Health & Fit: The Real-Life Diet of Christian McCaffrey, Whose Arms Just Went Viral - PressFrom - US
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Health & FitThe Real-Life Diet of Christian McCaffrey, Whose Arms Just Went Viral

21:40  16 may  2019
21:40  16 may  2019 Source:   gq.com

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The Real-Life Diet of Christian McCaffrey, Whose Arms Just Went Viral© Cody Hughes

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has mammoth arms, big enough that they have an existence of their own. Like, it's only a matter of time before one of McCaffrey’s biceps reaches out and catches a football. The 22-year-old 2017 first-round draft pick set a record last year for receptions by a running back (107), and this offseason, he’s clearly decided to further build out his physique, as is best exemplified in a recent viral photo (shown above) where his arms look like they’re CGI’d onto the rest of his body.

As Cam Newton’s backfield colleague, McCaffrey has a host of responsibilities that require him to go well beyond focusing on his already-stellar physique. For the sake of optimal performance, the Colorado native has perfected everything from his sleep strategy to what he eats. In fact, after McCaffrey was drafted, he discovered a bunch of food intolerances that needed to be cut out of his diet. On the heels of his new partnership with Ascent Protein, McCaffrey spoke to GQ about his finely-tuned diet, which also occasionally features Cool Ranch Doritos and Oreos.

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GQ: When does your day start?

Christian McCaffrey: I wake up around 8 a.m., which isn’t too bad at all. I usually try to get to bed at 10 or 10:30. For a while I tried to see how my recovery was with just eight hours of sleep. And sometimes, that can be fine. But I like getting nine or more hours. I feel like I can wake up on my own if I’ve gotten nine hours. When I do, I feel great and I’m ready to go.

You recently discovered you have some food intolerances, right?

Yeah, I worked with a chef when I first got into the league. We did all my blood work and found out exactly what I’m sensitive to, what I’m deficient in, what my body needs. I had to cut out a lot of things—chicken, tuna, wheat, and soy. It was kind of like a mini cleanse for a while there. Now, everything that I eat is pertinent to what I need for my best performance.

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So what’s for breakfast?

Two hours before I start training, I like to eat a good breakfast. So, on a Monday, which is a straight linear explosive training day, I’ll have just egg yolks—I can’t have egg whites—and then I’ll have something like a sweet potato hash with some oats and perhaps some fruit.

My chef makes that for me. He’s based in Colorado. He’ll do two meal drop-offs a week—one comes on Sunday afternoon for Monday and Tuesday, and it’s labeled with when I should eat certain meals and what’s in them. It takes the thinking out of things. And then 30 minutes before I play or workout, I take my supplements.

When is the next time you eat during the day?

After my first workout of the day, I’ll drink lots of water, have another scoop of pre-workout, and some aminos. Then, I’ll typically do some lifting. Can be anything from Olympic lifts to plyometrics, single-leg stuff.

And then lunch?

I eat immediately after the workout. Lunch could be something like a bison chili with potatoes mixed in. Maybe it has peppers and vegetables in some sort of a stew. I like soups because they’re so easy to eat. After lunch, I head to a recovery center near where I live. If I need any sort of soft tissue help, or if I’m feeling something on my ankle or hamstring, I’ll get that taken care of done when I’m there. And then I take a nap.

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What time is dinner?

I’ll get up from the nap, and I try to eat at 7. That gives me some time to digest my food and relax. I'll eat something like a steak with sweet potatoes or avocado, and I always drink lots of water. I go through at least a gallon-and-a-half of it a day. I'd say a lot of that is in the morning, too. I’ll drink half of a gallon before I do anything else.

I miss the days when I could just do whatever I wanted. I could just start running, and I didn’t have to think about warming up or making sure I’m drinking enough water beforehand. I would hurt myself if I tried to do that now.

Do you build in any off days?

Wednesdays are typically more of a recovery day, or complete treatment day. So it will incorporate things like a huge stretch, pool workout, time in the sauna, a contrast bath, cryotherapy, and a massage. Because it’s a lighter workout day, I’ll intake less calories. It’s all structured on what my weight is at, and what I want to weigh. If I’m a little bit lighter, then my macros will increase.

Do you ever get annoyed with eating the same thing all the time?

Nah, I love how it makes my diet so simple. Otherwise, I’d get way too in my head about all of it, thinking I have to do this and that. The less I think about meals and everything else, the more I can focus on my sport, and the better I play.

Do you eat anything that doesn’t come from your chef?

Yeah... I’ll do a cheat meal every now and again, usually on Saturday night. I’m not a huge sweets guy, luckily. But I do love sushi, and then Cool Ranch Doritos are definitely my guilty pleasure. Those and Oreos. I can’t keep either at home. If I have one Dorito, I’ll eat the entire king-size bag. Zero self control.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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