Chef Gregory Gourdet: The Ultra Marathoner and Yogi

Discover the secrets behind how top chefs stay fit
March 19, 2015 Updated: October 8, 2018

Chef Gregory Gourdet (Departure) in Portland (by way of New York) remembers clearly the days of yore, when he’d order a bacon cheeseburger and mac ‘n’ cheese at 2 a.m. “I can’t even imagine doing that now.”

For Gourdet, it’s all about making conscious decisions. He’s been on the paleo diet for some time now, and as an inveterate runner, recently completed a 50-mile race. “It was supposed to be 100 miles.” Still, he knew if he set his goals high, he would make some progress on his goal.

He takes into account the seasons his restaurant goes through—taking advantage of less busy times to set fitness goals for himself.

Last year, during an insanely busy summer season, he found he had gained 20 pound in four months. “By the end of September, I was overweight, sluggish, tired, my back started hurting.”

It was so busy he’d stopped his yoga and strength training. He told himself he “should go on an exercise bender” and posted a challenge on Facebook to others in the industry in Portland: exercise for 30 days in a row, for 30 minutes a day, up until Thanksgiving. “It’s great community support,” he said, and makes fitness fun. This year’s challenge just started this past Tuesday.

He finds working out a great way to “let the night go and have some personal time.”

“Even at a busy gym, I can still find a place I know that’s better for me. I have a sense of stillness. I’m taking myself out of my work environment and challenging myself in a different way and achieving my goal there. It sets the tone for the rest of your day.”

Yoga is also important to him to help his back and opening up the front of the body. “When you’re on your feet all day, hunched over, also your wrists and your arms, it’s really kind of brings your body down.”