Whenever I run into anyone that I haven’t seen since retiring from the NFL, the first thing that will come up is how much weight I’ve lost since playing. On most of my social media posts, the most common questions I receive are how I managed to lose the weight and how did I lose it so fast. Because of these scenarios, I felt it appropriate to do a blog post on the topic and how I went from 306 pounds on January 5th (the last official weigh-in of my NFL career) to 253 pounds on April 25th of the same year.
While I was playing, I constantly struggled to keep the weight on. I was 205 pounds as a junior in high school before putting on 100 pounds over the next two years. Because I wasn’t naturally a 300+ pounder that being an offensive lineman in the NFL requires, I was forced to consume a ton of calories every day through around-the-clock eating. Protein shakes were the start and end to each of my days, and I would often supplement with these in between meals and after practices and workouts.
When my career ended, I knew I wanted to shed the weight as fast as I could to help with longevity in life and also to help with the aches and pains of playing football for 9 seasons in the NFL. I had six lower body surgeries throughout my NFL career, and I would frequently take pain medication and prescription anti-inflammatories. I haven’t needed to take any of either of those in the past year and a half, and I believe the weight loss is the main reason. As far as longevity goes, I remember sitting with my wife’s grandmother in Naples, Florida at their church service one Sunday during my playing career. Most of the congregation was over the age of 80, and the thing that stuck out to both of us was how much bigger, especially heavier, I was than everyone else there. I strive to make sure I can be there for my family for a long time, so I felt that losing the weight was necessary.
The first step I took in my weight loss journey was cutting back my eating window. Recently I have implemented intermittent fasting into my lifestyle. Intermittent fasting can be done a number of ways, but the one I prefer is the method where you only eat during 8 hours of the day. When I first started, I may have eaten for 10-12 hours a day, but breaking the habit of eating around-the-clock was vital for me. I had spent the last 15 years of my life working to keep the weight on, constantly heading to the refrigerator or pantry, but this method helped me break those habits and has also helped me maintain the weight loss.
I also cut down on my carbohydrate intake and eliminated almost all processed foods. I was not necessarily on the ketogenic diet, but this helped me reduce my calories dramatically throughout the day. A couple meals per week I would have carbohydrates in the form of sushi, which is probably my favorite food, or sweet potatoes to help with overall energy.
My workouts also shifted once my playing days were over. It was very foreign to me, but over were the days of needing to get my body to be as powerful as I could make it. So, I shifted into more of a “boot camp” style of workout class that I would do at a gym I own in Louisville, KY called Personal Fitness and Rehabilitation (PFR). At first, these were extremely tough for me because I had never completed workouts like these before and I was fresh off of the NFL season where I played 100% of the snaps in 2017. After just a few weeks though, I started to love these workouts and still carve them into my schedule wherever I can.
The health and wellness space is something that I’ve become very passionate about since retiring from the NFL. There are a lot of great resources out there that I follow through social media and podcasts. A few of my favorites are Ben Greenfield, Max Lugavare, and Kyle Kingsbury. The field is so vast now that a lot of the information can be overwhelming and often contradictory, so experiment with yourself and find what works best for you. I want to continue to improve my health and reduce the effects that playing a violent sport for so many years had on me, but I wouldn’t trade those memories and experiences in the NFL for anything.