Fast Food Shakedown: Jimmy John's

Fuel your workout and recovery with a fat sandwich loaded with lean meats.
Courtesy of Jimmy John's

Fresh out of high school in 1983, Jimmy John Liautaud started a sandwich shop in an Illinois garage. The shop has since grown to almost 3,000 stores—with plans to build up to 5,000 in the near future—and Liautaud is still the chairman of the board.

Today Jimmy John’s is known for fast and efficient delivery and satisfying, stacked sandwiches. Stores are locally owned, and they strive to gather vegetables from local sources and use only quality cold cuts—all U.S. raised with no hormones—with minimal ingredients, none artificial, that are sliced fresh daily. Their French bread is baked every day, timed so it’s no more than four hours
old when you get your sandwich.

For good eats, you get to choose from sandwiches categorized as Slims, 8-inch Subs, Giant Clubs, and the J.J. Gargantuan, in the standard styles using ham, roast beef, turkey, tuna salad, and Italian cured meats like salami and capocollo. As you go down the list, they get bigger and start mixing the meats together until you get to the Gargantuan, which is basically every option on the menu crammed into a French bread bun, which clocks in at 1,135 calories and 54 grams of fat. You won’t find any healthy sides if you need a little variety, since your choices are chips, cookies, or a dill pickle, the last of which is your best bet. You’ll get plenty of sodium, but hey, you’ll sweat that out anyway.

Basically, sticking to the leaner meats like roast beef and turkey, nixing the mayo, and letting them scoop some bread out of the middle of the top half (which is standard operating procedure) will get you the most nutrition for your buck. Though Jimmy John’s offers only a few main ingredients and no nutrient-dense options on the side, one of its sandwiches can be a good choice for quick and fairly clean fuel to help maximize your gains.

PRE-WORKOUT PICK

Look for foods with protein for sustained energy and some carbohydrates to fuel muscle—stay away from fatty and calorie-heavy foods.

TURKEY TOM 8" SUB SANDWICH

  • Turkey breast
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Sprouts
  • French Bread Roll

Calories: 365 | Protein: 26g Carbs: 58g | Fat: 3g

POST-WORKOUT PICK

After an intense workout, you need to build your glycogen stores back up with carbs and lean protein to jump-start muscle-tissue repair and the building of new proteins.

BILLY CLUB GIANT CLUB SANWICH

  • Roast Beef
  • Smoked Ham
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Nine-grain wheat bread

Calories: 650 | Protein: 51g Carbs: 63g | Fat: 21g

FAST-FOOD FATTENERS

Sometimes items that appear harmless can hide high amounts of fat and carbs, like this:

GOUMET VEGGIE CLUB GIANT CLUB SANDWICH

  • Provolone Cheese
  • Avocado Spread
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Mayonnaise
  • Nine-Grain Wheat Bread

Calories: 995 | Protein: 49g | Carbs: 67g | Fat: 64g

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