Is Subway Healthy?

Q: Is Subway a healthy place to eat on a regular basis?

A: Subway focuses on low-fat menu items, and that’s where their edge ends. People eat there because it’s cheap and convenient, but the ingredients are not the highest quality, and not all of the menu items are low in fat content (their cookies are delicious). My suggestion, if you do go there, is to get the “Veggie Delite” on any of the breads since none of them are really whole grain (my favorite is Honey Oat) along with low-calorie dressing. You’ll need to tell them to add extra vegetables, because I’m convinced that they’re trained to skimp on the ingredients. Better yet, go to your neighborhood grocer or farmer’s market and get a fresh fruit bowl, fruit, or a basic vegetable salad with added protein. Simple is healthy.

One Meal a Day for Optimal Health?

Eating only one meal a day for health and fitness seems like such a radical concept, but I’ve experienced success with it over the years. At the same time, I have eschewed commonly accepted dogma, such as:

  • Eat 5 to 6 small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
  • Avoid eating at night, it will make you fat.

Rather than tell you which way is right, here are some advantages to eating only one “main” meal, at night [Update: I now do my main meal as a late lunch, since I exercise in the evenings; but I make sure there is time to rest around eating]:

More energy

Digesting food is a more energy costly process than most would believe, so when you’re not busy digesting food, you have this energy available for mental and physical tasks. Furthermore, since exercising on an empty stomach is ideal, there is no issue of timing on when you last ate vs. when you’re exercising.

Better sleep

Because of the energy expended in digestion, food can be a natural sedative, which is perfect for insomniacs, as timing your meal in the evening can raise serotonin levels and help you fall asleep easier. The digestive process will continue throughout the night, and by the time you wake up, you’ll have an empty stomach, ready to be alert and wide awake.

Deal with cravings

Throughout the day, you’ll be exposed to a lot of temptation when it comes to food, so by holding off eating until the evening, you can make a conscious decision on what it really is you want to eat when that time comes. You might find that some cravings were merely incidental.

Something to look forward to

We’re all familiar with “comfort food”, so by having your meal as the last thing you do in the day, you’ll always know you’ll have something to look forward to. This would typically be a very satisfying meal if you’re eating the same amount of food in one meal as you were in 3 meals.

After reading this, you may not want to try the one meal a day way of living. However, if you do, realize there are several benefits and that it’s not detrimental to your health. Stay positive.

*People with blood sugar irregularities may need to be on a more frequent eating schedule. Check with your doctor.

2012 IFBB FLEX Pro Rundown

Lionel Beyeke (FLEX Pro winner) and Janaina Barral (FLEX Bikni Model winner)

This past weekend I attended the 2012 IFBB Flex Pro in beautiful Santa Monica, CA. This is the first pro show of the year, and there’s no better city to hold a professional bodybuilding competition than in the home of Muscle Beach.

The placings:

1. Lionel Beyeke from France won the men’s open division and qualifies for the Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas. He was the hype coming into the show, but many felt he shouldn’t have won given his [lack of] conditioning. This was especially apparent in his back poses, where he seemed to be holding a film of water. Nevertheless, his genetic structure (and small waist) was enough to earn him a victory.

2. Ben Pakulski was my favorite to win. Although not structurally superior to Beyeke, Ben “Pak-Man” Pakulski brought jaw-dropping mass, better conditioning (with hard glutes) and the most wow factor to the stage. Pak-Man is mostly known for his tremendous legs–when he would stand to the front or back, his quad sweep would seemingly spill outward. It’s an insane thing to see, not to mention his enormous calves. I also was very entertained by Ben’s poise on stage, and when I talked to him about it at the show, he said he’s “a very passionate person”.

3. Fouad “Hoss” Abiad took 3rd. He had balance, shape, symmetry, size, and conditioning, and ironically this hurt his placing because nothing really stood out about Fouad (to the judges, at least).

