Boxer Mike Lee's post weigh-in Subway sandwiches have become the stuff of legend. Mike's father, John, would stop by Subway and pick up a six-inch turkey sandwich on wheat to deliver it his son's fights at Notre Dame.
Subway executives got word of Lee's ritual, and Mike became an improbable spokesman for the largest casual dining chain in the world.
What people may not realize is that weigh-ins are far from the only time Lee takes down a sandwich. The 25-year-old says he still eats at Subway around two times a week, usually going with the turkey on wheat but sometimes getting the Subway Club.
"I’ll always try to get something that’s six grams of fat or less," Lee says. "Six inches, usually double meat, just so I can get a lot of protein. I’ll throw a ton of veggies on there, no cheese, stick with mustard."
If there's anything in which Lee is more disciplined than his eating habits, it's his training. Lee learned from his father the importance of hard work and consistency, and those are themes that have propelled Lee to six knockouts in 10 victories as a professional.
To eliminate the monotony of boxing workouts, Lee has taken some unique approaches. Last year he spent several weeks training in high altitude in Mexico City. When he came back to the United States to prepare for a fight with Allen Medina at Madison Square Garden, Lee's endurance had skyrocketed.
"The boxing gym [in Mexico City] was on the third floor of the building and I was out of breath just walking up the stairs [on the first day]," Lee said. "It was incredible going from that first day to a couple weeks later, feeling great. Once I got to New York, I was doing pads with [trainer Ronnie Shields], and I just kept telling him, 'More rounds, more rounds.' I just wasn't tired."
Lee won the fight with a fourth-round knockout.
When he's preparing for a fight, Lee will train six days a week, two-times a day. In advance of Saturday's fight with Paul Harness, Lee has been working with Danny Arnold at Plex in Houston. Plex is the training spot for a plethora of professional athletes, including Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, Packers defensive back Charles Woodson and Olympic taekwondo competitor Diana Lopez.
Lee says his workouts at Plex aren't necessarily classic boxing drills, rather Arnold tries for new and innovative techniques to keep Lee on his toes.
"It's not going to the boxing gym and running five miles at night," Lee says. "It’s a lot of footwork, explosion drills, cable work, swimming, yoga and we even work out in the sand a lot."
In fact, Lee says one of his favorite workouts is the ladder drill in the sand. He also enjoys working with medicine balls--doing ball smashes, ball tosses and the like.
Despite having less experience in the amateur ranks than many of his opponents, Lee is one of the sport's fastest rising stars. And he attributes much of his success to his work ethic.
"When you’re talking about professional sports, you have to be extremely disciplined, especially in this sport." Lee says. "If you don’t go into a fight at full strength mentally or physically, you’re definitely at a huge disadvantage."