How NFL Legend Joe Thomas Dropped 50 Pounds After Retirement

How NFL Legend Joe Thomas Dropped 50 Pounds After Retirement

Former Cleveland Brown’s offensive tackle Joe Thomas retired last season after a Hall of Fame-worthy 11-year career. He made the Pro Bowl 10 times and played over 10,000 consecutive snaps. Though the NFL doesn’t keep lineman sack statistics, Thomas reportedly gave up only 30 sacks in some 6,600 pass rushes. He’s perhaps the greatest offensive lineman of all time.

But Thomas wasn’t always fit for the line. In fact, his journey to his 325-pound playing weight may be more surprising than his off-season weight-loss transformation since.

Thomas tells Men’s Health how he put the weight on and how he took it off.

When I stepped onto Campus at Wisconsin in July of my freshman year, I was 250. They were trying to move me to offensive line. And 250 pounds wasn’t going to cut it.

Just to get to 250 in high school, I would take a loaf of bread and make the whole thing into peanut butter jelly sandwiches. I’d eat a sandwich every 30 minutes on top of my three main meals a day! At the end of the day, I’d chug a 30-35-ounce glass of whole milk right before bed with my last sandwich.

In college during every meal, you eat until that Thanksgiving-I’m-going-to-burst feeling. We also had this drink. It was like a creamer because it looked like a big milk carton. It was 980 calories of mostly fat. By December of freshman year, I had gained 30 pounds. I gained 10 pounds every year until I was 310.

It’s simple physics, you know: the bigger you are, the harder you are to move off your spot. Being bigger is good, especially if you’re able to get bigger at a faster rate than you get slower. Getting up to 325 pounds in the NFL helped me in the run game when trying to move people. In the pass game, I was harder to bull rush.

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PFF

@PFF
In Joe Thomas’ career he produced eight seasons worth of games where he didn’t allow a sack!

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But throughout my NFL career, it was always a struggle to keep the weight. Most guys feared weigh-in days, because if they were too heavy, they’d get fined. For me, I feared weighing in too light and that the coach would chew me up. It was stressful because if I went two hours without eating a Thanksgiving meal, I knew I was losing weight. So I was the guy that was always sitting at the table cleaning everybody else’s plates. I would always order a few appetizers and a couple entrees for myself and then dessert—and then I would finish my wife’s and everybody else’s meals. They found it amusing, but it was also stressful. If I went two hours without food, I could have eaten somebody’s arm. I was starving. I was probably not a fun person to be around.

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