4. Sean “Flexatron” Rhoden was a crowd favorite. Although structurally superior, like Beyeke, he couldn’t quite hang with the big boys in terms of size. He was a little soft as well (by bodybuilding standards, “soft” can still be ripped), and had he been in better condition, he may have moved up a spot.

5. Eduardo Correa took 5th, probably the most disappointing decision of the evening, as many felt he should have won the show. He was the smallest of the top five competitors, but where he really shined above everyone else was his hard-as-nails conditioning. In bodybuilding terms, there’s ripped, and there’s shredded. Correa was inside out shredded. He brought freaky conditioning with the striated glutes, triceps, deeply set abs, and peeled apart quads. He was so shredded it looked like it hurt.

In the women’s divisions, Adela Garcia won Pro Fitness, and Janaina Barral won the Bikini Model Search. The fitness routines were especially very fun to watch. There was also plenty of eye candy on stage, as well as in attendance (which is true for most bodybuilding contests).

Phil Heath (current Mr. Olympia) was also in attendance. I’ve been to several Olympias and my goal one year is to fly out to the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH.

It was a great weekend and I got in a training session at Venice Gold’s Gym. Dexter Jackson was training legs with Charles Glass (2 weeks out from the Arnold Classic), as were a few other pros, such as Ben Pakulski. 50 Cent was also in the gym working out. You never know who you’ll run into at The Mecca.

‘I Am Bruce Lee’

I had the privilege of watching a limited engagement screening of the new documentary, “I Am Bruce Lee”. The film was very well done, inspiring, entertaining, moving, and showed a lot of clips/interviews that were never seen before. I encourage you to check it out when it’s released on Blu-ray. Everyone will get something out of it, whether you’re a Bruce Lee fan or not.

Rather than review the movie, I want to talk about how Bruce Lee inspires me as an individual and how I resonate with his philosophies.

Number one, Bruce Lee is definitely my body image role model. I could never get as big as Arnold, so I identified more closely with the sinewy build of Lee. I once said that my ideal is to be a beefed up version of Bruce, and the man had a mean lat spread (bodybuilders know what I’m talking about). It’s interesting to note that Bruce Lee was all about function over form, when it came to physique. That is, he made sure he carried just enough bodyweight to carry out the task [of kicking ass].

Bruce Lee was also a deeply knowledgeable individual, and shunned tradition for tradition’s sake. He embraced individuality versus being a follower, which I can definitely relate to. I think in order to evolve as a human being, you have to transcend those before you. This is never comfortable or socially acceptable, so Bruce Lee was always up against strong adversity in terms of his philosophies. However, all great minds once had their ideas rejected.

Finally, Bruce Lee had a powerful persona. I kind of wonder what it would have been like to meet him, as he seemed very intimidating. At the same time, he had a charm and charisma about him, and didn’t boast, which is why he has been described as a “coiled up cobra”.

Bruce Lee definitely had a strong impact on people around the world, not only martial arts. As a physical culturist, he’s truly a legend. 70 years since his birth, I’m carrying on his legacy in the art of expressing the human body.

5 Huge Benefits of Eating Healthy

We all know we’re “supposed to” eat healthier if we want more vitality and a better body; but once your favorite hedonistic foods are put in front of you, it’s easy to forget what motivated you in the first place. Here are some major benefits you can be sure to experience with good nutrition:

1. Easier Weight Control

You know I’m a big believer in the fact that calories control weight, but it’s much easier to control calories when you’re eating nutritious foods. By getting the nutrients and bulk you need from whole foods, you’ll be satisfied a lot sooner and at a much lower calorie amount compared to high-fat, processed foods.

2. More Energy

When you give your digestive system a rest from the burden of processing complicated food mixtures, you’ll be surprised how much energy you free up. You may find you need less sleep and have an increased inclination to exercise–you may even enjoy it more. Things that used to cause stress will seem less significant, you’ll be happier and skip to a different beat.

3. Saves Money

I don’t care what people say about “eating healthier costs more”.  In my experience, it’s much cheaper (and simpler) to live on whole, unprocessed foods. Plus, you’re getting more nutrition for your calories, so you won’t need to spend a bunch of money on supplements.

4. Mental Clarity

When your bloodstream isn’t clogged with refined sugar, salt, and trans fats, you’ll think a lot clearer and you may experience a major boost in creativity. You might also start to see your work as a labor of love instead of something you dread doing.

5. Setting an Example

Living a healthy lifestyle makes you a model, not necessarily a magazine model (although that could be your goal), but a role model to those who think it’s too difficult or not worthwhile to live this way. There is a level of well-being that many people are missing out on, and by being a living example (rather than simply talking about it), you’ll become humbled and proud of your own accomplishments and inspire others along the way. This is doubly important if you’re a parent.

Happy Living

Bodyweight Fluctuations – What Do They Mean?

Your Holiday Fit Guide

Hey folks, the holiday season is here, which means plenty of parties, pastries, and picture-taking. It can also mean falling off your fitness plan and losing all of the progress you worked so hard for, so here are some tips to stay motivated:

Start your New Year’s resolution now

Fitness goals such as leaning out probably rank #1 for New Year’s resolutions, so why wait? If you start now, then when things get in the way such as time off from the gym and holiday eating, at least you’ll be in a better starting position than if you were to let yourself go completely.

Use the law of compensation

It’s all about the calories, baby. There’s no reason to guilt yourself for eating chocolate and the like, just know that all calories count. Feel free to treat yourself to what you like; just cut back in other areas. It might be skipping dinner if you had a big lunch, saving the pie for tomorrow if you already had a lot of candy, choosing calorie-free drinks if you’re planning to have a “rich” dessert, or indulging in an extra workout.

 Workout with a partner

If you belong to a gym, this is a good time to use social support, as the biggest challenge this season will probably be getting through the door. Workout with a friend or anyone you know who frequents your gym at the time you work out. If you’re more of a loner (and single), there’s nothing wrong with scheduling your workout when you know the gym “hottie” will be there, if it keeps you motivated. Just don’t be creepy.

If you work out at home, you’ll need more willpower, but you can still create a positive, supportive environment. Use exercise videos, play some pumped up music, go on a walk with a friend to chit-chat, or take your dog to the big park, and dress warmly.

Do something fun

If you’re not in the mood for exercise, ditch the rigid routines for now and do something fun–this might be a Zumba class, in-ring boxing, indoor rock climbing or whatever your preferences are.

If you need something more relaxing (the holiday season can be stressful) then some simple stretching or a yoga class might be more helpful.

Avoid getting S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Seasonal Affective Disorder is real and part of it has to do with the sun elevating your feel-good hormone, Serotonin. It can be hard in the winter, but get outside during the day to get some sunshine and fresh air to the extent possible.

Try on your “nice” clothes

This is not about squeezing into skinny jeans; but using your [properly fitting] clothes as a reference point to know if you’re straying too far off your normal, comfortable size. And, you’ll probably be wearing these clothes during the holiday occasions.

Schedule some “me” time

Shopping for and preparing gifts can be stressful, so can traveling, hosting guests and visiting family. Look for any opportunities in the day to be self-indulgent without adding stress. Lay in a dim room and meditate, get a massage, unplug from the world at least an hour a day. If you relieve stress by being active, spend some fun time with the kids, or work on a fun creative project.

Don’t weigh yourself after a big-eating day

You won’t like what the scale says; but it also won’t represent what you think it does. Food mass and water create big gains on the scale, and after a big-eating day, you’ll gain more weight than body fat. This weight drops just as rapidly when you go back to normal eating.

Practice good hygiene

If you have extended time off, it can be easy to lower your standards, and this creates a snowball effect into other areas of your life. Sleep at normal times, start your day with a shower, shave, clean your teeth, try a new hairstyle if you want, do things that make you feel good about yourself.

If you have a tip you would like to add, please leave a comment below.

Happy Holidays