The Lineman’s Guide to Cutting Weight: Fitness After Football

by Myles McKee-Osibodu

If you’ve played football at any level, you understand the expectations and pressure put on athletes to be able to gain or drop weight quickly. While these pressures can be felt at every position, there’s no position groups that feel these demands more intensely than the offensive and defensive line, where size matters almost as much as talent. I’ve spent the last few years of my life as an NCAA Division I student-athlete, but it wasn’t until football was over that I was finally able to achieve my fitness goals.

First Things First

So I don’t think it’s a secret that a lot of football players (especially the dudes in the trenches) are just wired a little differently than your Average Joe. You’ve gotta be a little bit insane to voluntarily sign up to commit 40 to 50 hours a week (not including school or work) to a jam packed schedule of workouts, 4:45AM wake-up calls, film sessions, training room work, practices, meetings, yada yada yada, all for the reward of bashing your head into another 300 lb grown-ass man over and over again… but for whatever crazy reason, we did that… And that madness instilled a mindset in us that is different than most. A mindset that allows you to face any challenge and attack it without hesitation. The mindset that allowed you to achieve your goals in football is the same mindset that its going to take to achieve your goals after football. Commitment, self-disciple, and a whole lotta that WORK. Easy as that. And just like in football, you’ve gotta have a game plan.

Game Plan

Through hard work and dedication, I’ve been fortunate enough to drop 70+ lbs (in under 7 months) twice in the last 4 years and the things I can point to that contributed the most to my journey were:

  • Intermittent fasting
  • Working out with purpose
  • Keeping your eyes on the prize

Intermittent Fasting

You’re a former lineman. You love to eat. I get it. But believe me when I tell you that even though it sounds pretty intimidating, intermittent fasting is going to be your best friend in this whole process. In fact, if you do it right, you can still eat a lot of your favorite not-so-healthy foods somewhat regularly.

Contrary to popular belief, the entire idea behind intermittent fasting is NOT to starve yourself. With intermittent fasting, you’re still supposed to take in the same amount of calories you would normally, but instead of taking in those calories through the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner, you instead give yourself a 4-8 hour window (depending on what you can handle) each day where you scarf down an entire day’s worth of calories. After a few weeks, your body will eventually get used to your new eating pattern and you’ll start to not even get hungry outside of the window that you’ve set for yourself. Not only does intermittent fasting offer weight-loss benefits, but there are also cognitive and cell restoration benefits that come along with fasting regimens as your body enters into a state of ketosis.

As great as the benefits of intermittent fasting can be, it is definitely something that you shouldn’t jump into without doing your research first and making sure it’s the right weight loss method for you. Below are a few links to videos and podcasts to help you begin your research and better understand exactly how intermittent fasting works.

Working Out with Purpose

So obviously, throughout this process, your workout regimen is going to need to be pretty gnarly if you want to see real results fast. It’s crucial that you’re able to hold yourself accountable to not only get in the gym everyday, but also to work your ass off while you’re there! You don’t have your coaches to yell at you anymore, no more teammates to hype you up when you’re not feeling it, no real consequences for skipping a workout. IT’S 100% ON YOU NOW!

So now that you’re in the gym, you’ve gotta figure out how to transition from the year-round swoll-sesh that is lineman workouts into a workout that’ll get you slim and trim. I get asked all the time what my workout routine is and the answer varies but the one thing that is always a constant is CARDIO! I know… as a big guy, cardio is your worst nightmare and rightfully so! Even when you drop the weight, cardio still sucks but like I said before, you’ve gotta embrace the challenge! If it was easy to drop 85 lbs, everybody would do it!

While I 100% encourage you to attack the gym, it’s important to make sure you’re smart about your cardio and that you don’t try to do too much too fast! You can definitely put yourself in some sketchy situations if you’re going all out too early in the process. Nobody wants to be the guy that passes out at the gym because he was hitting the elliptical too hard so make sure you know your limitations, but cardio definitely needs to be the focal point of your workouts. Everything else is supplementary. You’ve been big as hell your whole damn life, you don’t need to lift anymore! Go ahead and hop on that treadmill big fella!

