By Emma Stessman
When Kirsten Potenza talks about a ripple effect, she could be referencing what happens as her drumstick hits the ground in a POUND class. But what she’s really referring to is her mission to create positive ripples in her community through small, everyday choices.
As CEO and co-creator of POUND, the first and only full-body drumming workout, that means making sure that class participants are not only getting a serious cardio and arm toning workout, but are also enjoying themselves and getting something deeper out of the sweat session.
“At POUND, we express to our instructors the importance of honoring the decision someone made to walk into their class and that they have the power to make that person’s day better,” she says. And hey, research shows they actually do: both drumming and exercise have the potential to relieve stress, so an hour of both could be just the thing to put that extra pep (or rock-and-roll beat) in your step.
Of course, sending out positive ripples starts with taking care of her own health and happiness. From Japanese condiments to her super personalized diet, here’s how Potenza’s positive outlook and eating habits help her live her most Nutritious Life.
How Does Kirsten Potenza Live a Nutritious Life?
If you had to name your healthy diet, what would you call it? I’m not a big believer in diets, but I am a big believer in listening to your body. In many ways, it will tell you what’s right or wrong. So I guess it would be called the “just-for-me diet.”
What’s your go-to breakfast? It takes my body a while to get hungry in the morning. I try to start with a big cup of water and lemon. When I’m feeling hungry, I’ll usually make oatmeal with berries or scrambled eggs, avocado, and greens. I’m also very into a Japanese condiment called Furikake (it typically consists of a mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, and chopped seaweed) right now, so I pretty much sprinkle it on everything.
Your go-to workday lunch? I like to make my lunch at work. It ensures that I get to have a healthy lunch and it also saves me a lot of moola. Each week, I’ll choose a theme. Asian, Italian, etc. I’ll choose lettuce, toppings, and dressing that fit with the theme. Then, each day, I’ll mix it up with a base and toppings.
Your go-to workday dinner? I LOVE a good bowl. I’ll turn the oven on (375), mix some vegetables (fennel, tomatoes, carrots) with olive oil, balsamic, lemon, salt, and pepper, and throw them in for about 25–30 minutes. While I’m waiting, I’ll sauté some greens (kale, collard greens, or chard) with garlic and olive oil. In a bowl, I’ll add brown rice, some sort of lettuce, the greens, roasted vegetables, 1/4 of an avocado, and some green goddess dressing. It’s a win every time.
What’s the one food you always have in your fridge? Pickles.
The one food you’d never buy? I never say never. But Go-GURT?
Other than water, what do you sip regularly? Kombucha.
How often do you exercise, and what’s your workout of choice? I usually POUND at least a couple times a week, but that could be a class, choreographing new POUND tracks or performing at an event. My schedule is unfortunately not very routine! POUND combines a lot of cardio and strength-training, so I try to balance that with yoga and the occasional hike or bike ride.
What’s your go-to tool for managing stress? Planning. When I plan ahead and schedule time for mindfulness, exercise, and healthy activities, I always find myself less stressed out.
I use a Bullet Journal to schedule out my days, meetings, and me-time and track my habits and daily water intake. I also write EVERYTHING down.
How do you express and spread love? I’ve been told that I’m a “giver.” I express my love by giving. Whether it’s making someone a meal made with LOVE, giving them my time or telling them how I feel. I love pretty hard.
What does it mean to you to “live consciously”? Being aware of the impact you make to the people and the world around you at a micro level… We live our lives through a series of choices and even the smallest things—saying hi to a stranger or holding back an impulsive reaction—can create a positive ripple effect.
Meditation or massage? Massage.
A hot shower or a soothing bath? Hot shower.
Almond butter or peanut butter? Almond butter, but it has to be the creamy kind.
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
A long run outside or a dark spin class? Dark spin class.
(All Photos: POUND)