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Thomas Reilly Of VMI Sports On Nutrition for Optimal Well-Being

Thomas Reilly Of VMI Sports On Nutrition for Optimal Well-Being

You will feel stronger. For example, include Protein, at as many meals as possible. This will fill you up with muscle building amino acids you need but can help you limit other calorie sources at each meal....

In an age where health and wellness are at the forefront of discussions, the undeniable connection between nutrition and overall well-being remains a paramount topic. With diverse diets, superfoods, and health trends gaining traction, it’s essential to differentiate between fleeting fads and scientifically-backed nutritional advice. Good nutrition isn’t just about maintaining a certain weight or physique — it’s about fostering mental clarity, energy, mood stability, and longevity. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Reilly, President of VMI Sports®.

Thomas Reilly is a well-known Brand Owner & Industry Leader in the Dietary Supplements space. With over 20 years of experience in the Nutritional & Dietary Supplement business, including 10 as a brand owner of popular Sports Nutrition brand, VMI Sports®, Tom has in-depth knowledge of trends in the industry. Having worked in both retail, e-commerce, wholesale distribution & now as a CPG brand owner, Tom has a wealth of experience to draw on when making suggestions about what’s out there for consumers.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Asa kid from Elmont New York with humble middle-class beginnings, most of my free time was spent playing sports. I played sports competitively pretty much year-round — baseball, basketball, and football. I loved baseball the most as I found it most mentally and physically challenging, but it wasn’t until high school football, that I began taking my nutrition and supplements seriously, and hitting the weights. That’s when much of my life direction began to change from a health perspective.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

This is a great question. I read quite a bit, and so many I’ve come across that are great but there is one quite applicable to most people as a Life Lesson:

Fear is a mile wide and an inch deep. Most people don’t start things, whether it be a new heath / diet plan or, a new fitness journey, or starting a business, etc., because of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the level of difficulty. In my experiences, although fear is not real per say, it is what really holds most people back from reaching their potential. Don’t be that person. Don’t say you can’t do “this” or “that”. Say “I haven’t done it yet”. Reframe your mindset and you can take control of your health & your life.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The following books & film likely have had the biggest impact on my overall, as I was able to apply the lessons in more than one way, and with great outcomes.

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear — whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight, or just learn how to get more done and waste less time in your routine, this book is a must read. Clear applicable strategies for everyone.
  2. The Object is the way by Ryan Holiday. This book is a great one for people who want a way to look at life and their own challenges from an objective angle & learn how to improve your own mindset and approach.
  3. The film Any Given Sunday starring Al Pacino is a great one — and not for obvious sports related motivational reasons. But instead for the underlying messages of things change, life throws things at you — and often times things out of your control — and it is how you chose to respond, how you react and deal with these things, that can define you as a person and is indicative of your path toward your own goals.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Do you promote a particular type of diet, or way of eating? Why has this worked for you and/or your clients/patients?

I think simply put, I try to focus on a high protein diet, from meat/animal sources, and limiting sugar intake and limiting processed foods and seed oils as much as possible.

I don’t believe there is a one fad diet for everyone. KETO may work for some, while Carnivore diet for others, and yet Paleo for another group. I can say I do not advocate for Vegan diets because they generally lack some key nutrients that then must be supplemented. If you can include protein at every meal, from meat sources as often as possible, and avoid fast food & sugars, that’s a good start for anyone.

The biggest challenge for most people isn’t finding the right “diet”, it’s sticking to it. Find something you can adhere to consistently and then you can monitor calories in/calories out and go from there.

How can individuals personalize their nutrition based on genetic predispositions or unique health concerns?

Frist and foremost, always consult your doctor or health care practitioner, but I do personally advocate for people getting tested for any genetic predispositions, and then working with a nutritionist on food options that suit your medical needs. However, I would offer that many people say they think they have predispositions they “genetically inherited” and I think this tends to be overblown and used as an excuse. Your body is a machine that can respond when provided the right nutrition. Eat right, include protein, get the right sleep and rest, exercise regularly — all for a reasonable amount of time consecutively — before you blame predispositions that you aren’t sure you have.

What’s the role of hydration in nutrition, and how does it affect physical and cognitive functions?

Hydration is HUGE. Most people don’t even know they are not hydrating properly, and don’t know “drinking more water” is not the only answer. This can have small effects like headaches, but also more serios affects like mental fatigue at work, poor exercise performance, limited recovery and even poor sleep.

