How can I improve my physical stamina in the kitchen?
– Pleasance Rhett, Culinary Student, Brooklyn, NY
Exercise. Many chefs, cooks and other kitchen workers (myself formerly included) fall into a vicious cycle. We work long, physical hours and are both too tired to exercise outside of work and feel that we’ve done plenty already, simply through the physical aspects of the job. Unfortunately, while it sounds like an appealing notion, working is not the same as working out. Personal trainer Carlos Beamonte says, “Because chefs are on their feet all day I suggest low impact training like doing an elliptical or an arc trainer. This will work foot muscles instead of pounding on them and also have less impact on the ankles and knees. Cardio in general increases stamina by increasing lung capacity and decreasing the resting heart rate. The goal is for the heart to not have to work hard to pump blood to the rest of your body when at rest. With a little bit of exercise, the heart will run more efficiently all the time.”
And apart from the physical, of course, there’s the attitudinal. Ciara Tate, Line Cook at Philadelphia’s Il Pittore says, “Eat well, drink coffee, want it. Everyone in the restaurant is exhausted by the end of the day. You just have to care more about that food and what you're doing than yourself.”