by Lindsay Miller
photos by Sam Carbine
Q. What has made the biggest difference in your health?
Q. Did anything trigger that change?
A. I’ve always worked out and I love being active, but gaining the weight at 21 and going on stage meant I started seeing pictures of myself afterward. I sort of had this realization that I didn’t look as good as I thought I did.
Q. Are you competitive?
A. Yes! I am and I truly get it from my father.
Q. Did you play any sports as a kid?
A. My Dad played football in college so I was raised on that sport. But I played lacrosse in high school and then later into college.
Q. What is your connection with a healthy lifestyle and what is your connection with music? Are there any similarities?
A. Absolutely. It is important as a songwriter to be regimented. I go to the gym and then go to the studio and write a song. My fitness routine is in sync with my music because the healthier I feel the more creative I am. There is clarity in my life when I am eating healthy and not binging on the road. So it translates to when we travel because I know how to make better choices in general. It creates a routine, instills hard work, and keeps me awake. A lot of times songwriting can be like flexing a muscle – it’s daily – and the ability to write a song is like the ability to turn something on. Constantly having a regimen and getting to the gym is a way of controlling my life when other things might be out of control. So it has created good habits for me. The music business is uncertain and you don’t always know where you are going to be because of schedule changes. Often times, people tell you, “no” or that they don’t like your music. So feeling good about yourself and having confidence helps combat that. I can’t control what people say or do, but I can control my outlook and how I feel about myself.
Q. Any embarrassing moments on stage?
A. Oh yes, in Birmingham, I turned around to take a selfie with the whole crowd and I ripped the seat of my jeans, like the whole thing, but luckily I had on black boxers because I couldn’t change during the show. I had to wear them like that the rest of the time I was on stage.
Q. Any embarrassing moments at the gym?
A. Well, it was more scary than embarrassing, but we were doing push jerks and I was trying to keep up with some of the strongest guys in the gym. I went to put 225 pounds over my head and dropped it on the back of my neck. I was terrified and thought I might be paralyzed because I couldn’t pick up my phone, but I ended up being fine. Just sore the next few days.
Q. What is a workout you want to try but haven’t yet?
A. I would really love to try a hardcore boxing class. Like in a grungy, dirty gym. Maybe with Sylvester Stallone.
Q. Do you have any superstitions?
A. If a light goes out around me, like a street light for example, I will cross my heart three times. I think I saw it on that old MTV show, “Real Life: OCD,” or something similar and it just always stuck with me.
Q. Why is your health so important to you at this age?
A. When I first got my publishing deal I was 21 years old and I had put on some beer weight. I remember just feeling like I was a little unhealthy. The moment fitness came into my life, I just felt better. I felt more confident in general but even more so when I got on stage.
Q. Dream vacation?
A. Japan. I’d like to experience some real, authentic sushi. Or China, because I want to see a panda in the wild.
Q. Sandwiches or wraps?
A. Wraps. I’m actually not a big fan of bread.
Q. College food you use to binge on?
A. Carrots and ranch. Totino’s Pizza Rolls. I couldn’t afford anything else in college.
Q. Current food you binge on?
A. Thai Curry. I’ve been cooking my own lately with low-fat coconut milk and cauliflower gnocchi.
Q. Favorite Restaurant in Nashville?
A. Urban Grubb.
Q. The least favorite thing your trainer makes you do?
A. Bulgarian Split Squats.
Q. Books or podcasts?
A. Podcasts. I’ve recently been listening to these True Crime case files. When I’m on the road for hours, stuff like that helps me pass the time.
Q. Salt or Sugar?
A. Just Whey Protein.
Q. The most important thing you’ve learned from your trainer?
A. A lot of wisdom from my trainer, Jeff Waller, has been about mobility and hip engagement.
Q. Wine or whiskey?
A. Lately, it’s been red wine because I don’t like it that much. That way I will drink less of it. Up until now, it had always been whiskey though.
Q. The hardest workout you’ve ever done?
A. The workouts at Iron Tribe about a year ago were really hard. We did one that was 5 rounds for time. 800-meter run, 5 muscle-ups and 12 deadlifts.
Q. TV show you can’t stop watching?
Q. Guilty pleasure?
A. Spicy Chick-fil-A biscuits, Game of Thrones, Fudge Ice-cream, Peanut M&Ms, Corona, and I actually listen to Justin Beiber at the gym.