Make sure you’re getting some sort of multi-mineral supplement if you’re not getting enough minerals/electrolytes in your diet — this is key on top of drinking enough water throughout the day.

How do seasonal and locally sourced foods contribute to optimal nutrition and well-being?

Candidly fresh foods can be our best friends, and I think most people today looking to improve their nutrition and diet recognize that. You’re not going to know what soil was used on every piece of fruit you eat, but eating locally farmed and grown produce can be a step in the right direction.

What are foods and ingredients you believe we should be mindful of consuming in small quantities or all together avoiding?

Fast food and processed food is everyone’s target to avoid. On a more granular level I try to suggest people avoid wheats/yeast/breads. These can wreak havoc on your digestive system over time depending on which you consume and how often. As an advocate for digestive health as a major factor in improved lifespan and quality of life, as well as factoring in the gut-brain connection, I always suggest people avoid these types of foods to limit long term gut issues. Learn to read the nutrition labels AND the “other ingredients” and you’ll find yourself making better decisions about what you eat.

What are foods which make your own personal power-food list?

Power foods I love and believe in include Red Meat/Steak, Avocados, Blueberries, Olive Oil, Eggs, & Fish.

They are nutrient dense, all in different ways, but can and should be included in balanced diets whenever possible, barring any health conditions that might limit consumption.

With the rise of plant-based diets, what are the key nutrients to focus on for balanced nutrition?

Plant based diets can be lacking in B12, Vitamin D3, Zinc and other essential minerals. A fully dosed multivitamin & multimineral is absolutely a necessity if you go that route.

How do sugar and processed foods impact mental health and mood over time?

Sugar intake affects blood sugar and insulin. These ups & downs can affect other hormones in the body and in turn affect your moods, as well as mental focus. Same reason I don’t give my daughter sugary candy before she needs to sit and do homework… not a good idea. To perform at your best, your body needs as natural and healthy supply of nutrients as possible. Choose fruit instead of processed sweets and your body will respond better. Processed foods can be even worse, and many don’t even have long term health studies reflecting mental health effects. Easy motto — keep it clean, keep it natural and keep the sugar out of it.

Can you please share your “Top Five Benefits Of Healthy Eating.”

1 . You will feel stronger. For example, include Protein, at as many meals as possible. This will fill you up with muscle building amino acids you need but can help you limit other calorie sources at each meal.

2 . Mental Clarity & Recovery. Hydration is a key here — this means including foods and beverages that contain essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and even sodium. These can be essential for proper hydration, which can lead to improved mental clarity & enhanced physical recovery.

3 . Better Digestion. Avoid processed foods and seed oils. This can be tough for some folks who don’t know what they’re looking for, but know what you’re eating — and try to stick to things cooked naturally and with the least amount of artificial food additives as possible.

4 . Improved Metabolism. The better food and supplement choices we make, the better our internal system runs. Remember — garbage in = garbage out. You don’t use the wrong charged for your phone, and you don’t put cheap gas in a new car, so take care of your body with the cleanest foods you can find, and your body will repay you

5 . Mood. Avoiding sugar filled foods, and processed foods, can help your body keep it’s blood sugar and insulin in check, and in turn other hormones that are affected but up & down spikes from the wrong foods at the wrong time. A good key to avoiding mood swings, afternoon crashes, and “hangry” behavior, is to eat the right foods, consistently throughout the day — develop a schedule and plug in balanced meals with protein, and you’ll start feeling way more balanced!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

My vision has for a long time, been to motivate and educate others on what I have learned and how it can benefit their health, their life and that of their families — my hope is that they will take that message and share it with those in their circles of reach, to help their family, friends and community make better health choices.

Today, we use our brand, VMI Sports®, as a platform to promote healthy lifestyle practices and a community to discuss health challenges and create a supportive network for people to connect and learn from each other.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

There’s two I can think of I’d love to meet, in no particular order.

Patrick Bet-David, the Insurance Entrepreneur that has become a household name on social media channels. I’ve just finished one of his books and his delivery is fantastic.

The other is Gary Becka, former actuary turned health coach who has become increasingly well known on social media and believes in many of the health-related things that I do.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can find me on Instagram @tom_reilly_vmisports & on LinkedIn @Thomas Reilly

You can also visit out brand @vmisports on instagram or at

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thank you & same to you!

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