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Genes and an active life keep celeb chef Govind Armstrong skinny

February 23, 2009|Jenny Hontz

Govind Armstrong

Chef-owner of 8 oz. in West Hollywood and Table 8 Restaurant in Miami Beach, Fla.

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Armstrong, 38, maintains a 155-pound, 5-foot, 11-inch frame without a whole lot of effort. He was "rail thin" as a teenager -- when he was a competitive pole vaulter -- but says his secret to staying skinny is a mix of genetic luck and a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.

"I love beef, especially grass-fed beef," he says. "I'll usually have a steak on a plate with a side of vegetables. I do love bread and potatoes, but I'm definitely not getting younger. I'm sitting on a plane much more than I should be."

Armstrong kick-starts his day with a hearty breakfast of steak and eggs. "That helps my metabolism get started from the get-go," he says. He follows that with two smaller meals, but "I am constantly surrounded by food, and I'm a total picker and taster."

Resisting desserts and sugar is easy. "I'm a complete meat tooth," he says. "That's something I crave, definitely not sweets or candy bars."

Armstrong grew his own vegetables as a kid in L.A. and Costa Rica, and his mom cooked every meal. For many years, he could eat ungodly amounts of food without putting on weight. "When I was in New York, I would eat three or four dinners in a night," he says. "It's rather disgusting, looking back. I can't eat like I used to. I don't have the same appetite anymore. I still love pork belly and sweetbreads, just in smaller doses. I definitely listen to my body, and I can't stuff myself anymore. "

Staying fit is more challenging now that he owns restaurants in two cities (with another one scheduled to open in New York in March) and travels the world as a chef. "I logged 120,000 miles in the last year," he says. "It's hard to get on any sort of a schedule. I have several gym memberships, but I never make it because I'm not really at home."

When he does hit the gym, he rides the bike and focuses on cardio. His job as a celebrity chef, much like that of an actor, calls for unusual levels of activity at times. He's currently filming a TV show in Argentina and Mexico called "Extreme Food," which has him doing all sorts of outdoor activities, such as fly-fishing and rock climbing.

"In the first episode, I'm jumping out of a helicopter and snowboarding down a mountain to find mushrooms," he says.

-- J.H.

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