A little more than 12 years ago, Michael Yammine, co-owner of Owego Originals located at 23 Lake St. in Owego, N.Y., took on a personal challenge to become the healthiest he could be. Yammine has achieved incredible success since embarking on a path focused on optimum nutrition choices while incorporating a regular fitness regimen.
Yammine’s dedication and drive have resulted in his placing in the top levels of competitions in the awe-inspiring sport of bodybuilding.
Yammine commented that, overall, for anyone, by participating in any kind of sports is “like the fountain of youth,” and added that everything in your life is better “the healthier you are.”
Today, at 57, Yammine said that people he meets, whether those in the bodybuilding circuit, others at the gym, or customers are genuinely surprised when he shares his age. He takes that feedback as a complement, and then uses that positive acknowledgement to work even harder for his own version of “the fountain of youth.”
At the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Diamond Cup held in Beirut, Lebanon Sept. 6-9, Yammine placed second in the Master Men’s Bodybuilding category for ages 50-plus. The IFBB is the professional sports governing body that manages the sport’s major international events.
The Diamond Cup presented upwards of 40 different categories for men and women, and for Yammine, his placement was an exciting moment.
“It’s been my best year ever,” Yammine said.
Yammine was the oldest contestant at the Diamond Cup, as well as the only American male (Yammine holds dual citizenship, that being the U.S. and Lebanon).
Yammine proudly showed a photo of his winning trophy, and said one of his next goals is to enter the Arnold’s Classics-Europe, to be held in Barcelona, Spain next year.
And, that Arnold of the Arnold’s Classics happens to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yammine is looking forward to the opportunity of meeting the famous actor, former Governor of California, and professional bodybuilder who won the Mr. Universe title and several Mr. Olympia contests. Today, Schwarzenegger’s sports events are a popular draw within the bodybuilding circuit.
Bodybuilding, or the development of the body via diet and exercise for competitive exhibition, can result in many positive changes, such as confidence and strength.
The journey has been a win-win for Yammine, who explained that he feels great, has had no occasions of illnesss, and receives a thumbs-up at every annual medical check-up.
Yammine remarked that sugar, soda and smoking are three offenders that he stays clear of. During intense training for a competition, there is absolutely no sugar and no alcohol, and a balance of carbohydrates along with a high-protein diet.
Proper nutrition is a key element to Yammine’s every day routine. He explained that he does occasionally reward himself with a treat, such as adding pepperoni to his pizza or having a small glass of alcohol.
And, after 30 years in the business at Original Italian, the restaurant has been offering new options for individuals who still want that classic pizza but with a more nutritional component, such as gluten-free cauliflower pizza crust.
“Eat things that boost your immune system,” Yammine suggests, and remarked, “Put a goal in front of you and you can achieve it!”
While working out at the gym, Yammine mentioned that others often approach him for advice.
“I enjoy encouraging the younger people,” Yammine said, adding, “I tell them, if I can do it, they can do it.”