Clemson defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins lost more than 15 pounds from the time the Gator Bowl was over to the start of spring practice, and now he is in the best shape of his life.
"I had to dedicate myself to wanting it," Jenkins said.
Linebacker Brandon Maye gained 11 pounds over the winter and is in the best shape of his life.
"It's all about discipline and eating the right foods," Maye said.
Jenkins, who stands at 6-foot-4, is currently at 298 pounds and for the first time since he was 14 years old is less than 300 pounds. However, he lost none of his strength and may actually be stronger than he was before. Maye, whose size has constantly been scrutinized because of his small body frame for an inside linebacker, put on the weight and bulked up in size and muscle.
Maye now stands 6-foot-2, 231 pounds. He was 220 pounds before the Gator Bowl.
"The same number of meals you eat to gain weight is the same number of meals you need to lose weight," Clemson strength and conditioning coach Joey Batson said. "You have to eat six times a day to lose weight and you have to eat six times a day to gain weight. The key is not the quantity of the food, but the way in which you work the food."
And those are the plans Jenkins and Maye, along with about 16 other Tigers, did this winter in order to bulk up or lose weight, while not losing any muscles mass along the way.
"It is not their exercise as much as what they are putting in their bodies," Batson said.
Batson along performance coordinator Dr. Loreto Jackson worked this plan into the football team's normal workouts as a healthy way of enhancing their performances on the football field.
In Jenkins' and Maye's case it appeared it did. Both had better overall springs than they did last year and both will go into the summer as healthy as they ever have been.
"In six meals a day you need a protein, one carbohydrate and a vegetable," Batson said. "There are ways you can combine it and do all of that. To gain weight you add more carbohydrates and probably up their protein a little bit, but probably more quantity is the biggest difference.
"To lose weight, they eat six times a day that are smaller amounts of food with protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. When they are gaining the weight, it is six meals a day and almost doubling their portions in a sense to make it easy for us all.
"Both groups have to be consistent over time. The only way you can do it on both sides, is you have to log the food. You have to write it down every day. It takes tremendous discipline."
Batson and head football coach Dabo Swinney brought Dr. Jackson in to help with that discipline. Dr. Jackson is an exercise physiologist with a specialty in sports nutrition. In her 20 years in the health/wellness/fitness industry, she has helped athletes stay in shape from the professional to the recreational levels.
"With her background, and talking with Coach Swinney, I felt like she was a person that could tell them what they need to do and stay on top of them," Batson said. "You just don't tell them one time and it gets done. Somebody has to stay on them all the time and she was down here every day when the groups came in and was doing the food logs and making them log food and some were more serious than others.
"But she did a good job of staying on top of that and that was the key with the other extra workouts they were doing so it was important. It just doesn't happen. It's not like you tell them one time, ‘okay, you have to lose 15 pounds.' If it was that easy to lose it, they could lose it on their own. They had to be stimulated in several different ways and I thought they did a good job with it. They all did the things they need to do."
Now Batson hopes the players will stay with it this summer and make Dr. Jackson's job a little bit easier than it was in the winter.
"It is a fine balance and we work real closely with her and I'm sure there were days when she got frustrated with them," Batson said. "She had to weigh them in twice a week and they would try all kinds of tricks to lose weight, but winter is probably the toughest time.
"In the summer, it is hotter and we're able to do a little bit better with it."
Tigers plan to stay disciplined
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