NutritionWeight Loss

Building Muscle With Subway

It’s not often that I include fast food in my diet. One of my first jobs I ever had was as an employee of McDonalds, and believe me, taking the 5 gallon bucket of grease out to dump it in the fly infested dumpster-sized container out back a couple of times is more than enough inspiration for a lifetime of evasion.  (I heard they now have a truck that hooks right up to the restaurant and pumps out the grease) Tasty!

Despite those scaring memories, or perhaps because of them, the one ‘faster-food’ place that I usually go once a week when I’m in a rush is Subway. Subway’s menu offers several options for getting loads of protein, while at the same time refraining from overindulging in deep fried fatty foods. Below are the 5 Subway rules that I follow to keep my visits as healthy as possible, so as to not derail my fitness journey to build muscle mass.

1. Avoid the tuna! Tuna itself is incredibly healthy for you, but what you combine with it can change virtue to vice in a mixer moment. A 6 inch Tuna sub on 9 grain wheat packs an incredible 30 grams of fat, which is more fat than the McDonalds Big Mac! That means that a foot long packs an unbelievable 1,060 calories and 60 grams of fat!

  • Instead opt for a foot long chicken breast, roast beef, or club, each of which is about 640 calories and are packed with over 46 grams of protein fuel for building your muscles!

2. Avoid condiment condemnation! Three of the worst condiments to slap on your Subway are mayonnaise, ranch dressing, and the Chipotle Southwest sauce, each of which contains about 110 calories and about 10-12 grams of fat per tablespoon. If you just HAVE to have it, make sure to use words like “just a little bit of” when asking for your condiment. Otherwise try the following substitutes:

  • Go for the light mayonnaise that’s only 50 calories and 5 grams of fat per tablespoon. That’s about a 50% savings!
  • Other healthier substitutes include Honey Mustard sauce, which is 30 calories and fat free, and the Sweet Onion Sauce, which is only 40 calories and is also fat free.

3. Sideline the sides! Avoid adding sides like soft drinks, flavored milks, chips, and cookies. These sides consist predominantly of empty calories made up of salt and sugar.

  • If a regular sub isn’t enough to make you full, try one with double meat. The extra meat is packed with protein, which will help you to feel more full and satisfied.

4. Beware of the flat bread! – I love the flat bread that Subway now offers, but what surprised the crap out of me is that it’s actually not all that much healthier for you than most of the other breads. A 6 inch flat bread contains 220 calories, which is greater than or equal to the Italian, the 9-Grain Wheat, and the Parmesan Oregano.  Another interesting note is that the 6 inch flat bread contains 4.5 grams of fat, which is more than all the other breads with the exception of the Monterey Cheddar (6), and the Italian Herb and Cheese (5). It sure is damn tasty though!

I’m certainly not suggesting that you avoid bread all together, as carbs are an essential part of building muscles, especially following a workout. I’m merely sharing an example of the way misconceptions can skew your judgment when you  base your choices on your perceptions rather than looking at the hard data.  I am guilty!

5. Bring on the Veggies! – Adding veggies including banana peppers, cucumbers, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, onions, pickles, olives, and tomatoes is a great way to get more vitamins and minerals in your diet, while not materially affecting the fat and caloric content of your sandwich.

  • Tip: Replace the lettuce in your sandwich, which is made up of mostly water, with nutritious spinach as it’s a good source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. Popeye was right!

My absolute favorite Subway sandwich is the foot long Oven Roasted Chicken on 9-grain wheat bread with banana peppers, green peppers, spinach, onion, black olives, pickles, and “just a little bit of” light mayo. My unofficial signature sub is about 640 calories and packs a muscle building 46 grams of relatively lean protein!

Click here for all of Subway’s nutritional information.

Sound off! – This is the part of my posts when you get to speak your mind, as long as you’re not some spammy bastard of a site that uses phrases like, “I harmonise with your conclusions.” Actual quote!

Show the world your sandwich artistry and answer the question: How do you take your Subway?

Keep Rockin it!


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  1. Your favorite sammich is also my favorite too. I always get the oven roasted chix with a bunch of vegetables and no mayo. Do you also know that Subway now serves breakfast? You can get some ham, egg, and cheese on a flatbread for a couple bucks and it’s probably under 600 cals.

  2. My wife always laughs at me for “dragging my sandwich through the garden.” About the only veggie I leave off my sandwich is the olives – bleck!

    The only downside *almost* any sandwich is the sodium. Packaged meats are awful on that front.

  3. I love subway! Have the tuna all the time, but only the 6″. And yeah, I am guilty of adding the Cheddar Sun Chips as I love the heck out of them. But at least I go for a Coke Zero instead of a sugary drink. : /

  4. I’m a fan of Subway myself. I kind of vary what I get. For me, the 6 inch is usually plenty. I have several I like to get, but I think the club is one of my favorites (though I do like some of the others, too).

    Thanks for the tips!

  5. You bet Grady! My dad always said “Take little bites and chew good.” I’m sure he was more worried about us kids choking, but it’s also a great way to allow yourself to feel full instead of overeating.

    I’ve recently become rather addicted to Chipotle. Guess they don’t have a half burrito option huh? 🙂

    All the best!