J.J. Watt’s Outrageous 9,000-Calorie Diet Might Make You Gag

Along with his brothers Derek and T.J., J.J. Watt, has overcome injury after injury to maintain his spot as the best defensive player in the NFL. Over his 10 years in the NFL so far, Watt has made headlines as not only a ferocious player but a strong presence on the offensive side.

His 6-foot-5, 290-pound frame is massive on either side of the ball. And a 4.84 40-yard dash is nothing to sneeze at for such a huge player. You won’t believe the diet he must consume to maintain his athleticism.

How J.J. Watt stays so big

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Even though Watt grew into his frame through a successful high school and college career, it takes plenty of work to maintain it. The USDA recommends a diet of around 2000 calories per day for most adults, allowing up to 3000 for those in very active lifestyles.

Bodybuilders and other athletes who exercise frequently may go even higher. Michael Phelps made headlines a few years back for his staggering 12,000-calorie-a-day diet, but very few other athletes even approach that number. As someone who uses their considerable bulk every play on the field, Watt is making a run at Phelps’s diet.

Business Insider recently detailed Watt’s diet, totaling it up to the staggering 9,000 calories a day (over six meals, of course). Watt reports that he doesn’t really count calories and just eats by feel. This is an impossible number of calories for most normal humans. But when you factor in things like calorie-dense protein shakes and other liquids, it almost seems attainable. 

But Watt’s diet doesn’t have any of that. It consists of fruits, vegetables, chicken breasts, lamb chops, and pasta. With the exception of pasta, Watt’s chosen foods are low-carb, and most are even low-calorie. When he’s not working on the field or in the weight room, Watt is figuring out how to consume all of this food.

Watt gets it done on the field

NFL player J.J. Watt
NFL player J.J. Watt | Ellie Gill/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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It pays off on the field, though. Even if Watt isn’t built to fight in the UFC, he’s still a terrifying gridiron presence. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award three times in his first five seasons, despite an unpleasant reception on draft day. Watt has revitalized the popularity of NFL defense alongside his brothers, paving the way for Nick and Joey Bosa.

When Watt isn’t making headlines for his diet or injury concerns, he’s commenting on the face shield issue plaguing the 2020 season. Watt’s experience with wearing a visor during games has led him to oppose any required face covering. If the NFL does go forward with requiring this protective equipment during the regular season, it might have to go forward without one of the all-time defensive greats.

The future of the NFL

The frequent travel of NFL teams means a bubble similar to the NBA’s is out of the question. Even if games aren’t played in London and Mexico like past seasons, it’s simply not feasible to keep players isolated. If the NFL season does go forward, it’s likely that some physical barriers will be installed on player helmets.

Whether Watt likes it or not, the NFL has a history of falling short when it comes to player health. It’s likely that they won’t want to make those that do take the field an easy target. He’ll likely continue training (and eating) no matter what.