#NipSlip

As many big guys do, I’ve always had some pretty serious knee issues and I know jogging isn’t too easy on the ol’ joints, especially when you’re pushing 300 pounds. I’ve found that the stationary bike is a great alternative to the treadmill and a much more comfortable place to knock-out a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session. I bike at least one hour (22-25 miles) on the stationary bike 5 to 6 times a week, alternating between 30-second and 90-second working sets with 30-second resting sets in between. It’s the worst thing in the world for the first few weeks but it’s a freakin’ game changer once you start getting comfortable with higher-intensity cardio! Find some good thermogenic pre-workout, search for a good playlist, and get crackin’ on that thing!

Example of how to do a HIIT workout on a stationary bike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh8VswzWDow

Shoutout Brio Fitness ????????????

The first month or so of  daily cardio is gonna be killer on your lungs and your legs. Your heart is going to be beating through your chest. You’ll probably be the sweatiest guy in the gym and I promise it won’t be a pretty sight. But as you gradually start to shred more and more, you’re gonna realize how worth it it was and be stoked that you did it!

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Just like chasing any other goal in life, its super important to be able to see the big picture and remember what you’re working towards. The biggest challenge you’ll face in this whole process will be the mental battle you’re going to be fighting with yourself to keep pushing your limits. It’s key that you don’t let yourself get discouraged or lose sight of your goals if you aren’t seeing the results that you want right away! Keeping the right mentality can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE!

You’re not gonna lose 10 lbs in a week and you might not even lose 5 lbs in a week, but you’ve always got to remember to keep a level head, put your head down, and keep on grinding! You’ll only get out what you put into your workouts and dieting, so if you give a shitty effort, you’re bound to get shitty results. At the end of the day, nobody else can want it for you. If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen! No excuses.

I hope this helps you in your journey! Good luck, be smart, and get after it!

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Sports Comebacks You Probably Never Heard About

In the sports world everyone loves to hear about a comeback, the miracle play, a team going against all of the odds and getting the win. We have all heard about the Red Sox coming back against the Yankees in 2004 to win the ALCS, and the Steelers and Giants Super Bowl winning drives. Here are a few comebacks you probably never heard about.

Capital High School v. Billings West High School

After a first half that saw Capital chasing the West offense up and down the field, Capital came out guns blazing in the second half. Starting with a 15 yard pass from Matt Reyant to Matt Miller, Capital dropped the lead to 14. Capital tacked on another touchdown with a 15 yard run by Matt Miller giving Capital hope. As time expired in the 4th quarter quarterback Matt Reyant found receiver Josh Dirks in the corner of the end zone. 20-21. Capital coach Pat Murphy has been known for being ambitious which he showed by going for 2 instead of kicking the PAT. Reyant takes the snap, fakes the give to Matt Miller, and takes off. The outcome? It’s good! Capital got the win and kept the perfect season alive with a 22-21 final score.

Capital High Billings West
Capital High v. Billings West

 

Watford v. Leicester

What’s on the line? The winner goes to the FA Cup final at the Wembley Stadium. It was the 96th minute with only 4 minutes supposed to be added on but a penalty kick for Leicester kept the clock rolling. Leicester was losing 2-1 but because they won the first game 1-0 AND had the away goal rule on their side, (The away goals rule is a method of breaking ties in soccer and other sports when teams play each other twice, once at each team’s home ground. By the away goals rule, the team that has scored more goals “away from home” will win if scores are otherwise equal), they would advance whether they made or missed the penalty. Anthony Knockaert steps up and takes the shot…save by the keeper Almunia! The rebound shot…SAVE BY ALMUNIA! With a stadium erupting from the outcome of the penalty Watford started their counter. Watford pushed the ball down the right side of the field. A cross comes into the box, the ball is headed back into the middle where it meets the foot of Watford striker Troy Deeney. The result? Absolutely pandemonium. The ball is smashed into the back of the net and fans storm field, Watford players and coaches celebrating their monumental comeback, and Leicester wondering how they let the opportunity to play in the FA Cup final in Wembley slip through their hands.

