We Haven't Forgotten About That Wahlberg Diet
We just had to find the right person to suffer through it: a chef with a general wariness towards turkey burgers!
October 11, 2018 ● 6 min read
By Richie Nakano | Photo via Instagram, art by ChefsFeed
(Note: that photo was taken this year. THIS. YEAR. Mark Wahlberg is an antioxidant-loving vampire.)
When Mark Wahlberg posted his daily routine to the internet, it was hard to convince any reasonable person that it wasn’t an Onion article. The routine goes like this:
2:30 am Wake Up
2:45 am Prayer Time
3:15 am Breakfast
3:40 - 5:15 am Workout
5:30 am Post Workout Meal
6:00 am Shower
7:30 am Golf
8:00 am Snack
9:30 am Cryo Chamber Recovery
10:30 am Snack
11:00 am Family Time/Meetings/Work Calls
1:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Meetings/Work Calls
3:00 pm Pick Up Kids At School
3:30 pm Snack
4:00 pm Workout #2
5:00 pm Shower
5:30 pm Dinner/Family Time
7:30 pm Bedtime
So, I have some questions.
Breakfast, a post-workout snack, lunch, another snack, then dinner just seems like a lot of eating. He eats 10 turkey meatballs at 8 am. I have not eaten 10 turkey meatballs in my entire life. Then there's this: three hours and five minutes of exercise is one Lord of The Rings movie worth of exercise. It’s two full soccer games back to back. Four Soul Cycle classes in one day. All of it before 5 pm.
When I presented my bewilderment with this joyless protein party trapped in a cryo-chamber to my coworkers, their immediate response was: set your alarm clock. So. Here we are.
For about half of my life, 2:30 am or later was my bedtime. Closing down restaurants means going to bed late, waking up late, and generally spending the bulk of your daylight hours cooped up in kitchens. But it’s worth noting that going to bed at 2 am will forever and always be more culturally acceptable than waking up at 2 am: even bakers don’t wake up at 2 am, and they’re maniacs.
So, what does waking up at 2:30 am feel like? It feels like a mistake. It feels like those times where you make it to bed at a reasonable hour, only to accidentally wake up in a panic at 2:30 am, have a drink of water, maybe pee, then go back to bed and try not to mess it up again. And yet, here I am, aimlessly standing next to my bed, my dogs unaware that I’ve gotten up. A few minutes in, and everything in my body tells me to return to bed and abandon this stupid project. But would Mark Wahlberg’s gritty yet lovable cop Tommy Saunders in Patriot’s Day go back to bed? Hell no. I stumble out of my room.
I’ve barely even started, and the hardest part of the day is upon me: 30 minutes of prayer time. I grew up Catholic, so being bored while pretending to pray is basically second nature to me, but I haven’t been to church in a very, very long time. Launching into a sleepy round of Our Fathers at a quarter to three in the morning feels….wrong, so instead I put on Christmas music while I wash my coffee pot. We are off to a great start.
Breakfast time! I love breakfast—it's the one meal where its perfectly acceptable to eat only starch, protein and fat, and wash it all down with a highly caffeinated beverage. Breakfast is a point of pride for me, my time to shine. I'm good at breakfast, and there's an intimacy to that meal that lunch and dinner don’t share. Cooking breakfast is a way of telling someone that you really care about them. Wahlberg’s breakfast routine is….well:
“I start out with steel oats, peanut butter, blueberries, and eggs for breakfast," Wahlberg says in a video. "Then I have a protein shake — Performance Inspired Nutrition Vanilla Latte Shake — three turkey burgers, five pieces of sweet potato.”
I do not have steel oats or vanilla latte protein powder, nor do I feel inclined to eat three turkey burgers and five pieces of sweet potato. I don’t feel like eating anything but two Ambien honestly. I make myself a yogurt bowl with blueberries and granola and eat a forkful of garbanzo beans…you know, for protein. It is very dark and very quiet outside, and I think about prude-ass cops saying things like “Nothing good happens after 2 am,” and realize they were right.
