CityRow CEO Helaine Knapp: How she eats and exercises

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Have you ever wondered what a CrossFit champion eats for breakfast? Or how a spin instructor powers himself through several hours a day? Or how an Olympic gymnast snacks? Food Diaries takes you on an inner journey through the healthy eating habits of athletes at the top of their game, because admit it, you’re curious. See more

Helaine Knapp may be the founder and CEO of CityRow, a franchise of high-intensity indoor rowing classes with studies in 10 states, but she says it took her a while to figure out a fitness and eating style that worked for her. . “When I was growing up, I was not the strongest boy, and it was really only after college that I found my healthy balance,” she says.

Knapp says she has tried all the meal plans, including Paleo, vegetarian, keto and intermittent fasting. Eventually, she found that the 80/20 diet – eating nutritious foods 80 percent of the time and less nutritious foods 20 percent of the time – worked best for her. “I think it’s about creating a baseline for eating foods that are healthy,” she says. “I love eating locally and going to farm stalls. But I also love pizza and burgers.”

Here’s something else that surprises most people – even though she founded an indoor rowing company, she has never rowed on the water. After injuring her back, Knapp could not go to the spinning and HIIT boutique fitness classes that had become a regular part of her workout routine. She needed something more low-impact, which led her to indoor rowing. “The more I learned about it and tried it, the more I saw how good it was for you,” she says. So she decided to combine her newfound love of indoor rowing with her love of boutique fitness.

Before the pandemic, Knapp said she would go to CityRow classes twice a week and also train with a personal trainer once a week. But like everyone else, her training routine has now changed. While she has her own rower at home, Knapp moved from New York City to an Airbnb in Utah with some friends in March at the beginning of the pandemic. Now she has spent more time outside, going for walks and hikes.

The pandemic may have changed Knapp’s training, but she says it has not changed what she likes to eat. (“I’m a habit,” she says.) Here she reveals what an average eating day looks like for her.

Keep reading to see what CityRow CEO Helaine Knapp eats regularly after the 80/20 diet.

city ​​row ceo heleine knapp breakfast
Photo: Getty Images / Olesia Valentain / EyeEm; Art: W + G Creative


Without fail, Knapp says her day always starts with coffee. “Before the pandemic, I actually made a double espresso, and then I picked up a cup of coffee at a cafe after I was dressed and ready,” she says. “With the cafes closed I have not been able to get coffee as I used to and I realized that I actually did not need [the second coffee]! So I just got the espresso now, ”she says.

For breakfast, she likes to make a green smoothie made with spinach or kale, almond milk, frozen mango and collagen protein – a combination she came across when experimenting with different types of diets. Sometimes she will pair it with a banana and almond butter.

solid breakfast
Photo: Getty Images / Image Source; Art: W + G Creative


For lunch, Knapp likes to make a big salad and get another serving of greens in before dinner. “Lunch is such an important meal, especially if you run a million miles a minute, so I like to have a hearty salad full of vegetables and lean protein,” she says. One of her go-tos is green, tomato, cucumber, radish, red onion, sprouts and feta cheese. “Cheese makes salads exciting in my mind,” she says.

Photo: Getty Images / Vedrana Sucic / EyeEm; Art: W + G Creative


Knapp says, like most others, that she gets the mouthpiece around 4 p.m. love popcorn, “she says.” There always seems to be SkinnyPop in the CityRow offices. “Another solid ingredient in the office that she can not resist? Chocolate-coated almonds.

tapas dinner
Photo: Getty Images /
OksanaKiian; Art: W + G Creative


“For me, dinner is the biggest wildcard,” says Knapp. Before the pandemic, she was out most nights meeting friends for dinner. “If I’m going out to dinner, there’s nothing better for me than getting a bunch of small plates and sharing them with friends over wine. But I also love sushi or burgers.” Since Knapp, like most people, now cooks more food at home, she says fish and vegetables are one of her favorite meals, all sourced locally, if possible. “But I really can’t wait to eat out again with my friends,” she says.

Knapp says she’s not much of a dessert person – she’s more of a salt eater than a sweetie – but she says she’s not going to miss sharing a dessert with a group of friends. “If a piece of cake or a cookie pops up in front of me, I wouldn’t say no,” she says.

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