Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2013, 9:43 am

Flying solo

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By Lisa Iannucci

Photo: CTW Features
'Bachelor' star Jake Pavelka turned a piloting gig and a bodybuilding hobby into a TV career and a fit, healthy lifestyle.
As one of the most recognizable and eligible men on ABC's "The Bachelor," one might expect Jake Pavelka to always have an air of cockiness, swagger or perhaps even an arrogance about him. After all, when your most famous role on television is on a reality show where women fight for your affection, it's only logical to expect that Jake is that kind of guy.
When you talk to him, however, he is easy-going, polite, and would prefer to talk about his other passions in life – flying, health and sports – than rumors about his most recent love interest.
While he comes across more confident than cocky, an elementary school bully made sure he wasn't always that kind of guy.
"For some reason I got on his radar," Pavelka said. "He was two grades ahead of me and twice as big and he used to mess up my hair, kick me and beat me up. He told me that he'd hurt my family if I told anyone. It was humiliating. My self-esteem was on the floor and as a kid you don't even realize that you can ask for help."
Born in Denton, Texas, Jake knew he always could turn to his parents, two doctors who had his best interest at heart. But not this time. He handled the bullying as best as he could and put it behind him once it stopped. He did, however, turn to his parents when it was time to focus more on his health when he started playing football.
"I was a skinny kid, so my father helped me to get a trainer," Pavelka said. "We trained three times a week and I looked up to him. He was everything I wanted to be. I learned about nutrition, exercise and weight gains. By the time he finished with me, I was 206 pounds, steroid-free and had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 percent."
Jake's mom was a stay-at-home mother who held the family together and always made sure that the family ate very healthy.
"So it's a way of life for me and, because of that, I feel blessed," he said. "Eating good nutrition is 85 percent of your workout. That is by far the hardest part."
Soon after, Pavelka took second place at a Mr. Texas bodybuilding contest and became a certified fitness trainer. "Bodybuilding was my sport, but I chose flying as my career."
Pavelka studied at the University of North Texas and then enrolled at the Embry Engineering University for Aerospace Science. He became an airline captain for Atlantic Southeast Airlines and still flies regularly.
He now divides his time between his Hollywood and his piloting duties. As a child, he portrayed a young Chuck Norris on "Walker, Texas Ranger." After "The Bachelor" ended, he danced with partner Chelsie Hightower on "Dancing with the Stars" and landed a guest-starring role on Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva."
Even with his busy schedule, he manages to find time to de-stress. "After flying, many pilots want to rest when they get to their hotel room, but I don't," he said. "I'll change clothes and do 20 minutes to an hour of exercise before I go to the room and sleep."
Although Pavelka is very disciplined and regimented, he admits he has days he doesn't want to work out. "Also, if I'm traveling and short on sleep, I won't work out," he explained. "I'd sleep and get my rhythms back on track."
He also allows himself one cheat day per week. "It doesn't matter what I have, if I stay home or go out, I eat what I want and look forward to it. It might be chicken fried steak or lasagna," he said.
In addition to gym workouts, he enjoys paddleboarding, anything involving water and he participates in triathlons.
"The good thing about paddleboarding is that it's a good core workout," he said. "I also swim in the ocean, bike and I'm on the treadmill during the week. I run three to 10 miles every Sunday."
He advises others who are eager to make changes to start small. "If you can't resist having a cheeseburger every day, then have it, but cut out the cheese or the bun and go from there. You can't do it all at once. Take baby steps and don't get burned out."
He says to know what your goal is, say lose 100 pounds, and see what you can do to help you get there. "If you can afford a trainer, there's a financial motivation to get there and the trainer will teach you how to work out to minimize injury."
What does the future hold for Pavelka? He'd like to win a triathlon and perhaps guest star on a Broadway show. "That would be a lot of fun."

Body by Jake

One look at Jake Pavelka’s daily routine makes it obvious why he’s in such great shape. Here’s how he does it:

Morning: Light protein shake with a banana and a little whey or natural protein.

Gym: 20 minutes of cardio. If he has a photo shoot or a triathlon, he’ll do an hour.

Breakfast: Egg white omelet with spinach and bell peppers, strawberry jam on whole wheat toast, no butter.

Lunch:  Two chicken breasts, baked potatoes, mixed green salad

Snack: apple, nuts

Nighttime: Forty-five minutes of Crossfit or resistance training. He doesn’t do standard lifts, military presses or squats. He does handstand push-ups, four sets of everything with medium weight.

Dinner: Usually a heavy dinner. Red meat no more than once a week.