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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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat

Caroline Armstrong

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

https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/02/11/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

Vegetable Chik'n Noodle Soup
https://www.morningstarfarms.com/recipes/vegetable-chik-n-noodle-soup-recipe.html

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

Learn how to make Roasted Spagehtti Squash the easy way! This method works PERFECTLY every-single-time.
https://bakerbynature.com/roast-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

Loaded Nachos
https://www.morningstarfarms.com/recipes/loaded-nachos-recipe.html

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

Sweet, sticky, addictive sesame cauliflower, a healthy & delicious meatless recipe
https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2017/01/09/sticky-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.

Mondays (Don’t Have to) Suck

 

Published by: Aaron Kell

Written by: Meghan Wagner

  • Jam it Out!!

 

Start by having a solid go-to playlist, or a few.  Think about classic (to you) songs, or just songs that make you feel good.  For me that would be 90’s Jams, showcasing the likes of Beck, Third Eye Blind, Oasis and such.  It’s possible you would benefit from a pre-made workout playlist on Spotify.  If Hip-Hop is your thing, make a list of the best.  Just knowing you don’t have to try (or think) that hard to get some good tunes flowing is gonna pick you up just that much faster.

To see what YouTube recommends on Mondays, check here:

 

  • Dress for Success

 

Go to bed on Sunday night with an idea of what you’ll want to wear tomorrow.  Take into account the day’s tasks: a regular work day, group presentation, running a boat load of errands, etc. Figure out not only how functional you need your outfit to be, but also how comfortable you want to be.  Our desires for these ideas change from week to week based on what our priorities and short-term goals are, which is part of what makes picking out your outfit fun.  I totally commend yoga pants on a Monday, but consider pairing them with a cute, cozy top instead of the first thing you find on your floor, which you’ll end up having to turn inside-out in the bathroom because a rando discovered last Friday’s pizza stain and thought he was being kind by pointing it out to you (this is me commiserating with you, not judging you).  If picking out your outfit the night before is not your thing, just think about what kind of style you’ll be in the mood for. Just by having an idea of what direction you want to take your own wardrobe before you even get there is going to help make the process simpler and smoother.  I’m not saying this will make deciding what to wear simple and smooth, but simpler and smoother.

 

  • Find joy in the little things

 

Take your time to pack a healthy but satisfying lunch or really yummy snacks.  Walk to campus  and with this new chunk of time and pick up a piping cup of Oolong to switch it up.  Take your chance to review Tumblr and Pinterest without the guilt of not responding to that (kinda?) important email or you know, doing homework.  This time can be perfect for carrying-out mundane, somewhat mindless tasks that should get done.  Monday mornings can actually serve the purpose of being productive, and setting a high, yet attainable standard to set a good pace of productivity for your week.

For some delectable suggestions, check here:

21 Clean Lunches in Under 10 Minutes

21-Clean-Lunches-That-Can-Be-Prepared-In-Under-10-Minutes

20 Healthy On-the-Go Snacks

{20 Healthy On-the-Go Snacks} *Perfect for running between after school activities #BuddyFruitsB2S

 

  • Wake up a ½ hour earlier than necessary

 

Hey, hear me out here, I’m not excited about this one either.  Part of what makes Mondays so perpetually unpleasant is the morning rush.  If you have a regular 9-5 job, or are a student attending traditional classes, by the time Monday morning rolls around you are out of your routine.  Between battling the great debates of getting up and putting at least some effort into your appearance or clutching even tighter to those fleeting, precious moments of sleep, before frantically looking for something resembling breakfast food (or just something edible if it’s “one of those Mondays”) or just not eating because you’re whipping around like The Flash and ain’t nobody got time for breakfast (unless it’s brunch-which it’s not, because it’s fucking Monday) Mondays are just going to make you feel rushed.  By waking up just half an hour earlier than you need to to fulfill your morning routine you are giving yourself the gifts of time and sanity.  You could sleep for an extra 15-30 minutes (which yes you would be doing anyway, but in the moment it feels like finding that last present hidden behind the tree) or you could actually use the time.   Allow yourself to spend extra time in the shower, or have a bath if that’s what you prefer.  Watch an episode of Friends while putting on your make-up or eating breakfast (I recommend “The One with the Embryos” if you’re in need of a suggestion).  Stop denying your inner child and actually make yourself a smiley face pancake.  Just do something easy that you love, that sounds good in the moment.  The only limitation is this treat can’t have a great potential of totally derailing your whole routine, like watching Games of Thrones in bed.  Sorry folks, I wish that last one really would help me get ready in the morning…

