The Diet Behind Colts LT Anthony Castonzo's Body Issue

He's not your typical big-bellied offensive lineman, and there's a lot of discipline that goes into that.

INDIANAPOLIS --- He's the offensive lineman without a Buddha belly, starting each season around 311 pounds on his 6'7" frame but less than 15% body fat. Even in the NFL, this is a rarity for the big fellas in the trenches, but Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo attributes years of discipline to his peak physical condition (that many fans have noticed in the days since his appearance in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue).

"I kind of went through stages. In middle school, especially, I was a little bit chubby," Castonzo told Colts.com. "I got really tall and really skinny in high school. I was probably the same height I am now, about 200 pounds rather than over 300 pounds."

Now, he looks more like a professional wrestler than offensive lineman, who usually have 20-25% body fat but not Castonzo.

What's his secret? Castonzo says he tries to make sure everything he's eating comes from a whole food, as part of his 4,000-5,000 calories per day diet. The average person eats 2,000 calories per day, but Castonzo says it's not really the calories he's counting but where the calories are coming from in his meals.

"In the morning, I'll do eggs but mostly whites from a couple eggs. I make sure I'm getting my fats from good places, from oils, from things like avocado," said Castonzo. "I just kind of make sure where the calories are coming from are from good places, because I have to eat a ton of calories to keep weight on, because I'm naturally a thinner guy."

His favorite foods? "Go to" vegetables, including grilled or baked brussel sprouts (which he has admittedly learned to love), asparagus, and green smoothies to help keep eating vegetables from getting boring.

There's also a support system in place at the Colts complex during the offseason program, training camp, and during the season for players to utilize, when they often eat breakfast and lunch together.

"We've got green, yellow, and red horseshoes that lets us know you can have as much as you want of this, be a little bit cautious on this, and stay away from this stuff," said Castonzo. Staff members eat lunch in the same room before the players. Thus, some of the red horseshoe foods from time to time, for those with diets less strict than professional athletes.

"It's funny. Everybody kind of looks at me and notices I eat the same thing almost everyday. I'll have one plate with fruits, cottage cheese, and a big salad. The other plate will be vegetables, pasta, and my protein for the day."

The diet is a specific system for the player who played more snaps at tackle in 2014 than any other in the NFL. Castonzo also notes working out is "part of the job", but the diet is crucial to repairing the muscles he uses in the weight room.

"I budget (the calories) where I'm getting a lot of carbs in the morning and carbs right after I work out. As the night progresses, I'll start to take in a little more fats to kind of get ready for the next day," Castonzo explained. "I kind of think about where these calories are going to be stored and when they are going to be available for use."

Ultimately, taking care of his body in preparation for the grueling NFL season comes down to one word.

"Discipline," he said. "If you eat the right foods, you feel good, and if you work out, you feel good."

Remember that on your next trip to the supermarket or gym.

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