I missed the 3:40 workout call because I went and sat on my couch for a little bit. I…don’t feel good. Like, I-took-weird-drugs-and-they’re-wearing-off-badly not good. I am supposed to work out for an hour and thirty-five minutes. I lazily ride my stationary bike for 45 minutes, stretch, then bounce on a pilates ball while I watch the end of last night's Giants game. “It’s not too late to go back to bed,” my mind screams. I skip the post-workout meal and go directly to the shower, which by some miracle, occupies 90 (?!) minutes on this hellish schedule.
I am off the schedule. The schedule, as we have noted, is weird. Huge blocks of time for seemingly simple tasks followed by tiny blocks of time for activities like “golf.” I do not golf. If I did golf, I assume a full round would take anywhere from 9-14 hours. Instead, I play nine holes of Everybody Golf on the PlayStation 4. I shoot a 31 and earn a new emote for my character. I make more coffee.
It’s time for a snack. A 90-minute snack. I am not hungry, so I go lay down.
Wow, I've really screwed this up big time. I fell back asleep, and at this point, I have missed snack one, cryo chamber recovery, and snack two. The good news is I’m more or less back on schedule, with “Family Time/Meetings/Work Calls." Both of my children are in school, so I call my mom and scroll Instagram and Twitter. This block of time is two hours, most of which is spent folding laundry, washing dishes, and slipping into an existential black hole of self-loathing and crippling fatigue.
Lunchtime. Wahlberg has outlined his nutrition schedule, and looking at it gives me the chills. "At 10:30, I have a grilled chicken salad with two hard-boiled eggs, olive, avocado, cucumber, tomato, lettuce," he says. "And then at 1 o'clock, I have a New York steak with green peppers. Then at 3:30 I have grilled chicken with bok choy. Then at 5:30, 6 o'clock, I have a beautiful piece of halibut or a cod or sea bass. Some sort of white fish.”
This puts me solidly in “New York steak with green peppers” territory, which I have actually prepared for. But: green peppers are bad. There is no reason to ever buy a green bell pepper. I sear the steak off and sauté the peppers. This is not lunch. This is not a complete meal. This needs a sauce, or a starch….or like, sautéed onions, guacamole, sour cream, and three flour tortillas. I would kill to be sitting in a Chili’s right now.
Meetings/Work Calls. I want to work, I need to work so I don’t like, get fired, but my brain doesn't appear to be working. I consider running some errands to get my blood flowing but when I try to write a to-do list, I just wind up sitting there. I should probably walk my dogs, but that would mean moving around.
It’s time to pick up my kids at school, but today is my ex's day to do that, and also operating an automobile with children inside of it just seems like a really terrible idea.
Snack #3. Please make it stop.
Workout #2. Yoga. Mark Wahlberg would never do yoga—bulky, protein-fueled muscles do not stretch or bend, and they are known to whither in the presence of New Age music and calmly spoken instructions. This workout is supposed to be a full hour, but the yoga app I'm using only offers 10-minute sessions. Longer classes are available for $9.99 a month, but I already spent my yoga season pass allowance on steak and green bell peppers, so instead, I just restart the same exercise a few times then hit the shower. Shower #2 is only thirty minutes this time around.
All that’s left in this day is dinner, family time, and bed. At this point I have not left the house, I have not run any of the errands that life demands, I have not walked my poor, hyperactive dogs. It’s worth noting that there are no services that support this schedule; if you don’t have steel cut oats on hand at 3 am, well, you’re out of luck. I checked to see when the local GNC opens, and it turns out that if you need a post-workout protein shake mix, you’ll have to wait until 9 am to get it.
And how does this schedule work with actual children in the mix…or, you know, a job? I know what you’re thinking; being ripped is a lifestyle AND a job in its own way. And to that, I say that pizza, and ice cream, and putting the basic tenets of life above totally shredded abs is also a lifestyle and the one that I choose.
So the verdict is: the Mark Wahlberg schedule is 100 times crazier in practice than it appears on paper—and on paper, it is utterly crazy. Maybe I just didn’t eat enough turkey meatballs.