Knowing he would be locked in a battle for the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns during 2017 training camp, Cody Kessler wanted to get stronger.
The former USC play-caller was never known for his powerful arm, so Kessler wanted to add some zip to his throws by gaining strength, adding muscle, and losing body fat.
How did he do it? By eating the same thing every day for three months.
"My biggest focus was losing body-fat weight and being a healthier weight than I was,” Kessler said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Muscle was my main focus. It was tough eating the same thing every day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snacks in between. The same thing over and over and over. As boring as it may sound, it’s something I was committed to and excited to do in this off-season. I really never committed myself to a meal plan that strict. It was tough but it was worth it."
Kessler worked with team dietitian Katy Meassick to put together the diet plan, and he showed up to the first offseason team workouts looking more muscular than his usual 215-lb playing weight. Kessler also said that he spent time in the gym to try and boost his arm strength coming out of last season.
"(It's) a lot of core work, a lot of upper-body work,'' Kessler said. "The biggest thing, mechanics-wise, was being able to get that power from your legs. I was throwing a ton of upper body (last year) and not being able to get my legs into my throw. Just being able to stay back and push off your back plant foot is something that's huge."
Kessler showed off his new arm strength in OTAs:
6️⃣ to 1️⃣9️⃣ pic.twitter.com/8uPV9Kzitd
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 24, 2017
Head coach Hue Jackson was impressed with what Kessler did, making him the top quarterback on the depth chart for OTA workouts.
"Yeah, Cody is stronger and the ball has more zip on it,'' said Jackson to Cleveland.com. "He's worked extremely hard. What he's working at now is maintaining it. That's his challenge, and we'll keep staying after it with him."
Here’s what Kessler ate for three months to get ready for the 2017 season:
Pre-workout (6:30 a.m.)
2 scrambled eggs
Plain oatmeal with water
2 pieces of fruit (banana or apple)
Turkey sandwich made with whole wheat bread, provolone cheese
15 baby carrots
Pretzels with peanut butter
Grilled chicken breast
Spinach, no dressing
Whole wheat pasta, no sauce
Kessler had a solid rookie season in 2016, throwing for 1,380 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing over 65% of his passes in nine games.
The Browns have Kevin Hogan on the roster, traded for Brock Osweiler, and drafted DeShone Kizer in the second round, so there will be plenty of competition for the quarterback position this summer. But, after everything Kessler did during the offseason, he’s put himself in position to take the lead in the QB room.
Want to get leaner and drop body fat this summer? Try these nutritional plans, diet tips, and recipes from Men’s Fitness, and get your body in shape: