James Magnussen Explains How Not To Meatball Gorge At Subway

Olympic athletes debate whether it is possible to go to Subway and not end up with the cheese-and-meat-laden versions. Plus: Lifehacker's editor tries to make a sub at high speed after being instructed by a champion snowboarder.

Subway held a media event yesterday to announce its new "famous fans": swimmer James Magnussen, hockey player Casey Eastham and snowboarder Torah Bright. All three testified to being regular Subway consumers, which makes sense: when you're travelling regularly, Subway is one of the few options visible everywhere that offers fresh vegetables. Magnussen noted that during a two-week training session in Hawaii, he ate Subway every day (he maintains the Australian version tastes better).

As we're fond of pointing out around here, Subway is one of the healthier takeaway food choices, but only if you make the right topping selections. Should you succumb to the lure of a foot-long meatball sub (heck, it's only $7), you'll be pulling in at least twice the kilojoules of the healthier sub-6 gram options.

So the question I wanted to ask these Olympic athletes was simple: how do you keep yourself to the healthy selections when meatballs are crying out to be eaten? Magnussen immediately laughed and recounted a story of his 13-year old self, visiting a Subway for the first time while away from his Port Macquarie home (the city didn't have a Subway then). "My eyes lit up, and I went for a foot-long double meatballs with double cheese. It was all over the change rooms a few minutes later." Olympian vomit story alert!

That said, there's no big secret to sticking to the salad-centric straight and narrow, as Magnussen went on to explain:

We live a disciplined lifestyle. Everything we do is about discipline and about choices, and we wouldn't be athletes otherwise. It's not a hard sacrifice to make.

Bright agreed, though she added: "You've got to reward yourself and go for the meatball sub sometimes." One advantage of being a professional sportsperson is you can consume more kilojoules than the average sedentary Australian. Bright favours the turkey sub, Eastham's a fan of chicken teriyaki, and Magnussen goes for the Club Sub ("lots of protein"). Mmmm, protein.

To maximise the embarrassment value, Subway then staged a competition where each athlete coached teams of volunteer journalists in "Subway jamming — making subs to Subway specification as quickly as possible. Despite being completely uncoordinated, I ended up on Bright's team, applying slabs of meat and tomato at a high-rate in a five minute race. We didn't win, but it was fun.


    Please forward Torah's phone number to my email, thanks.

    But I can't avoid the chicken & bacon sub, it's just so good with all those salads D=

    I'm curious - is a meetball sub from subway actually any different (health-wise) to a burger from macdonalds? The meat is a different shape, the bread is as different shape - but the same ingredients are there. I guess the difference is that at Macdonalds you're shunned if you don't buy fries, whereas subway has those healthy healthy M&M cookies.

      *faceplam* Meetball? seriously? learn to spell, moron! oh, wait, that was me :/

        6 inch meatball sub 1710Kj
        chesse burger 1190Kj
        Big Mac 2060Kj
        12 inch meatball sub 3420Kj

      Way more calories from way more bread at subway. otherwise your argument holds.

    Hopefully you weren't making just the one sub in that five minute race.

    Always have a footlong meatball. The cheapest non-crap subway there is.

    Subway food especially the meats and bread are so highly processed its not funny. They are really not that healthy but Im happy they are earning enough money to pay people to say they are.

      The "bread" comes frozen in sausage like tubes from the US.

    I asked for crispy bacon one time because the poster showed crispy bacon.....they couldn't do it, even after putting in the microwave, and then in the toaster oven, I was disappointed :(

    I usually get the steak and cheese, so good....a pizza sub with double meat after a night drinking is good too, dunno why they ever got rid of the spicey italian.

    Going to have Subway for lunch tomorrow mmmmm

    How much did you charge Subway for this 'article'?

    "Should you succumb to the lure of a foot-long meatball sub (heck, it’s only $7), you’ll be pulling in at least twice the kilojoules of the healthier sub-6 gram options."

    sandwich of double length contains double energy! Truly enlightening.

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