At the time he was coming off a shoulder injury which required surgery. He knew the clock was ticking because he was in his junior year of high school and he wanted the opportunity to play in college. He was already trying to eat healthy to maximize recovery and striving to put on any muscle he could within the restrictions set forth. After coming to my presentation he was not clear if he was consuming the right nutrients, at the right times in the right quantities. He was also curious where his lean weight was. Lean weight is everything but fat weight. Unless you grow, an increase in lean weight is mainly muscle.
AT THE OFFICE Metabolism First we measured how many calories he needed to build muscle by administering a test called indirect calorimetry or also known as resting metabolic rate. Through the testing and a detailed nutrition recall we found out he was under eating by 800 calories a day. It is difficult to put on muscle if you are chronically under eating.
Body composition Next we did a body composition test via Bod Pod™ to see how much lean weight to body fat he had. With football there are charts per position to guide you on how much lean weight and body fat you should have at the collegiate level. The body fat percentage number definitely can be less than the average goal but not higher.
Playing Position When he came in his goal was to play offensive line, defensive line or defensive end. His height was 6’2 and was weighing 244lb. He informed me he wanted to weigh at least 270lb by start of football season. He had only one year to get to this goal. He ended up being 30% body fat with 169lb of lean weight and 75lb of body fat. For college they average anywhere from 215-222lb of lean weight for those spots. The average male in puberty can put on ½ -1lb of muscle a week if doing the nutrition and training at the same time. THIS IS HARD WORK! The max I calculated was 179-189lb of lean weight. However he was limited on how much he could lift due to the injury.
A CHANGE IN DIRECTION After reviewing the scientific data, it was clear that he needed to consider switching positions. The numbers didn’t add up in the lean weight category. He fit a Linebacker or Tight End position perfectly. They required a range of 199-208lb of lean weight which would fit his 6’2 frame nicely. Secondly if we contained his weight at 240lb he would get closer to the 14-20% body fat averages and his speed and power would be enhanced greatly! Lastly if he reached at least 179-188lb of lean weight by the beginning of senior year, he then could work on the next 20lb of muscle in the post season leading into his first year of college. This would complete the lean weight requirements. He quickly saw a change in goals would give him a better chance to reach one of his dreams. He never looked back!
A DETAILED REVIEW OF HIS FOOD INTAKE Upon a detailed food assessment we found some holes. He was consuming way too much protein, not enough healthy fats and complex carbohydrates and his timing was off. These were all important scientific factors that impacted the goals at hand.
THE END RESULT By July 19, 2019 he weighed 241lb, with 183lb of lean weight! He did it! I was so proud of him. Throughout the season he was a dominate force on the team. He stood out. It was not hard to find him on the football field, even from a distance. He was quick, powerful and opponents had to develop a game plan to stop him. Then the offers started to role in for tight end and linebacker positions at the Division I level. He is still deciding what his next steps are.
Side Note He has already come back in, got reassessed and working on the next 20lb of lean weight. Currently he is up to 189lb of lean! (Remember 199-208lb is his overall goal….For now!)
My Personal Closing I love my job! I love seeing athletes achieve their dreams. Even if they fall short of them, they never failed. They put on lean weight, lose body fat, maximize growth and develop lifelong nutritional habits that will carry them for a life time. Not one athlete has ever said to me this was a waste of time or that they were disappointed in being leaner! Secretively that is my goal for them. If they maximize performance then they maximize their health 100%!
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Hinton, P, Sanford, T, Davidson, MM, Yakushko,O, and Beck, N. Nutrient intake and dietary behaviors of male and female collegiate athletes. Inter J of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 14: 389 – 390. (2004).
Andrews A, Wojcik JR, Boyd JM, Bowers CJ. Sports Nutrition Knowledge among Mid-Major Division I University Student-Athletes. J Nutr Metab. 2016.
Thank you Dawn for your help and all the St. X boys. It got them through the season and to a state championship win!! Thanks to you and the good eating/fueling habits they have acquired from all your help!
Author Dawn Weatherwax RD,CSSD,LD,ATC, CSCS, MET I
Dawn Weatherwax is a Registered/Licensed Dietitian with a specialty in Sports Nutrition and Founder of Sports Nutrition 2Go. She is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, which is the premier professional sports nutrition credential in the United States. In addition, she is an Athletic Trainer with a Certification in Strength and Conditioning from The National Strength and Conditioning Association. Therefore, she brings a comprehensive and unique understanding of the athlete's body, and its nutritional needs, to those interested in achieving specific performance goals and optimal health. Weatherwax is also the author of The Official Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sports Nutrition and The Sports Nutrition Guide for Young Athletes. She is an Official Speaker for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and She has also been featured on television and magazines including: Good Morning America, MSNBC, Oxygen, Spark and Shape.