NFL Powerhouse J.J. Watt: His Diet Plan and Regimen

JJ Watt

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Sure, we all know the Houston Texans defensive end power-house J.J. Watt is a beast. But what exactly does it take to fuel someone with that much power? Try 6,000 to 9,000 calories a day. The key to sustaining 288 pounds of muscle is knowing that getting the right amount of fuel can sometimes be more important than trying to be meticulous with what you eat.

Watt expressed his error in his previous eating habits with ESPN. It wasn’t that Watt wasn’t eating, but rather he was focusing too much on what to eat and what not to eat. But as a powerhouse, Watt soon realized that every meal counts. More importantly, Watt notes that when it comes to maintaining his physique, fats, proteins, and carbs all prove to be equally important.

“My body was grabbing for something that wasn’t there,” Watt told ESPN. “It was trying to fuel itself with no fuel.”

Now, with the help of his trainer, Watt makes sure his daily eating habits include foods full of nutrients. And, he even finds it helpful to have a cheat day every now and then. So what exactly does one eat to reach a whopping 6,000 to 9,000 calories a day? It could consist of about 20 double cheeseburgers. But for Watt, it is all about balance, and getting quality carbs, fats, and proteins.

Now Watt looks at eating as fueling — it is a part of his job, just as much as practice.

Watt’s preparation for football includes two things, “It’s literally, if I’m not working out, I eat the whole time I’m not working out,” Watt told ESPN. “It’s exhausting. You have to force-feed. You have to force yourself to eat food.”

OK, so we can’t all be the JJ Watt’s of the world, but everyone needs to fuel their bodies properly pre- and post-workouts. So what’s the key to healthy eating? Knowing your body and maintaining balance. Here are some suggestions to help keep you fueled and at the top of your game, no matter what your goals are in the gym. Everyone has the ability to eat healthy and benefit from the food they eat, even if they can’t box jump over 5 feet.

Check out some great tips for getting healthy carbs, fats, and proteins to fuel your body, and remember even J.J. Watt takes a cheat day every once in a while.

Healthy Fats

avocado oil, avocado

Source: iStock

People sometimes run away from fat. But healthy fats are important for building muscle and being healthy. Healthy fats can be found in avocado, fish, oils, and nuts. According to Harvard Health Publications, “Your body needs some fat from food. It’s a major source of energy. It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals.”


Depending on your size and how much you exercise, protein intake can vary. According to Men’s Fitness, a good rule for an average male is to eat 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. Of course, this varies depending on how much you hit the gym, but a great idea is to bring a bar or protein shake for workouts. If you aren’t about protein supplements, natural protein packed foods include eggs, greek yogurt, chicken breast, and cottage cheese. But according to there are tons of ways to sneak in protein, from all different food sources.


Carbs are all about energy, so if you are in the gym working out hard, they are essential to any fitness diet. “Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy it needs and are a good source of many vitamins and minerals. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal,” Donna Logan, RD, told Everyday Health. A lot of healthier carbs can be found in fruits and vegetables including bananas and peas, according to Health.

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