If You’re Not Doing This, You Should Be

How To: Never Be Ill

It’s that time of year again where any office space, classroom, or restaurant turns into a battleground between our health and the bugs that cause illness and run rampant through our communities.  If you’re anything like me then you have entirely too much going on and can’t afford to lose the battle to the common cold, seasonal flu, or whatever else they’re calling it these days. I decided after a victory over a sinus infection three years ago that I would do anything it took to not get sick, ever. This is why I have developed a quick and inexpensive regimen to keep myself guarded and armed all year long. I haven’t had even an inkling of illness in three years and think that everyone should benefit from these simple ways to stay healthy. Here is 5 ways to arm your body and never get sick again.

 

Garlic Bombs

Perhaps the most importangarlict weapon in the arsenal is the garlic bomb. Packed full of fiber, vitamins C and B6 as well as minerals like potassium and calcium, garlic give the immune system a HUGE boost, allowing it to work overtime in destroying any virus or unwanted visitors that may enter your body. While most people like garlic in small amounts and mixed into food, I have found it highly effective to finely chop a clove or two and drop it in about ¼ cup of water and down it quickly to avoid the garlic aftertaste that lingers in the mouth after chewing it. It also reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, prevents dementia, detoxifies heavy metals in your blood and improves athletic performance.  You can’t have too many of these so drop them as often as you’d like!

 

 

 

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Shots

A shot of this one or twice a day will bring your whole body to the equilibrium that it is constantly working to achieve. This allows for your energy to be used in other ways, like fighting off infection and increasing brain function. It balances the pH levels inside of your body as well as on the outside such as nourishing your skin and hair. It aids in weight loss, removes candida which causes sugar cravings, poor memory and fatigue, and can reduce heartburn. Take a standard sized shot (1 oz) of this with turmeric to reduce the acidity or dilute with water. The ‘raw’ part is imperative because it contains probiotics that help with digestion. I use Bragg’s brand which can be found at any grocery store. If you can take a shot of whiskey, you can take a shot of this!

ACV

Turmeric Powder

Bright orange in color, this spice does not try to camouflage it incredible benefits. Turmeric is a root that is harvested and ground into a fine powder. It has anti-inflammatory qualities, fights infection and destroys any free-radicals (cancer-causing organisms) that enter the body. It severely reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart-disease, and contains repairing properties for brain stem cells. The daily recommended amount is 1-2 tablespoons. I get my turmeric fix by mixing 1.5 tablespoons in a standard sized shot glass with apple cider vinegar. Adding ¼ teaspoon of black pepper increases bioavailability of the turmeric so you can reap all the benefits. If the turmeric and ACV is too much for you, try mixing it with ¼ cup water instead. This one is a must not just for fighting off colds but for a long (and cognitive) life!

Hot Lemon & Honey Water

This has not only changed the way I think about coffee, but chalemonnged the way I think about mornings. Drinking this on an empty stomach (before coffee) cleanses and hydrates the lymphatic system which, when dehydrated, is the leading cause of illness. It also cleanses the colon, skin, and digestive system. The enzymes in the lemon give a nice, clean boost of energy first thing in the morning without caffeine. If you’re interested in a beautiful healthy glow outside and highly functioning system inside, then this is drink for you. I use a half a lemon and 1.5 teaspoons of raw, natural honey and look forward to this treat every morning! A must have while fighting a viral invasion.

 

Ginger Tea

This last one is a bit more time consuming but equally as important. Ginger has been used for centuries for its preventative, healing and aiding properties. It allows for better absorption of vitamins and minerals, cleanses the body of unwanted bacteria and boosts the immune system to fight infection. It is also an anti-inflammatory and reduces risk of colon and stomach cancers and ulcers. Steep 2 tablespoons of shredded ginger in hot water and drink like tea 1-3 times per day. Ginger tea helps pull the rest of the regimen together and keeps you getting the most of everything you put into your body.

 

There are many other spices, oils and foods you can eat to keep you healthy, but my personal five favorites continue work flawlessly for me. Since I have started this I have been sleeping more soundly, waking up with ease, have increased energy and stamina, clearer thinking, and an overall improved mood. Try one, or all of these amazing weapons and see for yourself the positive effects they can have. Your body will thank you and you will be glad when you are healthy and come out of the battlegrounds unscathed! 

 

Happy Healthing,

Niki Bates