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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Top 5 Philadelphia Eagles of 2018

Calvin Koerber

5. Nick Foles

Super Bowl 52 MVP. That one sentence speaks volumes for what Nick Foles did for the Eagles just one year ago. Fast forward to 2018 and Foles still helped the team out tremendously over the course of the season. In the first 2 games of the season, Foles started for an injured Wentz and helped the team to a decent start at 1-1 including a Thursday night thriller in week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. Fast forward to week 15. The Eagles are in rough shape with a ton of injuries and doubts against them. Carson Wentz was again ruled out with a back injury. Who saves the Eagles? Foles. The Eagles played the Los Angeles Rams in L.A. that week and Foles guided this team to a huge road win. The spark began and the Eagles went 3-0 in the last three games, which punched them a ticket to the playoffs including a playoff win against the Chicago Bears.

4. Michael Bennett

Is Michael Bennett wearing pads? Still unsure, but what is certain is that Bennett had a crazy good year in Seattle before joining the Eagle this season. He played lights out recording 9 sacks, 25 solo tackles, and a big voice in the locker room this season. This gave the Eagles a very deep front 7 to deal damage to offensive lines. The Eagles defensive front in 2017 was already one of the best in the league. This past offseason adding Bennett was a huge move and it payed off tremendously. Derek Barnett was a strong force on the Eagles defensive front at the beginning of the season, but because of injury he was sidelined which gave Bennett a huge opportunity which he fully took advantage of.

3. Brandon Brooks

The offensive line for the Birds is one of the most talented lines in the entire NFL. Brandon Brooks is one of the best offensive guards in the league and his performance this season proved that. Brooks started all 16 games this season. Brooks has also only given up 1 sack since 2016. He also held one of the longest game streaks without giving up a sack with 46 games. Brooks was also named to the 2018 Pro Bowl as only 3 Eagles were elected to go this season.

2. Fletcher Cox

Fletcher Cox played in all 16 games this year and was the staple of the Eagles defense. Most teams had to double team him in order to get any positive yards but even then that wouldn’t fully stop this beast. Not only did Cox have a tremendous season, he also opened up a lot of opportunities for everyone on the defense because of how much focus was on him every snap. Cox recorded 10.5 sacks, 33 solo tackles, and had 46 combined tackles. Cox earned a spot on the First Team All Pro list as well as a 2018 ProBowl nomination.

1. Zach Ertz

Zach Ertz was absolutely phenomenal this season. He was Carson Wentz’s go to on what seemed like every play when Wentz started. Ertz recorded 116 catches for 1,163 yards and 8 touchdowns. He broke several records including Jason Witten’s record for most catches for a tight end in a single season. Not only did Ertz break that record, but he also finished with the most receptions on the Eagles and finished 2nd in overall receptions in the entire league including Wide Receivers. Ertz had his best season yet in terms of numbers and finished with a 2018 ProBowl selection.

Love and the Obligation of Fantasy Football

Fantasy football is a way of life. Once a football fan gives in and starts playing fantasy football it will forever change their lives. Sleepless nights and restless days spent setting and resetting your lineup, looking for free agents on the waiver wire, researching stats, adding and dropping players. Oh man! What a joy it is.

This is all done while your significant other watches you pull out your hair stressing over every move made, beat yourself up for not playing the sleeper, or even celebrating a hard fought victory that means absolutely nothing to them. Do you really think fantasy football doesn’t have an effect on your relationship? I beg to differ, my friend.

I started playing fantasy football in 2011 and I have been hooked ever since. Ok… ok… hooked is an understatement. I am full blown addicted! Every year I crave the fall, not for the weather, not for the end of summer, not for the beginning of school, but the fantasy football draft! The draft marks the beginning of a hard fought, highly thought about 17 weeks of fantasy football.

That’s right 17 weeks of fantasy football,baby!! Once the draft is complete each team reviews their players, top to bottom and bottom to top. How’s my team stack up to others? Who had the best draft? Text messages sent and received, “How do you think the draft went? How’s my team looking?” If you’ve played fantasy football you know all about the excitement.

Ok, before I get too excited and continue on about fantasy football let’s talk about how amazing our significant others are for putting up with us through these 17 joyous weeks. My girlfriend and I have been together for a little over two and a half years and thankfully she supports my fantasy football addiction, but here’s some advice that I’ve learned over the last few years…

ADVICE #1: DRAFT PLAYERS FROM YOUR GIRLS TEAM!

