Cleveland Brown's former offensive fighter Joe Thomas retired last season after eleven years in the Hall of Fame. He has done the Pro Bowl 10 times and played over 10,000 snapshots in a row. Although the NFL does not run lineman sack statistics, Thomas reportedly issued only 30 sacks in some 6,600 pass raids. He is perhaps the greatest offensive lineman of all time.
But Thomas was not always fit for the line. In fact, his journey to his 325-pound game weight has since been more surprising than his off-season weight loss transformation.
Thomas tells Men's Health how he took the weight and how he took it off.
When I entered campus in July of my first year of study in Wisconsin, I was 250 years old to get on the offensive line. And 250 pounds would not cut it.
To become 250 in high school, I grabbed a loaf of bread and made it into peanut butter jelly sandwiches. I eat a sandwich every 30 minutes in addition to my three main meals a day! At the end of the day, I chugged a 30-35 ounce glass of whole milk with my last sandwich just before bedtime.
During each college meal, you eat until the Thanksgiving feeling that I'm going to burst. We also had this drink. It was like a milk jug because it looked like a big milk carton. It was 980 calories, mostly fat. By December of the first year, I had gained 30 pounds. I gained 1
It's simple physics, you know: the bigger you are, the harder it is to get out of your place. Being taller is good, especially if you are able to make faster larger than slower . Getting up to 325 pounds in the NFL helped me in the running game when I tried to move people. In the passing game it was harder for me to make Bull Rush.
But during my entire NFL career it has always been a struggle to keep the weight off. Most guys feared weighing days, because if they were too heavy, they would be fined. I was afraid to get too light and the coach would chew me. It was stressful because if I got out for two hours without Thanksgiving food, I knew I would lose weight. So I was the guy who always sat at the table and cleaned the plates of everyone else. I always ordered a few starters and starters for me and then a dessert – and then I finished my wife's and everyone else's meals. They found it amusing, but it was also stressful. If I had gone without food for two hours, I would have been able to eat someone else's arm. I was starving. I was probably not a funny person.
My heart was strong, but I had heartburn all the time, because of the amount of sugar and carbohydrates I ate. I was snoring a lot. I probably had sleep apnea. My wife occasionally said I would stop breathing in the middle of the night. Your stomach tenses and you get used to eating so much. But you only eat in the truest sense of the word until you get sick at every meal. And that is not healthy in the long run.
Toward the end, I could not wait until I finished playing and could lose weight. I could feel better and tire again with my friends. I wanted to be the weight I had in high school: 250 pounds.
We had a great nutritionist on the Browns. Her name is Katy. She is great. She encouraged me in my last year in the NFL to try out the MyPlate app and track down everything I ate – to learn the nutrients and not just: Fill up your plate! finish it!