Time is a valuable resource. We don’t own it, we can’t control it, and time waits for no one. The more successful you become, the more valuable your time becomes. This shouldn’t be an excuse to make time for food, exercise, and family. I had an opportunity to shoot some rapid-fire questions at one of the most polarizing, busiest, and successful American entrepreneurs of our current generation: Mark Cuban.
Mark Cuban is the owner of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, chairman of AXS-TV, investor of many products, and current “Shark” on ABC’s hit show, “Shark Tank“. We talk favorite foods, dining in Chicago, exercise, guilty pleasures, and more.
Taste With Jais: Considering your busy schedule, how important is it to you to make time for meals and would you consider yourself as someone who “lives to eat” or “eats to live”?
Mark Cuban: I consider myself as someone who lives to eat. Unfortunately, I find myself thinking more about when I can eat again, than what I will be eating.
TWJ: What do you typically eat for breakfast?
MC: My breakfast is always the same. I have a decaf coffee or tea and a box of Alyssa’s healthy cookies. I literally live on Alyssa’s. It’s my substance and sweet fix. A box has 360 calories, low net carbs, high fiber, and protein. There’s no added sugar and it’s gluten-free. They have a vegan option as well.
TWJ: If cookies are for breakfast, then what are you having for lunch?
MC: It really depends where in the world I am. Typically it’s a light meal for me. I try to do fish. If I had to pick a typical, then it’s grilled salmon and tomato soup.
TWJ: So how would that round out your typical weeknight dinner?
MC: That all depends on the family. I try to eat with the family whenever possible. If I can pull it off and make something for myself, then it’s a bag of pre-cut salad in a huge salad bowl with tortilla strips, some cheese , and low calorie Italian dressing. Fancy, right ? But it’s the dinner I eat more than any other when I’m home. Or I’ll take some grilled chicken and ketchup, maybe a side of corn. When the family orders from Bubba’s, it’s grilled chicken strips along with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans.
TWJ: Anything you like to snack on, in between meals?
MC: It’s either Skinny Pop popcorn or Alyssa’s cookies. My biggest problem is also picking off my kids plates. It’s there. It’s staring me in the face.
TWJ: Do you or your wife, Tiffany, cook at home, and are there any staple dishes?
MC: My wife is a great cook. But we order out more than cook. The kids love her spaghetti . That’s her go to.
TWJ: Anything you consider “healthy” that you indulge in?
MC: Alyssa’s cookies. I know I’m repetitive, but I like them so much I invested in the company.
TWJ: Haha, ok. Give me a guilty pleasure of yours.
MC: Whipped cream. I’ll walk around squirting whipped cream in my mouth. Hey! It’s low carb, haha.
TWJ: That’s incredible, do you even count your calories at all?
MC: Yes. I use the MyFitnessPal app. I track it all. It’s not all that precise, but they have a decent database of foods. If anyone wants to see what I eat, you can follow me @markcuban on the app.
TWJ: You count calories, but do you also restrict your caloric intake?
MC: I try to eat 2500 calories or less, and burn in a workout 450 or more. I tend to workout on the elliptical I have at home at night, or I’ll do a stair stepper and play basketball or even take a Rise Nation VersaClimber class. Working out is just as important to me as my calories.
TWJ: Not worrying about calories, and dining out, where and what is your go to meal?
MC: I try to eat fish, but my splurge is filet mignon or Korean barbeque. Try tracking calories there, haha.
TWJ: Let’s say you’re in a rush and need some fast-food. Where are your go-to places?
MC: l’ll go to a chicken joint like Popeye’s or Chick-fil-A and get the grilled strips. Another go-to is Twisted Root. I’ll get their buffalo patty on a salad. If I just need to be decadent, then I’ll take the kids to the McDonald’s drive through and I’ll order a chocolate dipped soft serve. Without question my favorite guilty pleasure. If I’m stressed, I’ll drive around till I finish the first and get a second.
TWJ: Let’s say it’s you and your wife’s anniversary, where are you having dinner?
TWJ: You dine and eat a wide array of foods, would you consider yourself a fine diner, a foodie, or someone who just eats?
MC: Just an eater. I can appreciate a good meal, but the reality is, I’m not patient enough to sit through it. I would rather eat somewhere casual and have a beer, than go fancy.
TWJ: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
MC: Growing up in Pittsburgh, some might think eating at Primanti Bros. is weird – with roast beef, french fries, and cole slaw on french bread.
TWJ: So when you travel to Chicago then, what are your must-eats?
MC: Gibson’s. Sirloin. Medium rare. French fries. Enough said
TWJ: Chicago is definitely a pizza town and has two styles of pizza – which one is yours, deep dish or thin crust?
MC: Gino’s East, deep-dish. Thin crust isn’t really pizza in Chicago. NYC, ok. Chicago, nope.
TWJ: With all this eating, how many days a week do you hit the gym?
MC: I work out six times a week. On the day of a Mavs game, I’ll go out on the court before the guys get there and get up shots for at least 30 minutes. That’s my ultimate stress release. For a basketball junkie like me, it’s a dream come true. I’ll also take a Zumba class on Saturdays when I can, maybe play pick up at lunch or afternoon whenever I can. My new obsession is a place called Rise Nation. It’s a 30 minute VersaClimber class. It’s amazing to get my heart rate up to 160 for most of the 30 minutes, and according to my watch, I run through 500 calories. My diet also doesn’t change much on days I hit the gym.
TWJ: Speaking of the court, how in-touch are you with the Food and Beverage program at the American Airlines Center (where the Mavs play)?
MC: I’m not really. I leave it to the pros at Levy’s.
TWJ: Anything you like to munch on during a Mavs game?
MC: I keep my cookies stocked in my office there, but I’ll munch on popcorn if I’m starved.
TWJ: What would you love to see served at a Mavs game that isn’t available now?
MC: More healthy options. That’s the feedback I get the most.
TWJ: Time is valuable. What’s your advice to someone about dividing their time between work, family and self?
MC: Less meetings. People think meetings are a place to get work done. In reality it’s a way to CYA (cover your ass), “but we had a meeting”. I push people to prepare and get to decisions and results as quickly as possible. Fewer meetings, more results. And as far as family and self, I always try to make it home for dinner if I’m in town. With three kids who are in every sports and group, it’s tough sometimes, but every dinner is a big win. Finally, one big change was convincing myself that I’m not tired at 10pm, and it’s not too late to work out. I’ll watch a show and just go. Just getting in 30 or 45 minutes makes me feel better about myself.
TWJ: Alright, one last question for you. The 1995-96 Bulls are playing the 2006-07 Mavericks in the NBA Finals. How does it play out?
MC: For that team. The Mavs.
TWJ: Haha, alright. Well, thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed answering these questions, and I hope it was a change of pace to what you’re usually answering.
MC: It was fun. Thanks!