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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Want to be Healthy and Social in Nashville? Erin Oprea, personal trainer to Carrie Underwood, explains how.

erin oprea carrie underwood personal trainer 4 x 4 diet

I sat down to chat with fabulous local trainer to the stars (ahem. Carrie Underwood), Erin Oprea, who recently released her first book The 4x4 Diet. Outlining her diet, exercises (most of which you can do on-the-go), meal plans and recipes -- the book is a perfect solution for anyone looking to streamline their waistline + lifestyle. 

Our chat covers Erin's personal faves of how you can be social and still be healthy in Nashy. Want legs like Ms. Underwood? Read on. 

What inspired you to go into personal training?

There are quite a few reasons actually. Let me list them!

-I have a love for fitness
-I have a love for movement
-I am hyper but it is slowly abating as I grow older. Not gone yet.
-My father was an active man and got me addicted to soccer early on that transitioned into all kinds of healthy activities like long distance biking.
-I am at my happiest when my clients get a good workout and start seeing results. Mentally and physically. Their happiness and self confidence increases dramatically.

Why Nashville?

This is where I was living when it all started and I have been witness to the great rise of this fantastic city.

I want legs like Carrie. Where do I start?

Consistency and diet are key. One of the main drives I had to put The 4x4 Diet out into the world is to make sure that people understand how important nutrition is in combination with movement to develop that strong lean body. Carrie understands this and works very hard to get herself where she wants to be. She is not the only one allowed to have a smokin' body, so are you! Go get it (my book and the legs)! My book will help you get the healthiest version of you.

4 x 4 diet -- why is this method the best? How did you come up with?

This is the best way to combine healthy eating and working out without compromising the fun to be had in life. Don't give up what you love, cut back on the portions that don't allow you to be the healthiest version. Don't have an hour for the gym? Do a couple Tabatas before work, 1 at lunch and a couple more when you hit home. You have four minutes, you have to put time in for your own health and happiness. 

I constantly am watching and researching ways to work out. For my clients, yes, but mainly for myself! I love challenging my own routines and will take any idea and craft it into a workout that is safe and effective. This goes for meals as well. All the recipes in The 4x4 Diet are from years of experimenting and adjusting so that it meets my own standards. I still do it to this day and even adjust the book's recipes to my current taste with different spices and portions!

So I'm social. And always busy with work. 4x4 diet seems like it can accommodate this lifestyle -- is it true?

Absolutely! The key is a little planning. My prep day is imperative to the meals I eat throughout the week. When people eat poorly it is usually becasue they lack the time to prepare a long winded recipe. However, if most of the main pieces are ready then it makes it SO much easier to just grab and go! Just baking a bunch of well-seasoned chicken allows you to grab it quickly for meals or even a snack. Plus you can get a Tabata done in the time it takes to reheat your prep foods! Try to get out of that one!

Keeping the 4x4 diet in mind (for the most part)... let's talk Nashville recs.

Date Night 

Date night for my husband and I usually revolves around walking in between restaurants. Steps while digesting small plates puts you in the 4x4 wheelhouse! Kale salad at St. Anejo with salmon added (light to no cheese and dressing on the side). Walk to The Farm House for some great seasonal vegetables and head to Germantown for City House's for some broccoli salad. If it's my indulgence meal I will definitely hit up their Bellyham pizza. One of our favorites. You can get up 15-20,000 steps in a night like that. Romantic!

Happy Hour

The healthiest drink option is my own! Grab the Rosarita at Mason's Bar inside Loews Vanderbilt. They have collaborated with me to not only create a delicious, low sugar cocktail but also some absolutely yummy dishes. Look for the barbell on the menu so you KNOW it's Erin Oprea approved!


This is tricky territory. For a special night that is not 4x4 Diet approved yet still magical, you have to go try the Apple Fritter Bread Pudding topped with ice cream and salted caramel at M Restaurant inside Cummins Station. Please don't eat all of it, it is NOT healthy :).

Casual Meal out on the Town 

I love Bricktops. Often after work engagements downtown I'll join my husband to finish off the workday by sitting at the bar and having the Ahi Tuna Salad with the dressing on the side. Make sure to ask for extra greens because I love my greens. Don't tell them I told you to do that, they'll hate me :).

Place to Work Out (Outdoors)

Yes Please! Behind the Capitol building is a large sweeping set of stairs that is really fun to run up and down. A big plaza at the top of them allows for an area to do an entire workout. Don't know what to do? Stick around for 5 minutes and you'll see someone there getting their fitness on and steal their ideas. Better yet, bring my book and make the most of your time!

Any Other Fun Ideas for Exercise in Nashville 

The Percy Warner loops are fantastic to run and hike through. Not only will you meet some great dogs but there is that fantastic set of steps to hit up for a good lung burner.  

Thanks, Erin! You can pick up your very own copy of The 4x4 Diet here!

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