A Shot at the Gold

Olympic-bound shot putter Reese Hoffa reveals the secrets to being a big guy

He tips the scales at 315 pounds and can hurl a 16-pound metal ball over 70 feet. So how does this mountain of a man maintain his power and strength? We asked Hoffa that very question. Check out what America's top shot putter has to say about nutrition, weight training, and staying injury free.

What's your typical day like?
I usually start with breakfast that includes things like oatmeal and maybe a ham sandwich for protein. I leave the house around 9:30 a.m. and get to the track and do a warm-up in the training room. I generally start stretching on the track by 10 a.m. Then a light jog of maybe 100 meters. Practice starts at 11 a.m. and I throw till about 12:30 p.m. before going inside to the weight room to do whatever lifting workout for the day until about 3 p.m. Then I go home and have a big sandwich or protein shake. That's it.

So lunch is usually your big meal?
Yeah, lunch is definitely my big meal of the day. I have a semi large breakfast because I have to go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. but my biggest meal is when I get home. I try to put as much food in my face as possible.

Does your dinner consist of a lot of smaller snacks?
It's generally a lot of lettuce, some kind of carb, and a meat product.

What types of weight workouts do you do?
On a Monday it's all upper-body shoulder stuff. I do military, lat pulls, lat pulldowns, some twisting exercises just for core, and then a little running. I'm trying to keep it as light as possible because I don't want to do anything too crazy the day before I throw. My problem is that my upper body is so strong that if my back isn't strong enough to handle the tension of my upper body pulling everything forward then it pulls on my shoulders giving me shoulder problems. Working on the back actually keeps me injury free. For lower body we do a lot of plyometric stuff — 100-meter sprints, stair sprints, squats. We try to keep everything pretty balanced.

Has your weight stayed mainly at 285 over the past few years?
I haven't weighed 285 since college. I weigh around 315 now. It's really hard to get people to change my bio. One time they had me at 250 and I haven't weighed that since high school. I'm glad you asked because I'm trying to let people know I am indeed over 300 pounds. The way it works for me is the more my strength goes up and the more muscle I'm putting on my body, my weight goes up in relation. If I get too heavy too fast I can feel it when I'm throwing. So I know I have to lose weight and get it down to optimal training. What happens is I get too heavy and it puts more stress on my joints and more stress on my back and I get these aches and pains more than I normally would through repetition of training. Right now, I need to stay around 313-315. If I get much bigger than that and I get too slow and I start feeling it in my back and my knees.

Are you heavier now then in Athens?
In Athens, I was about 290 or 295.

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