This post is part of a series of Queerty conversations with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–or just sit on the couch ogling them instead.
Name: Noah Ashner, 29
City: Phoenix. AZ
Occupation: Nurse, fitness instructor & lifestyle coach
Favorite Gym: EoS.
Do you have a favorite exercise playlist? I’m a big fan of anything remixed. Any nightclub mixes, usually I lean toward circuit mixes of pop and house.
What’s the best food to eat prior to a workout? For me, I like to keep it lite. I do a small amount of egg whites and some oats in the morning since I like to go first thing.
What’s the best outfit for working out? It depends on when I’m working out, but my standard is short shorts and a tank top. I like to keep it simple.
How do you balance staying in shape and having fun? I always say “work hard play hard.” I like being active socially and at the gym. Develop your own reward system: if you spend time at the gym, give yourself time for a social life.
What’s a basic, if useful, work out tip you can offer? I always look at how I feel afterward. The feeling of accomplishment is the best feeling. Can’t beat that.
You’re a big advocate of a plant-based diet. When did you discover as much? It’s funny, it’s only been in the past year that I made the switch. My partner and I meal prep all the time, and he mentioned how he was getting sick of it. We got to the point where we couldn’t eat any more chicken. So we did our research and decided to try going plant-based. Once we started experimenting, it’s actually more affordable than buying meat. Cooking and preparing it is much quicker. We noticed a difference in our mood, our energy level, our quality of sleep within the first week.
For a lot of men, they eat diets heavy in meat to get their protein to gain weight. Is it possible to do this with a plant diet? You can. It really comes down to math. You have to do a basic math calculation to meet the same calorie count as you would on a meat-based diet. If you want to get bigger you raise the number you are consuming: how much fat, how much protein and how many carbs.
How does increasing the amount of plants in your diet affect sex drive and vitality? The biggest difference—and this is so weird, because we didn’t catch on until like week two or three—I would wake up with very noticeable morning wood. That, and having extra energy throughout the day. You feel healthier. I’ve also gotten a lot more toned and defined in my muscles.
So what are some plant foods to include in the diet for increased energy? Sex drive? There are lists of high-testosterone foods out there. We’ve kept it simple to quinoa, tofu and tempeh. You can also do beans and greens as well.
You’re also a bottom advocate, which is great since gay men tend to get very little instruction or education about gay sex. How does switching to a plant-based diet affect the ability to bottom? I agree completely. Growing up in the midwest, you wish there was a how-to guide. Changing diet hasn’t really affected my ability to bottom at all. As far as regularity, I’ve always been healthy. I can still regulate when I eat and be the judge of my body. I don’t think it’s made much of a difference.
You mention on your website that a stroke was part of what prompted you to take interest in fitness in a new way. How does living through something like that change your outlook on life and your priorities? Gosh, it makes you appreciate everything. I got a second chance at life. I want to do things I was putting off, or things I was nervous to try. When you nearly die, you tend not to care about others judging you. I just want to do as much as I can, because I almost wasn’t able to. I write on my website that this was almost a blessing in disguise. Had it not happened, I wouldn’t have gone into health and fitness and taken my life in a different direction.
What do you keep on your nightstand? My phone, my charger and lube.