Local community activist Robert Rodriguez created the donuts as part of his own fitness journey.
Almost everyone loves donuts. Be it from Krispy Kreme, the classic locally-owned mom and pop donut shop, or a hipster-style craft beer and donut joint, donuts are America’s favorite breakfast treat. And it seems like one is never enough (have you ever grabbed a donut from the box and cut it in half telling yourself you’ll just have the half, only to devour the other half minutes later?).
As delicious as donuts are, they aren’t known for their health benefits. They are usually filled with sugar, are fried, and are high in carbs (and not those good carbs your personal trainer will tell you to ingest).
Hillcrest resident Robert Rodriguez, however, has created a product that will satisfy your craving for donuts without the guilt. In 2020, he created Fitness Donuts - and they are delicious! You’ll definitely want more than one - and that is ok!
Rodriguez, who currently works as a bartender at popular Hillcrest spot Baja Betty’s, started on his own fitness journey at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. To date, he is proud of the 74-pounds he has lost over the last year and wants to keep the weight off. And this is where Fitness Donuts began.
“With everything closing down, including my gym [because of the pandemic], I wanted to maintain my lower weight and continue my fitness journey but it was hard because I just wanted to eat - especially sweets,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’ partner of 9 years, Scott Parman, suggested that he bake something healthy to satisfy his food cravings. After hearing his partners’ suggestion, Rodriguez was intrigued and did some research to see what he could come up with.
Baking was nothing new for Rodriguez. He has been baking since he took a home economics class way back in elementary school, and actually said he was the only boy in school to ever take the class. As he grew up, he always baked be it birthday cakes, wedding cakes, pastries, cookies - “You name it, I can do it all,” said Rodriguez.
During his process of trying to figure out how to bake healthier, he found through his research that there is a way to make high protein donuts, and he decided to try baking them. Rodriguez said he fell in love with these new-found donuts, and from there he just started playing around with different flavors, along with creating his own unique flavors.
According to Rodriguez, Fitness Donuts are made of almond flour, oatmeal flour, or coconut flour, which makes them friendly for people with gluten allergies. Protein powders and almond milk are also used to make the donuts.
There are no sugars added, instead monk fruit sugar or coconut sugar are used so those who might not be able to consume sugar can enjoy these donuts. Rodriguez says his donuts are considered to be gluten free, keto-friendly, and high in protein.
As he started to get his Fitness Donuts out there, they became an instant hit around the community.
Shortly after creating Fitness Donuts, Rodriguez was approached by Shawn Gilbert, the owner of Boulevard Fitness in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Gilbert had been following Rodriguez on social media and asked to try the donuts. “If they taste as good as they look, I’ll consider selling them at my gym,” Gilbert said to Rodriguez.
Of course, Gilbert loved his taste test and the donuts became a popular item for members of Boulevard Fitness looking for a healthy but delicious post-workout treat. Rodriguez continues to sell the donuts out of the gym as well as taking orders for others who can pick them up at various locations or for delivery when possible.
Also, you don’t have to be a member of Boulevard Fitness to stop in to purchase the donuts. Anyone is welcome to stop by and purchase the product. Boulevard Fitness is located at 2110 El Cajon Blvd.
Fitness Donuts started out with just 4 flavors, and has now grown to offer 21 flavors. The various flavors have either been created by various suggestions made by friends and even his own personal trainer. And Rodriguez is always open to new suggestions.
“If there is a donut flavor you’d like to see or have, and it’s not on my list, let me know and I will do my best to create it for you,” said Rodriguez. “Remember- just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to look good and tasty, that’s what I’m going for here. Creating healthy gourmet donuts.”
While Rodriguez is a well-known community activist and bartender, continuing to do a wide variety of charity work, his future goals for Fitness Donuts include having his own storefront to sell his products. He says he is also currently in the process of setting up a distribution system so those outside of Southern California can enjoy Fitness Donuts, too.
“The future looks really bright, I just have to keep pushing through,” said Rodriguez.
Fitness Donuts celebrated its one-year anniversary on April 12 and can be found on Instagram at @fitnessdonutssd.