My girlfriend is a Seahawks fan and I sucker her into fantasy talks by talking about her favorite team. She is very passionate about her Hawks and will talk about them anytime. This being the main reason as to why I always make sure to draft at least 1 to 2 Hawks players. Not only does it give me brownie points, it also gives me reason to ask for fantasy advice. Fellas this works, I’m telling you it will help your girlfriend understand fantasy better and give you something to talk about other than shoes and clothes.

ADVICE #2: TAKE HER RECOMMENDATIONS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT!

“Babe, babe, babe, who should I start this week, Emmanuel Sanders or Brandon Marshall?” Yeah we all do it, sometimes it’s too difficult to make the decision alone and any advice that can help lead a decision is good advice, even if they have no idea who you’re talking about. Besides, who better to ask than the one that loves you most, right?

Until they make that random guess of who to start and you end up losing your matchup that week. Ahh, the questions start to build, “Why did I side with her? Did she even know who that player is? Wait, is it her fault for me trusting her statistically incorrect advice?” Sweet babe, I may not make the playoffs now and it kind of… sort of… may be your fault! Just kidding, but really.

ADVICE #3: NO PLANS ON SUNDAYS!

I wake her up every Sunday morning, not with a kiss, not with breakfast plans, but instead with a tap on the shoulder and my phone in her face asking, “Who should I start today?” (remember from advice #2, follow your gut)

Sundays in the fall are strictly football days; they are the day every fantasy player looks forward to from week to week. Sundays consist of TV, couch, game day grub, fantasy football app, and a cold beer. No chores, no errands, no brunch and no distractions. Thank you for your understanding… love you babe!

ADVICE #4: SHOW THIS BLOG TO YOUR GIRLFRIEND

Do it and thank me in the fall!

 

By: Carsen Hopfauf

My Plead With College Gameday

If you follow college football you know that every Saturday morning you wake up Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and the forever famous Lee Corso. Every week they travel to a big college football game and in front of huge crowds of the local fans with outrageous posters talk about the upcoming games for the day and feature stories on the athletes that we watch. I love College Gameday and always will but one thing has always bothered me about the show. I am tired of seeing Alabama, LSU, Oregon and the big guys. Every week they go to the “biggest game” normally a matchup between two top 10 or top 25 teams and this makes sense, but there are always those weeks in the season where the schedule doesn’t have any great matchups yet they go to the big schools and show little love to the small guys.

Since 2000 College Gameday has done 232 shows and 29% of these shows have been at the all-powerful SEC schools. Alabama has had the most appearances with 17 and I think I speak for a majority when I say I have seen enough of Tuscaloosa, I have seen enough of Gainesville, and Baton Rouge. I demand Pullman, Washington and I almost got it this past Halloween weekend, but once again my dreams have been crushed. First thing I do Saturday morning when I see the shot of the crowd on Gameday is find Ol’ Crimson. Since 2003, a streak of 170 consecutive games, the Washington State school flag has traveled back and forth across the country flying high and proud by some Washington State alum yet Gameday has never shown Pullman the love and been there! Why am I the only one outraged by this! If you put in the work to organize a 12 year tradition of being at every College Gameday broadcast, becoming a fixture of the show, why can’t ESPN show you some love and go for one show to Pullman.
Every college football fan has their own list of the stadiums and games they want to go to, mine starts with Ole Miss and visiting “The Grove” which is a top 5 college football experience. I understand the hypocrisy that my first choice of a game is to go to an SEC school but it wasn’t until last year that Gameday finally made it to “The Grove”. Number two on my list is to go to in my mind the greatest rivalry in college football, the game I am speaking of is the Army-Navy game. This game is the last game of the regular season every year and if it isn’t on your bucket list you need to re-evaluate your views on college football. Yet Gameday has been to this game once since 2000. Two weeks ago Gameday came through for me and went to Harrisonburg, Virginia for a matchup between Richmond and James Madison both schools are in the FCS (Football Championship Series) the league under the top schools who are members of the FBS (Football Bowl Series), it was James Madison’s first appearance on Gameday. The crowd was huge and the fans were going crazy. In 2013 and again in 2014 Gameday went to Fargo, North Dakota to showcase North Dakota State and the great scene of downtown Fargo. People were hanging out of windows, on roofs of buildings, and filling up the streets. This is what college football is about, these players and fans are there for the love of the game.

I want to make a challenge to ESPN and the producers of College Gameday for the next season. I’ll give them four weeks where they can go to the big schools but for the other eleven go somewhere new, go to the Pullman’s, the Harrisonburg’s, the Temple’s of the college football world, you have the power to showcase the campuses and cities that many people will never get to see. MAKE IT HAPPEN!