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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12 Step Program

by Bridger Frandsen

 

This isn’t your typical 12 step program on the road to sobriety. This is a set of guidelines to help you become a better you. Below is a list of principles that can help you change your life for the better. I myself have, in no way, mastered all of these, and I probably won’t anytime soon. Baby steps are the key to redefining who you are and who you want to be. I believe there is always room for improvement, and we should constantly be striving to better ourselves; whether it be financially, physically or mentally. I can’t promise that following these steps religiously will bring you the success you desire, but pursuing a few of them will, at the very least, make you see yourself in a more positive view.

 

Step 1: Educate Yourself.

This doesn’t mean you have to enroll in college and get yourself a degree. This means put down the remote and pick up a book. Reading creates mental stimulation and keeps your brain active. It improves your focus and concentration, and strengthens your analytical thinking skills. Likewise, reading can help expand your vocabulary, not only building your knowledge base, but makes you sound more attractive. What’s a woman going to find more appealing, that you have all 6 seasons of Lost on DVD or that you have a plethora of novels that you can damn near recite? Probably the latter. Another tip on educating yourself, follow the news. Not celebrity news that only reveals who Kim K is fucking, but global news. Know what’s going on in the world we live in. Follow CNN or the Wall Street Journal, keep up to date on real issues.

 

Step 2: Exercise

Working out shows discipline and that you care about your health and physical appearance. In addition, exercise releases endorphins in your body that trigger a positive feeling. This uplift in your mood will create a more positive outlook, stimulating a more favorable perception on life. Step number 2 doesn’t imply that you need to become Mr. Olympia, but going to the gym or running 3-4 times per week will increase your mood as well as the way you appear. Look good, feel good, right?

 

Step 3: Eat Right

Sure, Taco Bell is cheap and gives your taste buds an orgasm, but you have to take into consideration the health aspect. Likewise, McDonald’s breakfast is quick as you’re on your way to work or school. It can be a nuisance cooking every meal and having to do dishes, but benefits outweigh the chores. Wake up 30 minutes earlier and make yourself a healthy, filling breakfast; after all, it is the most important meal of the day. Even if you’re not hungry upon waking, it’s important to get that nutrient intake early on. For lunch, meal prep; making all your meals for the week Sunday night means less dishes and less hassle later in the week. Not only are you eating healthier, you’re saving time and money on fast food.

 

Step 4: Think Positively

It can be difficult keeping a positive mindset all the time, especially when times are rough. Difficulties build character, and they make you stronger in the long run. Regardless of your religion, I like to believe that God has a plan for everyone. What may seem like the end of the world now, often times turns out to be a blessing. You just have to grip the wheel tight and go for the ride, knowing that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. An easy task to help keep you thinking positive, is to think of 3 new things each day that you’re thankful for. This relieves stress and helps you realize that there are positive influences in your life. Negativity can have a domino effect on you, you can’t be happy if you only see the bad in situations.

 

Step 5: Help Someone in Need

If you see someone with a problem, do what you can to help them out, and don’t do it expecting something in return; this will only make you frustrated if you aren’t compensated. Not only will this help someone, but will help you feel better about yourself. This isn’t donating your paycheck to charity, this is seeing the person on the road holding jumper cables, hoping for someone to give them a jump. We pass by people struggling every day, whether it’s a helping hand or a listening ear, lending someone your time can go a long way. You should look for ways to help others each day.

 

Step 6: Put Money Away

You may be in college and don’t have much funds as it is, or you may be working full time and have bills to pay. Regardless, it’s important to have a backup plan when life throws you a curveball. One of the most wealthy men in the world, Warren Buffet, said “Don’t save what’s left after spending, spend what’s left after saving”. Money left over from bills doesn’t need to go to shoes or the bar. Having money doesn’t mean you need to spend it right away, sure you can’t take it with you when you’re gone, but you don’t have to go broke “YOLOing”. If you’re going downtown, take a limited supply of cash, this eliminates that gut wrenching feeling of checking your bank account the next day. Open up a savings account, and put a fraction of money away every paycheck. Not only does this create a sense of security, but when a large investment comes along worth dumping money into, you’ll be able to do it.

