Fueling Up With Luke Kuechly

NFL linebacker Luke Kuechly talks about how he fuels up and how nutrition and proper hydration has impacted his game.

Luke Kuechly

How he learned to eat right and hydrate properly

My freshman year of high school [St. Xavier, Cincinnati], I got hurt. In my sophomore year I played on the offensive side of the ball, which wasn't where I wanted to be. Before my junior year, I got hooked up with a nutritionist, who pointed me in the right direction and showed me what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. I put some weight on, and the hard work paid off. I finally got to play linebacker—the position I had always wanted to play.

I realized that in-game hydration matters, too. During my junior season, we played a nationally televised game against DeMatha of Hyattsville, Md., which was ranked No. 5 in the nation at the time. A bunch of our better players, myself included, caught cramps. When you're cramping, you can't play, and when you can't play, it affects your whole team.

How he stays hydrated as a pro

I'm constantly drinking throughout practice and taking in fluids. Our trainers do a great job of always having the stuff ready to go for us. After practice, I pour a couple of Gatorlyte packets—a concentrated source of electrolytes—into a Gatorade and put it away as quick as I can. That way I'm geting everything back in my body immediately.

His favorite snack

Almonds, walnuts or a bagel with peanut butter. Pretzels are great, too.

What he eats the night before a game

On Saturdays, I try and stay away from fried foods and anything that is super-processed that will sit in my stomach and be really heavy. I like to pair a lean, grilled protein source with mashed potatoes.

What he eats after the game

After a game, I'm tired and just want to relax. I usually eat whatever is in front of me. But I do immediately take in a protein shake. Then I'll work in some fluids.

His favorite Gatorade flavor

I'm definitely a lemon-lime guy. And anything blue—Fierce Grape or Glacier Freeze.

Luke's Big Breakfast

The Panthers' middle linebacker begins each day with a beastly morning meal.

Egg whites with just a little of the yolks

Calories: 125
Fat: 5g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Protein: 19g

OatmealOatmeal with honey and fruit (strawberries, blueberries or banana)

Calories: 290
Fat: 2g
Carbohydrates: 62g
Protein: 6g

Toast with peanut butter

Calories: 173
Fat: 9g
Carbohydrates: 15g
Protein: 8g

Glass of milk, water or orange juice

Photo: AP

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