Watford 3 Leicester 1
Watford v. Leicester, FA Cup

 

Montana Grizzlies v. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

An absolutely awful, and I mean AWFUL, first half almost lead to an early exit by the Griz faithful. I was there and I considered calling it a day with how bad it was. Down 27 points with 5:40 left in the 3rd quarter things started clicking for the Griz as Marc Mariani took a kickoff back 98 yards started a comeback for the ages. 48-27, the Griz start the 4th quarter with a 15 yard pass from Andrew Selle to Mariani, the score now 48-34. 7 minutes left, Chase Reynolds looks for a hole up the middle but is forced outside where he scrambles to the corner for a Montana touchdown. A miracle looks possible now with the score 48-41. Only 3 minutes later Reynolds runs it in from 4 yards, which along with an extra point TIES the score 48-48. With only a minute left, quarterback Andrew Selle fakes the handoff to Reynolds, rolls out to the left and finds a wide open Mariani for a Montana touchdown. The Griz down by 27 at one point now LEADS 55-48, but that isn’t the end of the story. SDSU had one more drive….which was shut down by an interception by Griz lineman Severin Campbell who turned that into 6 points. The final score: Montana Grizzlies 61 South Dakota State Jackrabbits 48.

Montana Grizzlies v. South Dakota State Jackrabbits 2009
Montana Grizzlies v. South Dakota State Jackrabbits 2009

 

Clinton LumberKings v. Burlington Bees

When you think of a baseball comeback you probably think about 5, 6, maybe 7 runs. Well the Clinton LumberKings made a 16 run miracle. 16 RUNS!!! Top of the 6th inning, Clinton down 17-1 are able to find 6 runs to at least make a probable loss look a little less worse. With the help of some quality pitching and 5 runs in both the 8th and 9th innings, Clinton was able to send a game that should have been over, into extra innings. After a scoreless 10th and 11th inning for both teams, Kyle Seager of the LumberKings was able to get the go ahead run in the top of the 12th. Shutting out Burlington in the 12th gave Clinton a 20-17 win. “That’s one for the ages for me, for sure,” Burlington manager Bill Richardson said, according to The Hawk Eye newspaper. “You just give credit to your opponent for flipping the game on us. We just gave them a little life in that sixth, and they kept running.”

Clinton LumberKings v. Burlington Bees 2014
Clinton LumberKings v. Burlington Bees 2014

Duke Blue Devils v. Maryland Terrapins

The Miracle Minute. A comeback that most Duke fans consider the famous minute in Duke history. Maryland leading 90-80, Duke guard Jason Williams finished a layup to shave the lead to 8. Maryland inbounded the ball which was then stolen by Williams who put up a 3 pointer to trim Maryland’s lead to 5 with 48 seconds left. Duke foul Maryland on the inbound who were in double bonus. Drew Nicholas of Maryland misses the first free throw…and then the second. Duke takes the ball down the court where Williams sinks another 3 leaving 40 seconds on the clock. In a matter of 20 seconds Duke cut Maryland’s lead from 10 to 2. Maryland inbound the ball, Duke put on the trap and strip the ball away giving them 34 seconds on the clock, the ball, and a shot at the win. Duke put up a 3, no good, but they get the rebound and are fouled on the put back. With 21 seconds, Nate James steps up to the line for 2 shots. The first….good. The second….GOOD. The game was sent into overtime where Duke would prevail 98-96. Leave it to Coach K to pull off the impossible.

Duke v. Maryland 2001
Duke v. Maryland 2001

 

Miracles are the best part of sports. We love seeing a team make the seemingly impossible comeback by giving everything they have to get the win.

“It’s not whether you got knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi

Written by Zachary Clinch