Dude… I was shocked to hear how a self-proclaimed and famous ‘fat guy’ lost 60 pounds, got ripped, and became a healthier version of himself. But the more I read about his ‘how’ the more skeptical I became. I’ve tried my hand at a wide variety of fitness regimens, including the one touted as this guy’s saving grace. So I dove deeper into the facts and found out the truth… and guess what – weight loss continues to be as simple as ever.
But that don’t make it easy.
You know what would help matters most?
If people actually gave you the true skinny to how they did it. So today I’m here to decode the story written about this man’s journey and tell you what the author’s really trying to say.
Joe Thomas, a former offensive lineman with the Cleveland Browns is a big man
But not nearly as big of a man as he was when you take “former” out of the previous sentence. Playing for the Browns, Joe had to contend with other 250 – 300 pound men who wanted nothing more than to annihilate him on the way to sacking the quarterback he was protecting.
And while the Browns’ quarterback changed more often than the weather forecast on an Ohio day in the spring, Thomas held strong. For over ten consecutive years, he never missed a snap. Battling the elements, other men, and his own internal injuries, Thomas played every play. And he played well.
Thomas was awarded selected to the NFL’s Pro Bowl for 10 consecutive years and he was widely regarded as one of the best at his craft.
Come to think of it, he was a bit “wide”, in general. As a self-proclaimed, “fat guy,” dude was a big, powerful man.
Which is exactly why I was shocked to see a recent picture of him
Thomas in present-day could pass as a triathlete crossed with an MMA fighter, or just about any option in between.
Still big but now ‘fit’.
Still powerful but now ‘ripped’.
I was intrigued. And fortunately, that picture was accompanied by an article (link here) outlining exactly how Joe Thomas lost 60 pounds… (sound familiar??) and got swole in the process (I’m still working on that…).
This article was written about Thomas’ journey from an outside observer, and the methods touted reflect exactly that – an outsider’s point of view.
As the piece mentions, Thomas’ joints were jacked up after years of football, ‘playing through the pain’, and a host of other factors. To “go for a run” as Thomas would mean excruciating pain due to the bone-on-bone nature of his joints (namely the knees and ankles).
To reduce the impact on his joints during the season, Thomas took to the pool and eventually built up his natatorium-style endurance to the point that swimming could substitute as a cardio-intensive alternative to running.
As it turns out – swimming may have helped but…
When Thomas changed his calorie intake, that’s when his weight shifted drastically.
As a player, he had to do everything he could to keep weight on through the rigors of the NFL season. He consumed at least 5,000 calories daily, beginning with a typical breakfast of oatmeal or yogurt with berries, flaxseed, eggs, bacon, and a protein shake. Lunch might be a burger and fries or a carbohydrate load of pastas and breads. Dinner often included another heavy dose of pasta—“Because it’s such an easy way to steal a bunch of calories,” Thomas says—and a dessert. A bedtime snack would consist of a pint or so of ice cream, followed by a sleeve of Thin Mints with a whole milk chaser. Finally, he would top off the tank with a protein shake.
“If I didn’t do that before bed, I just couldn’t keep the weight on,” Thomas says. “As much as you work in the NFL with practice and lifting and stuff, I just had to have all those calories to keep the weight on. It was a daily battle.”
Dress her up with all that shimmers and shines, but when this ballerina hits the ball, her beauty rests in her down to earth personality and sense of humor
Translation – just as I found in my own (early) ‘retirement’ from football, while working out makes you stronger, eating fewer calories drops the pounds. Sure, you can swim, play basketball, lift, run, or do whatever other activity you’d like to stay ‘fit’.
But ‘fitness’ is a goal slightly different than ‘weight loss’.
From the perspective of Thomas, the dude worked out constantly while still an All-Pro in the NFL, but yet he remained at 312 pounds…
The one thing that actually changed in his retirement…? Calories in
These days, Thomas mostly sticks to a diet low in carbohydrates, focusing on lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. He allows himself to eat what he wants on special occasions or have a couple of beers with friends on the weekend, knowing he will return to his diet and workout routine on Monday without fail.
Everything in moderation, folks.
Now, are we all 250-pound chiseled former All-Pro athletes? Not quite.
But we can take from the lessons learned and apply the principles to our lives. What did I get from Thomas?
- Number of calories in trumps your workout approach
- (AKA – you can’t out-train a poor diet)
- Deviation from the plan is fine as long as that deviation represents 10% of your time rather than 50%
- Create a plan based on past experience, research, and your goals – then pursue it each day
- Number of calories in trumps your workout approach
- Progress – not perfection
(The links included in the post above point to the best, most effective posts on MikedUp Blog pertaining to fitness and weight loss. They are a great group to start with, if interested)