Power Playa : Bradley Gifford
"Power Playa" is a series showcasing how everyday men conquer work & life challenges but still manage to sweat it out, eat clean and fit wellness into their everyday lives.
Q. Tell us about yourself. What is your background? (work etc)
After graduation, I moved up to Greenwich, Connecticut to work for Hedge Funds as a Crisis Management and Communication Strategy Associate. After a year in Financial Services, I decided to launch my own startup, which is when I developed my hard skills in Digital Marketing, SEO and Google Analytics. While I was spending most of my time and money on that operation, I picked up a gig as a Front Desk person at DOGPOUND. They knew I was overqualified and wanted to move into a full-time role if things with my startup fizzled, and that’s exactly what happened.
Q. How do you start your day?
I check the weather. Before considering items ranging from accessories to bottoms into my fit, I always make sure my attire is suitable for the climate or conditions the day might throw at me.
Q. Whats your daily relationship with food? Take us through your eats from start to finish. What are some of your kitchen staples?
For the last few years, the portion size and macronutrients of my meals are usually predicated on my expected training load. Whether it’s a long run, intervals, a heavy lift or short circuits I use food as my fuel to help me feel and perform my best. My sleeping patterns are a little abnormal, so I rely heavily on proper nutrition and other recovery tools to bridge the gap. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I could have that any hour of the day. An egg + egg white scramble with spinach, oatmeal, and some chopped fruit is always easy. But if I’ve got some extra time I’ll treat myself to pancakes with some added protein powder. My staples include Fage 0% Yogurt with Almond Butter; Salmon w Olive Oil & Rosemary with Roasted Brussel Sprouts or Broccoli. I’ll rotate between a whole host of complex carbs (Farro, Freekeh, Sweet Potatoes etc. ) to complement seared and seasoned seafood and roasted vegetables.
Q. When did you begin your wellness journey and how has that impacted your life?
I started my wellness journey when I was 20, during the summer before my junior year of college. I was preparing myself to carry a greater load during basketball season and wanted to be physically prepared. Dedicating myself to the right nutritional approach was key in maximizing the results of the time I was putting in. At that point, I was training more than I ever had and found that consistently pushing myself to be better every day gave me more mental and physical joy than basketball ever had. I was hooked.
Q. What are your favorite ways to sweat it out?
Running. I used to hate running, then I found joy in the struggle. Some days my mind is calling for a long run while other days my body just wants to go as fast as possible, so I’ll do intervals. If I’m preparing for a race or hitting a weekly/monthly mileage target, I might have to mentally prepare for some runs more than others. And therein lies the joy of it all. Running has taught me to listen to my body more than any other fitness modality I include in my routine, and it’s just as mentally engaging as it is physically.
Q. You run one of the best fitness facilities in the city. We imagine this makes it so easy never to fall off your game. Do you ever slack or is it about how to push yourself in different ways?
I set high-performance standards for myself physically and professionally, and deeply understand that sustained greatness comes from consistent efforts. Some days are more tedious or exciting than others, so I don’t let my tasks determine the value of my time spent that day and instead aim to put the same amount of attention and care into each task or project. Some projects can last for a matter of hours, but take months of planning while others can take place on a set schedule over the course of 6 months. Consistent effort and attention to detail have been pivotal for me up to this point.
Q. We know you're all about pushing the game further. How important is it to push culture in a very narrowing industry.
The Health & Wellness industry is particularly challenging in this way. The demographics of people in New York City that spend more for a boutique wellness experience are of a certain type, along with the brands and products that align themselves with those consumers. Trainers and wellness products geared toward people of color are significantly under-represent, and the remedy to that issue is staffing. While the considerations for wellness in households of people of color might lag behind other groups due to disposable income and available resources, the number of people with a desire to look good and feel good while effecting positive change is not limited. To move the needle and become a more inclusive industry, managers of boutiques need to look beyond the low hanging fruit.
Q. What role does music play in your workout? What is your fave sweat tunes?
Travis Scott, Offset, Future and Tory Lanez are my favorites right now. I’ll bump their tracks when I’m doing a plain lift I lift just to get myself in a more aggressive state of mind. Although most people think getting hype is key to workouts, I’ve found focus to be paramount for me. Most of the time, slow jams get me zoned in on the task at hand. After I warm up my body is ready to go and I don’t need any additional physical primer.
Q. At Menos Mas we know men care. What is your beauty Regimen?
I wash my right face after waking up, and just before going to bed. After years of dealing with hair bumps, I found the right regimen of dermatologist prescribed ointments that I use sparingly in the evening as well. Some pea-sized dots of two prescriptions on my forehead, and underneath my neck is a must for me.
Q. Any skincare essentials?
Plain dove soap. Don’t sleep on it.
Q. We really live by ' beauty from the inside out' and 'less is more'. What do these Menos Mas Mantra's mean to you?
Wellness is trending right now, and some people will hop on the train just to follow fads while others are truly committing themselves to a lifestyle change. Overhauling your lifestyle and eliminating bad habits for the long haul is an incredibly vulnerable experience that includes moments of crippling self-doubt. To push through the difficult moments, you must rely on yourself and be your biggest supporter. To me, that requires self-love and a true recognition of the beauty of one’s potential then realizing that potential.
Q. Best advice you've ever gotten
Fail first, fail often. The faster you fail, the faster you learn.