Russell Wilson is hoping a slimmed down frame might help him get back to another Super Bowl.
The 28-year-old Seattle Seahawks quarterback has been following a unique diet plan in recent months with the goal of shedding weight and dropping his body fat percentage. The diet has Wilson eating nine meals a day with a calorie goal of 4,800. It's also seen him cut out both gluten and dairy products.
The results have been stellar. When Wilson began the diet in March, he weighed 225 pounds with 16% body fat. He's now at about 214 pounds with 10% body fat.
Wilson's been working on his nutrition under the guidance of Dr. Philip Goglia, president and founder of Performance Fitness Concepts. Goglia has helped NBA players like Kevin Love and Rudy Gobert overhaul their diets and re-shape their bodies. "(Russell) came in feeling as though he was too heavy and not mobile enough," Goglia told ESPN. "He wanted to get his weight down. He was over 225. He felt as though he needed to be leaner and stronger and more agile. And that's my wheelhouse."
There are reasons to believe Wilson's extra weight was holding him back last season. He rushed for just 259 yards in 2016, which was a career low. Entering 2016, Wilson had averaged 607.5 rushing yards per season. He was also sacked 41 times in 2016, tied for second-most in the NFL.
When Wilson first came to Goglia, he was consuming about 2,700 calories a day. Goglia bumped his daily calorie intake up to 4,800 a day over nine meals, believing the extra calories would help his metabolism run faster. While this might sound counterintuitive, it makes perfect sense in the case of Wilson—when your body isn't consuming enough calories, it responds by going into "survival mode" and restricting the numbers of calories burned. This is why extreme calorie-restriction diets rarely pay off.
"Every fat guy will say, 'Food makes you fat. I eat one can of tuna and an apple a day.' And that's why they're fat. Not enough caloric heat. Especially in athletes. Athletic temperatures are huge metabolically. They have a big metabolic load. The more muscle you have, the more food you need. That's the baseline concept," Goglia said. "(Wilson) really has a Ferrari-like structure metabolically".
So, what's a day of Wilson's new diet look like? Here's a sample:
Pre-workout: One tablespoon of almond butter and one tablespoon of jam
Post-workout: Two cups of cooked oatmeal, six whole eggs, chicken breast and fruit
Mid-morning snack: Fruit and 12 almonds
First lunch: Eight ounces of protein (equivalent to two chicken breasts) with yams and a vegetable (typically one of either beets, asparagus, kale or spinach)
Second lunch: Eight ounces of protein with a cup of rice and a vegetable
Afternoon snack: Fruit and 12 almonds
Second afternoon snack: Fruit, 12 almonds and whey protein
Dinner: Fatty fish (salmon, sea bass, black cod, etc.) or lean steak (filet, flank, hanger, etc.) accompanied by vegetables and a side salad
Pre-bed snack: A "mash" of shredded wheat, applesauce, almond butter and jam
Eating like that every day isn't easy, but Goglia says Wilson has really attacked the challenge. "(Russell) was an animal about it," Goglia said. "The f—ing guy buried himself in this, and it's epic to see, because that really validates him as a complete athlete." Wilson recently vented on Twitter about how much he misses mac & cheese:
But don't expect him to cave anytime soon. In addition to the considerable weight loss and changes in body composition, Wilson says the diet has him feeling remarkably sharp.
"(I'm) trying to eat really, really well and have great nutrition. I think it's critical. It allows you to wake up feeling good, feeling strong. It allows you to excel throughout the day and have tons of strength and energy. So I think it's really important for me," Wilson said.
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