at a friend's place and I'm having one or two drinks. I went on stretches in Hawaii, where I don't know if I actually got to the point of being drunk. It was always just casual, and it never felt like it was too much. And every time that [I did drink a lot], it affected my activity the next day.
The Bachelor is famous for its cocktail parties, though. Did you have a plan of attack in terms of drinking on the show in order to still stay present?
I think it's finding that perfect in-between, right? I'm a big social guy. I do think alcohol can be a social lubricant and help you feel good in those situations. But I found out pretty early on how much I have to talk on the show, and if I drank too much, it would be very obvious that I drank too much. I also definitely tried to drink water a lot, which was helpful.
Judging from the season’s trailer, you spend a chunk of time without a shirt on. Did you approach eating or working out differently before filming the show, knowing you would be front and center?
I think I was really lucky that coming into it, I was coming from Hawaii. I'll admit, I wish I had more time throughout the show to get in the gym and maintain—that was the idea during the show, was just maintaining. I was in pretty good shape coming in, but I would've loved to have kept the lifestyle that I know is the biggest key for me looking good, but there's not enough time on the show. There's too much going on that you can't keep that lifestyle.
What about other wellness habits?
Sleep's huge for me. I love sleep. I know it sounds so simple, but it's important. I don't like feeling like I don't get enough—I'm like an eight-hour guy for sure. Maybe even more if I can.
Another wellness thing I've tried focusing on from the show has been journaling more. It helps clear my mind. It's definitely not the same as meditation, but just having that time of nothing going on outside and clearing my head has been a way for me to let go and feel a little bit more at peace.
With sleep being such a priority for you, what happens if you have a girlfriend who’s not a good sleeper or who snores? Dealbreaker for you?
No, it can't be a dealbreaker. I always say that the person I'm with is just going to have to understand: I don't think I'm a night owl. I don't think I'm an early bird, either. I think I’m somewhere in between on both of 'em. And I like my sleep, so if the person wants to be with me, it's just something they're going to have to understand.
I imagine being on camera all the time can be uncomfortable or nerve-wracking—it’s definitely not a normal thing. Do you have any stress-management techniques?
Where I feel the most comfortable is just by being outside. So if I feel like there’s a lot of chaos or noise around me, I’ll go for a walk, I’ll sit outside and take in some deep breaths and everything around me. I love to golf; I love to surf, as I said. These types of activities just let me clear my head. So de-stressing for me means taking the opportunity to take a step back and do something I love.
Originally Appeared on GQ