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Pablo Torre Finds Out ... why retired NFL linemen slim down after football

Pablo is joined by Mike Golic Jr. to discuss the phenomenon of retired NFL players getting really fit post-playing career.

On the latest Pablo Torre Finds Out, