How Country Music Star Jon Pardi Stays Fit on the Road

Rising country star Jon Pardi lives up a half mile driveway, past a pool, beside a massive garage, and surrounded by 15 acres of rural Tennessee beauty. These days, Pardi isn’t home too often to enjoy the land. Since 2010, he’s been on the road touring, first alongside Dierks Bentley and now also on his own. Occasionally, though, he comes back home where he can unwind, landscape, and enjoy the essentials. “That’s my life,” he says. “Dogs, working out, boats, tractors, mowing the grass, and a cheap-ass pool.”

We paid Pardi a visit before his upcoming tour, so he could show us around the property and talk diet and fitness. Performing in some of the country’s hottest places, literally—the temperature is super high—takes energy. And Pardi needs the right kind of culinary and exercise discipline to sustain long sets in the heat.

Walking us into his kitchen, he throws back the fridge doors to reveal probably the most stocked, average-joe fridge we’ve seen so far: salsa, eggs, hot sauce, string cheese, mustard, sausage, leftover rice, an entire drawer of pickles, the food goes on. Of course, there’s also the curated apple and veggie bins, but Pardi says those are actually his staples. They include green lettuce, broccoli, and asparagus.

Pardi admits it’s that time of the year for indulging—just a bit. “Summer is cooking,” he says.

And these days, his veggies mostly adorn plates of BBQ chicken, which he grills out on the deck; outside of “when the power goes out,” and he decides to just bake it in the oven (storms in Tennessee are wild, you know?). If it’s not chicken, Pardi’s putting filets or lean elk meat on the grill, which he hunts in Montana. “You know where it comes from, and it’s nice to harvest an animal and learn how to cook, and eat it, and use it for other things,” he says. It’s a kind of wild farm-to-table.

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Hot and sweaty in Charlotte! Great show! #burningmantour

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Pardi says that in general he’s been trying to cut back on bread and flour when on the road; no small feat when you’re touring America’s fried chicken and BBQ capitals. “I even tried cauliflower pizzas,” says Pardi, explaining how he avoids temptation.

When he cheats, though, Pardi indulges in Mexican food—rice, beans, tortillas—all carbs he normally does his best to avoid. Asked if he indulges a sweet tooth, Pardi turns without speaking and sneaks over to the pantry. “Boom! Coming in hot!” he yells, as he slides an entire bucket of Red Vines across the kitchen island. Sometimes you need to balance out that cauliflower pizza.

Pardi says maintaining energy has become his most important dietary goal. He tries not to eat too much before a show. Still, he needs a boost. His secret: Kombucha. (Even country rock stars drink the stuff.) Pardi says it keeps him away from Red Bull, and since his upcoming tour will see him playing 85-minute sets—that’s rocking and rolling without a break—he needs a more sustainable drink.

Pardi admits leg workouts are challenging because of his height. “If you get a trainer, that’s all you do: legs. So I got over that.”

To prepare for his on-stage cardio, Pardi tries to work out as much as he can, usually between three and five days a week. On the road, schedules get hectic. “Regardless, there’s always a floor,” Pardi says. Pushups, sit-ups, planks, jump squats are the baseline, and he mixes in staple bodyweight routines with free weights. Dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls travel with Pardi on the bus. Preferred exercises include bicep curls, with one arm locked and medicine ball slams. Pardi admits leg workouts are challenging because of his towering height. “If you get a trainer, that’s all you do: legs,” he says. “So I got over that.”

“I’m not trying to put up 500 anymore,” says Pardi. “I’m just trying to look fit. Looking okay with a shirt off,” he says. “You can never be like”—he puffs up his chest, Popeye style—“six pack!” But, Pardi goes on, you can give yourself a goal.

Even at home, Pardi finds time for fitness. His driveway acts as his training ground—a half mile incline in the Tennessee heat makes for the perfect sweat session. Landscaping work on his property also helps Pardi “keep his mind right.” He may not get home often, but when he does, he makes his days count. And in the southern August heat, we know we’d much rather jump in the pool than tackle that driveway.

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