Nick Gray

Nick Gray

Nick is best known as the Founder of Museum Hack, a company that leads renegade, small group tours for people who think they don’t like museums. After selling two multi-million dollar businesses, Nick was able to follow his passions: writing blog posts, hosting great small parties, and, most recently, he wrote The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: How to Build Big Relationships with Small Gatherings.

What does a typical day of eating look like for you?

I am so lazy! I usually eat the same thing every day. First, on an empty stomach, I will have a green powdered drink with lemon and a lot of water. I know that isn’t “eating” but I drink a lot of liquid. I drink this when I walk outside for a few minutes after I wake up. Then I have green tea that I absolutely love. I make that via a cold brew method, so it’s ready for me after I take my morning walk. The first real “food” that I will eat for the day is this pre-packed egg bites thing that I buy from Costco. I microwave it for 90 seconds, then I add some guacamole and salsa. I usually eat lunch from the Mexican restaurant next door. They have a very good chicken fajita special. I like to get it with an extra order of beans instead of rice. I recently gained a lot of fat, so I choose not to eat the flower tortillas with the tacos. For dinner, a very typical meal for me would be a hamburger with a lettuce wrap and then a vegetable plate afterwards or a microwaved sweet potato with ghee and salt.

What do you eat when you’re on the run?

I used to drink some pre-packaged protein shakes that were very nice when I forgot to eat or when I was driving or needed something quick. Now I’m trying to cut out dairy for my skin, so I will pack a little bag of salted cashews or pecans.

Let’s say you got to choose your last meal on Earth, what would it be?

Probably Frito pie! Or some delicious salty chips and salsa and guacamole and queso. I have a soft spot for Chex Mix and Cool Ranch Doritos. There are a lot of junk foods that I like now that I think about it! Cheetos, too.

What is your go-to comfort food?

I like salty crunchy things. Pretzels and diet soda, like Coke Zero. Oh God, I’m going to regret sharing all of this junk food to your readers!

How do you recover after indulgent eating?

I try to take a walk after I eat a big meal. I sometimes wear a continuous blood glucose monitor (I’m wearing one now). My biggest takeaway from wearing it has been how much a walk after eating helps to blunt the spike after a big meal with carbohydrates. But like I said, I’m lazy, so sometimes I only walk for 5 minutes! But I just try to get up and move around.

How do you find time for fitness?

I am lucky that I live in an apartment that has a gym and it is only about three minutes from my room. This is helpful for me to make it easier to go to the gym. To make time for a very good workout, I have found that I really need to schedule it with a trainer. Having him there or in my calendar helps me. Sometimes we cannot workout together, but he will make me a plan on the app and then follow up to make sure I’m doing it. That helps me.

What do you like to do for exercise?

I like to swim in a creek near my house but I don’t swim laps. I put some goggles on and swim in the water with my fish friends. I also like to ride my stationary bike, it is my primary form of cardio. I bought a cheap exercise bike at Costco and then I use the peloton app on my phone. I also try to lift weights, but I’m not very good at that. Finally, I have a small accountability group on WhatsApp with some of my friends and each day we try to do a plank for 1 minute.

What are your 3 favorite workout songs?

Electric Pow Wow Drum by The Halluci Nation,
Rejoice by Steve Angello,
and ‘Til I Collapse by Eminem.

After a challenging day, how do you destress?

I loved to get massages when I lived in NYC. One of my favorite things is that you can get a great massage at almost any hour of the day without a reservation. So, yeah, I like to get a massage to destress! But if that is not available, then I can roll out with a foam roller. Sometimes I will watch YouTube videos on television but I think those probably stress me out more! I should probably meditate and do breath work but I haven’t made that in good practice yet in my life.

How do you treat yourself after a long week?

I don’t have anything that I can think of to celebrate or reward. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but when I am on vacation or for an extremely special situation, I like a slice of cheesecake.

Do you have a nighttime ritual?

Oh my god! Do I ever? I try to sleep better and I’m always experimenting with new things. Right now, my night time ritual looks like a little bit like this, take a shower, brush my teeth, take 240 mg of magnesium glycinate, take 200 mg of L-Theanine, maybe drink some herbal tea, stretch for a few minutes, put on socks, lower the temperature to 68 F, then crawl under my weighted blanket and hopefully fall asleep on my buckwheat pillow while I am reading. My phone stays in another room so I am not tempted to check emails before bed. To see a list of which weighted blanket and special pillow I use and for lots of other home gadgets in my apartment, see this article that I wrote: Home Gear: The Best Stuff I Use Every Day (2022)

Is there a motto or saying you say to yourself that helps you?

Focus! I often get distracted and I procrastinate a lot.

Is there anything you’re working on changing?

I recently did a DXA scan and was shocked to find that I lost 6 pounds of muscle and gained 12 pounds of fat. It must be all the pretzels! Now I am trying to lose fat and gain muscle, probably just like many other people reading this newsletter.

Why do you think so many people think being fit and successful can’t coexist?

That sounds like a limiting belief to me, but I also know that it takes a lot of time and energy to stay consistent with an exercise schedule and to eat healthy. Both of those things are so easy to throw away when work gets tough if your business brings you challenges. For me, I have definitely noticed that I will “forget” to go to the gym when things are crazy busy at work. The irony is that on those days I need it more than ever. Sometimes, after a good workout I will even write myself a note that says: “When in doubt, go to the gym! You always feel better afterwards.”

What is something you know about health/fitness you wish you knew 10 years ago?

I am still on my journey of health and fitness, and it’s hard for me to think about this question. Today I know that certain things like food and stress probably can cause inflammation in my body. I also know that I should stretch more and relax but even as I type this I don’t know if I would listen to myself 10 years ago. I’m sorry I don’t have a good answer to this question!

BONUS

I signed up for MyBodyTutor coaching a few years ago and found it EXTREMELY helpful. When I first joined, my coach asked me: “Do you eat healthy?” And I said, “Yes, very much so!”

Then, as part of the program, we had to share photos of all the meals we ate. It was really easy to share those photos.

And after one week, the coach said: “Hey, you said you eat healthy, but look what you’re eating: Cheeseburgers, french fries, all this Diet Coke… Let’s talk about this.”

That was extremely eye-opening to me: it showed me the real difference between what I thought I was doing, and what I was ACTUALLY doing. I would recommend this experience to everyone.

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