 

Step 7: Don’t Procrastinate

Get shit done before it needs to be done. Saving tasks for the last minute not only makes the end result look like shit, but it’s far more stressful scrambling to get multiple things done at once. Get ahead so you can take your time. The relief of finishing something is far greater when it’s done in advance, then if a problem occurs you’re not left without any options. This step is easier said than done, especially when you’re working two jobs, going to school and just want to unwind. If you get in the mindset that you should always be grinding, you’ll find yourself more success. If you’re in school, pretend it’s a job. Give yourself a certain number of hours each day to devote to school work. Preferably on campus where there are less distractions. When a task arises, so should you.

 

Step 8: Live Tidy

They say a house never gets cleaned as fast as when a man expects a woman over. Why not just always keep your house and vehicle tidy? Whether you expect company or not, you shouldn’t be living in filth. Do your laundry and put that shit away, don’t leave it to sit on your bed and wrinkle. Do your dishes when you’re done eating, they don’t need to soak for a week. Clean your bathroom regularly. If you do happen to bring a lady home, she won’t be there long if she sees your bathtub scum. When you go to pick up a date and you open the car door for her, empty bottles or beer cans shouldn’t be falling out. Likewise, your backseat shouldn’t give the appearance that you’ve been living out of your vehicle. Keep yourself and your living quarters clean enough to be proud of.

 

Step 9: Dress to Impress

No, the clothes don’t make the man. You don’t have to wear a button up shirt and slacks. But dress everyday like you’re going to meet the girl of your dreams. You’ll feel much more confident in jeans and a long sleeve than you would in sweats and a hoodie. If you’re just staying at home by yourself, who gives a shit if you’re in a snuggie, but if you’re going out, wear something prideful. Granted, no girl is going to sleep with you just because you’re wearing designer apparel, but if you look good, your odds go up.

 

Step 10: Drink Less

Like I said earlier, this isn’t a sobriety program. Believe me, I know how to paint the town and I certainly do. But don’t be that bar rat that goes out three nights a week. Limit yourself to one night out a week, at most. This will help your health, your bank account, and your reputation. Sure, there’s a sort of limelight attached to a party animal, but they never go anywhere. It’s hard to build your success if you’re either drunk or hungover all the time. By cutting back on the booze, you’ll have a clearer mind and can focus on your goals. Take care of all your assignments or tasks before you decide to go toss a few back, then you won’t have to do it the next day with a headache.

 

Step 11: Set Goals

There’s no better feeling than achieving a goal you’ve set for yourself. Without a goal in mind, what are you really doing with your life? There’s no way to improve if you don’t have an idea of what it is worth improving. Whether it is to lose 20 pounds or save up enough money to purchase a new vehicle, know what it is that you want and strategize a plan to accomplish it. It’s important to set a deadline. There’s not much satisfaction in losing 20 pounds over 5 years, or buying that 2016 Silverado if it’s 2030. Setting a deadline gives you a sense of urgency, and the moment you decide what you want, gives you that drive to succeed. Goals are essential to success and improvement, without them we will just remain the same, indefinitely.

 

Step 12: Be Yourself, Be Confident

“Be yourself” may sound counterproductive when we’re talking about improving. What I mean is, be a better you, but make sure that it’s still you. You’re not improving yourSELF if you’re actually trying to be someone else. Make sure that while you follow these steps, you’re doing it for you, not for any other person. Don’t set a goal that will impress others, set one that will ultimately satisfy you. Improvement doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and patience, be confident and take pride that you’re bettering yourself. Changes are going to occur, without them you wouldn’t be moving forward. I will reiterate, be confident! What you think of yourself is far more important that what others think of you.