Living Large

Joeckel SEPT14

by Joash Brunet//photo by Agnes Lopez

While bigger may be better on the frontlines of the NFL, it’s speed that kills. Jaguars left tackle Luke Joeckel is the prototype of a new breed of
the NFL big man; one who is not only strong, but also remarkably athletic. We asked 22-year-old Joeckel about his healthy approach towards living large.

What's the emphasis now from the Jaguars coaching and staff in terms of diet and regimen?
Weight is still important because you need mass behind you, but you still have to be able to move. That's what we emphasize—explosiveness and change of direction speed.

How does a guy as big as you get so agile and fast?
If you watch offensive linemen during the field workouts, you can see we are doing skill drills. We're doing a lot of bending and movements that increase our burst. It's a range of exercises that go beyond Olympic-style powerlifting.

How have the Jaguars helped you with diet and nutrition?

We have an on-campus nutritionist who is great. We also have someone who helps us with supplements. By combin- ing their expertise with the strength and conditioning staff's regimen, it really helps us out.

How many calories do you consume daily during the season?
Around 4,000 calories. That's probably double what the normal human consumes daily. I'm probably not a natural 300+ guy. So I have to work to keep on the weight, while making sure it's “good weight.”

What is a typical breakfast, lunch and dinner during the season? I usually start breakfast off with an egg white omelet. Then I'll have some kind of carb, either oatmeal or potatoes. Then some fruit with some bacon. Before practice I'll have a protein bar or shake. After practice, it’s probably my biggest meal of the day, to replenish all the calories I've burned. I usually have a protein shake with whatever I'm eating. Dinner is lighter—I just have to make sure I get a big share of protein. Then I have a snack later at night.

What kind of competitive edge does good diet and nutrition give you?
At this level, all the guys are big, fast, and strong. Any competitive edge you can get is important. You see the guys who have been great players in this league for a long time, and you see that they are on point with their diet.

Are there any foods you have to avoid during the season?
Fried food is the biggest thing. I've had to cut that down the most from college to the NFL. That's been kind of my kryptonite, like good fried chicken. Fried food creates inflammation in your body that doesn't help you recover from practice and games. We are pretty strict with our diets, but we are also big guys who like to eat. I'll splurge with cheese fries every now and then.

Favorite restaurants?
I live in Jax Beach. Sometimes I'll order a medium pizza from Mellow Mushroom and kill the whole thing myself. I love Safe Harbor (Seafood Market & Restaurant) in Mayport. That's been my go-to place along with Palm Valley Fish Camp. Growing up in Texas, the seafood there doesn't even compare to here.