At least that’s what works for Levain Bakery co-founder Pam Weekes who, with her business partner Connie McDonald, created one of New York City’s most illustrious treats: a gooey, colossal 6-ounce cookie.
“Deprivation is no way to live,” Weekes, 58, tells The Post. “Life is short, and you should enjoy it.”
But despite a “terrible sweet-tooth” that has her eating “a little dessert after every meal,” including a chocolate-chip walnut cookie in the afternoon, Weekes adheres to a rigorous fitness routine.
Around 5:45 a.m., Weekes and McDonald — who live in the same Harlem apartment building — hop on Citi Bikes to get to a swimming class with a Columbia University triathlete group three times a week.
“It’s not just lap swimming. It’s interval training, and is definitely challenging,” says Weekes, about the 60- to 90-minute classes. “Plus, it’s taught by the men’s varsity coach.”
On days she’s not swimming, you can find her at the gym doing a strength-training workout, or at a Kula yoga studio doing downward dogs.
“I try to work out every day as part of my life,” says Weekes. “Diversity in your diet, your life and your exercise … leads to a healthy, happy life.”
McDonald, 58, only reaches for the cookie jar “a few times a week,” but she’s equally devoted to exercise. On top of the swim classes, she’s a big fan of spin at SoulCycle.
“I love to sweat,” she says. “I dunno, it just feels so good.”
It’s no wonder then that the two women first concocted the epic cookies as a way to fuel up for Ironman training sessions.
“They’re really substantial, so you could just stick one right into the back of your bike shirt and just go off on a ride,” McDonald tells Women’s Health. “And it’s not going to break apart. It was so much better than anything else that was out there, or that’s still out there.”
For years, the two friends used the desserts to help them accomplish the freakish feat of competing in Ironman races, which include 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and a full 26.2-mile marathon.
Eventually, the two introduced their creation to the Big Apple in 1995 at their first fixture at 167 W. 74th St. The world hasn’t been able to get enough of them since.
Now, Levain has expanded to four locations throughout the city and one in Wainscott, LI. The chain is also set to open a new spot in Noho in February and Williamsburg (date TBD).
Whether it’s in the kitchen baking or in the gym sweating, moderation is key for these two founders.
As Weekes puts it: “What’s better than a cookie and a glass of wine?”
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