When it’s on your plate, which it should be at every meal, protein needs to be the right kind. “My emphasis is lean,” Bonci says. “I don’t want my players saying, ‘I got all of my protein because I ate wings.'” Lean chicken, lean beef, soy, and beans are some of the healthiest protein sources.
During the season, former Tennessee Titan defensive tackle Torrie Griffin was burning so many calories on the field that he had to consume upwards of 8,000 calories each day just to maintain his 290-pound playing weight. “That is, I would say, a standard portion for some of the guys,” he says. “I was one of those who had to work to keep the weight on.”
Griffin, who is now a certified personal trainer and owner of TTrain Fitness Bootcamp in Atlanta, doesn’t recommend the kind of diet he and his teammates ate to stay big. For breakfast, they’d down supersized restaurant portions of waffles, eggs, bacon, grits, and toast. At dinner, they’d pack in two burgers, mac and cheese, and fries. “In general for the linemen, it was three very large meals,” Griffin recalls. “I didn’t really think about how much of the bad stuff or fat and calories were in the food when we ate out.”