Larger-Than-Life Chef Turns to Fitness Amid Pandemic

Action Bronson, also a rapper, has lost 130 pounds since March
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2021 8:00 AM CDT
Larger-Than-Life Chef Turns to Fitness Amid Pandemic
A before-and-after of Action Bronson.   (YouTube)

Fans of Action Bronson know him as a larger-than-life rapper, chef, artist, and TV host. They might be surprised to learn that the 37-year-old has added a new item to that list—fitness enthusiast. A New York Times profile of the Brooklynite, real name Ariyan Arslani, reveals that he has lost 130 pounds since the start of the pandemic, down from his peak of 375 pounds. One turning point came near the end of 2019 when he was denied life insurance after a checkup. "I was eating like I was a child, like I was a growing boy, anything in sight," he tells Jon Caramanica. "I felt good, but I knew I wasn’t in a good place. I could barely fit in this chair. My stomach would catch on the sides." That lifestyle fit the vibe of his cooking show, F---, That's Delicious, which aired on Vice's cable network and is now on Bronson's YouTube channel.

But Bronson says it spilled over into real life, causing friction with his 28-year-old fiancee as they began to plan a family. “All you think about is, ‘Am I going to die at night when I go to sleep?’” he says. At the start of the pandemic in March, Bronson began taking long walks in the city and gradually escalated to jogging and other exercises. He began eating smaller, healthier meals or replacing them with juices and smoothies. On his show, he shifted to taking tastes of his meals instead of full indulgences. By May, he had shed 60 pounds and began heading to a New Jersey gym early each morning to work with a trainer. “I needed this work," he says. "I needed the mental anguish. I need to feel like I put myself through hell. My body is catching up to my ambition.” (Read the full profile.)

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