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.
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
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.
- (even buff ass Terry Crews does it^)
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!
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
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!
I became a vegetarian almost 7 years ago after an unfortunate night involving too much red meat. After the worst stomach ache I have ever had, I vowed that I was going to stop eating meat all together. And that’s exactly what I did. It has been a struggle to find meals that still resemble the taste of meat. Here are some of my favorite recipes that even my meat eating friends love.
1. Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
These buffalo wings made from battered cauliflower are the #1 requested meal from my friends. They are great for parties or barbecues and have an added bonus of being super easy to make! The recipe also includes a vegan ranch sauce for dipping.
2. Chick’n Noodle Soup
There are definitely some “fake meat” products I would advise you to avoid, but luckily the chick’n from Morning Star Farms are not one of them. It is currently 4 degrees Fahrenheit where I live and sometimes I just crave a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. These chick’n strips are a great addition to soups and salads.
3. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash is a great alternative for pasta and they are super cheap. Add your favorite sauce or some olive oil, salt, and pepper and enjoy!
4. Loaded Nachos
Nachos are a quick and easy snack, and these ground beef crumbles from Morning Star Farms are a great addition. My boyfriend didn’t even realize they weren’t real beef at first!
5. Sesame Cauliflower
This sesame cauliflower looks like it could be sesame chicken when you first see it. Add some rice and vegetables on the side for a delicious meal.
The way that your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and physical health as well as the environment. The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DERFA) states, “Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives.” Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as herbicides and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain in and on the food consumed. Organic food is often fresher because it does not contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organics have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts. Below I have listed 5 important foods that you should ALWAYS buy organic.
If you consume meat regularly, it is important to be aware of the harmful additives that conventional meat contains. Hormones, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics and pesticides are found in cows, chicken, turkey and pork. Hormones, antibiotics and additives can have negative impacts on your body which makes organic meat worth the extra money.
Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and have access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy. These animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. To avoid consumption of harmful additives, always make sure to buy organic meat products.
Popcorn hardly seems harmful as it is a whole grain, high fiber and low calorie snack, but think again. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 92% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered. Almost all corn is genetically modified to contain insecticides. Chemicals in the lining of microwave popcorn bags and artificial butter flavoring have been linked to lung and Alzheimer’s disease.
My advice: go organic and use an air-popper or the stovetop, then add your own flavor. There are plain, organic options to purchase that offer a decent amount of fiber and manganese within this low calorie snack – just a tip, do not cover it in sugar or pasteurized butter. Instead use coconut oil or organic butter.
In the most basic form bread is flour, water, yeast and a few pinches of salt. Most bread contains added sugars, artificial colors, GMOs and malathion. Malathion is an ingredient that can be found in shampoo which is designed to kill head lice in humans and fleas in pets. It is hard to find bread at the store that does not contain dough conditioners like the yoga mat chemical, azodicarbonamide (also found in fast food chains such as Subway, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc.). This chemical compound is banned for use as a food additive in the UK, Europe and Australia. US manufacturers use this dough conditioners as a flour bleaching agent. Does this sound appetizing to you?
The chemical used to make plastics foamy does not belong in our food. Instead, stick to organic, sprouted gain breads or gluten free options that are primarily comprised of seeds and healthy grains such as quinoa and millet. Organic breads use organic ingredients and will not contain azodicarbonamide or other questionable food additives.
Are you a coffee addict? Conventional coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated foods in the world. It is grown using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and planted in full, direct sunlight. This allows the beans to grow quicker and produce more bean per plant. Not only does the environment suffer from this chemical overload, but so do the people who live in it. These highly toxic chemicals are detrimental to human health.
Organic coffee is far more environmentally sustainable and leaves a smaller carbon footprint. An organic coffee bean prefers the shade to the sun, meaning less coffee can be made. However, it does not contain synthetic fertilizers or chemicals used in growing or production which means cleaner beans, air, land and water. Organic coffee beans are often richer in healthy antioxidants and often taste better.
Low in calories and high in vitamins, spinach remains one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. The USDA’s samples showed more pesticides by weight on conventional spinach than any other crop. This superfood tested positive for 48 pesticide residues and 16 different pesticide and breakdowns products on a single sample. One of them being Permethrin which is linked to ADHD in children. Conventionally grown spinach has up to four times more nitrates than organically grown varieties.
Organic spinach has more vitamin C and health-promoting properties. To assure your spinach has no pesticides, purchase organic spinach. Organic produce prohibits the use of super-toxic chemicals, such as the ones found in conventional foods. If you love eating vegetables as much as I do, I recommend to ALWAYS purchase organic no matter what veggie it is.
Organic foods are often more expensive, but they are worth the extra money spent when it comes to our health. Organics offer more beneficial properties such as packed nutrients and antioxidants, rather than their conventionally-grown counterparts. I hope this post inspires you to choose organic whenever possible as an investment to your health.
Most people wouldn’t think a simple glazed doughnut could be something worth writing about. But those people haven’t tried Windmill Village Bakery doughnuts.
Nestled on highway 93 between Missoula, Montana and Flathead Lake in the small town of Ravalli, the outdated windmill exterior serves as a disguise for the drool-worthy goodies being baked inside.
As soon as you walk through the bakery doors, you feel at home. It’s not flashy by any means, but there is a hum of activity that comes from the tiny kitchen behind the counter. That hum is Nancy Martin, the brains behind the infamous doughnuts. She makes all the doughnuts by hand, sometimes up to several dozen a day depending on the demand. A recipe that was passed down from her mother to her, her doughnuts are something that Nancy’s bakery has become renowned for. And for good reason.
The doughnuts are as big as a softball, but still remain light and fluffy on the inside. They offer the perfect level of sweetness with a gooey center and a crisp crackly exterior. What could possibly make these doughnuts so crazy good? Potatoes. Thats right, POTATOES! The best part? Each doughnut only costs $2.00. Delicious and cheap, what more could you ask for? If doughnuts aren’t your thing, they offer tons of other delicious baked goods, such as huckleberry pie or soft warm melt in your mouth cookies.
If you want to try these out for yourself, better get there early, because they sell out fast. Everybody needs to try a potato doughnut! I promise you, its worth the trip. You’ll be left with sticky fingers and happy stomachs.