How Chris Cuomo Looks Buff Without Bodybuilding

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Chris Cuomo, 47, is a host of CNN’s morning show “New Day,” which means he is up before sunrise. Born in Queens and based in Southampton, Mr. Cuomo balances a tough schedule among work, life and parenting. (He and his wife, Cristina Cuomo, have three children, who are 7, 11 and 14.) He is also a fitness buff, though he does not believe in bodybuilding. Here’s how he stays in shape and uses motivational books and podcasts to help him get through the daily grind.

Wake-Up Tactics

I wake up sometime between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. depending on what I can tolerate. What I have to do is I have to pivot sideways and fall onto the floor, then I can look at my phone from there. Otherwise, the light of the phone will wake up my wife, Cristina, and whatever child is in our bed. I look to see if the world has changed in the five hours I slept.

Grooming Regimen

The main objective is to be clean. I only use baby soap, even in my hair, because I have allergies. Also, my wife is into wellness and is not into chemicals. I used to like Old Spice body wash but my wife and 14-year-old found it repulsive.

Mr. Cuomo is the host of the CNN morning show “New Day.”CreditKrista Schlueter for The New York Times

At work, the only thing I tell the makeup lady is to tame the mane, so it’s not too big and curly. It’s because all anchormen have to look the same. I just have to make sure I brush my hair before I leave the house.

Work Uniform

I have almost zero interest in what I wear except that it just has to be different from the day before. My wife will take stuff from my closet and add stuff sometimes. I generally only wear white shirts and blue shirts, and dark blue and dark gray suits. The shoes I wear are very simple, and I shine them myself two to three times a week. I do a light buff, no spit shine. It’s not too flashy.

The only styling thing I do is I wear a pocket square everyday. I was doing it before all of them. You see a lot of guys doing it now. The pocket square is almost always a simple white and I have a second one in my pocket. They were my father’s. My mom gave them to me when he passed away.

Daily Affirmation

I spend exactly five minutes in the closet in the morning looking at a picture of my pop. It reminds me of why I’m doing what I’m doing. I do a simple breathing exercise — it resets your focus. It’s hard in the morning. It’s dark when I get up most of the year.

Mr. Cuomo on his way to the gym.CreditKrista Schlueter for The New York Times

The situation out there is so ugly. I call our work existence the Thunderdome. People are out to get you whether whatever is being said is true and or not.

Mind and Body

After the show, I have a couple quick meetings and then I leave. I don’t hang out in the office if I don’t have to. If I’m really tired, I will go home and sleep for an hour or two. But more likely, I check in with my wife who is running her magazine, The Purist, from home now. Then I go to the gym, which means either CrossFit or I’m at Asphalt Green, where I fight.

With CrossFit, I got into it years ago. I believe in functional strength. I am fascinated with middle age and performance. I do no bodybuilding. I don’t believe in it. I only care about what my body can do. How it looks is of little value.

The fight training is practical. It’s all self-defense combative stuff. It’s definitely mixed martial arts but not like M.M.A. on TV. What I’m training for are scenarios for when you’re being attacked. It’s how to defend yourself and your family. It’s so challenging. I’m actually terrible at it. My instincts are all wrong. But it tests your mind and body at the same time.

“I am fascinated with middle age and performance,” Mr. Cuomo, 47, said.CreditKrista Schlueter for The New York Times

Working Dad

I then eat and go home and I go walk the dogs, weather permitting. It’s a good kind of cool-down and I do a lot of thinking then of what happened on the show. Then I take a nap, and then the grind happens again. I read. I read news. I read self-improvement stuff. I read policy papers. I do calls with policy guys. I listen to podcasts about self-empowerment. My day is a lot of the grind and motivation for the grind.

Then I do the daddy run of after-school activities: taking them to martial arts, tennis, gymnastics and whatnot. My wife, Cristina, and our nanny, who I call Esposa Numero Dos, do more of this stuff than I do, but I try to help where I can.

Dinner and a Show

Afterward, I do homework with the kids. Then the big shot comes home from high school and we do homework some more. We eat dinner and that takes me through 9 at night.

If I can, I’ll read or binge-watch something not work-related. If I start a series, I have to finish it. With my son, we did all the different Marvel series. I watched “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones,” or I’ll watch whatever people think is hot. I think it’s good to keep my head in whatever is the zeitgeist.