Quinn Hatfield has 12 ascents up Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan, used to surf San Francisco’s burly Ocean Beach, did a brief stint in competitive powerlifting, and eventually discovered he was a kick-ass track cyclist, these days competing all over the country. Despite all this, Hatfield still had trouble keeping off the middle-aged pounds. “Guys just tend to get a little fat, and I was no different,” says Hatfield, who cooked in places like Spago in Los Angeles and Jean-Georges in New York City before opening Hatfield’s in Los Angeles in 2006. “I was playing all those games everybody plays – whole wheat bread, no sugar in my oatmeal, watching my calories. I couldn’t win.” Until, that is, he developed his own version of the paleo diet. “I like to stay away from the P-word,” Hatfield says, defining his own approach as, simply put, no grain-based foods, no added sugars, and nothing processed.
Results came quickly: Hatfield dropped from borderline pudgy down to 9 percent body fat. He also took third place at the 2013 Elite National Track Cycling Championships for men’s team sprint. To maintain this leaner physique, while consuming enough calories to fuel training and working hard in the restaurant, Hatfield developed a system for keeping healthy, delicious foods available at all times. “That way you don’t reach for garbage in a pinch,” he says.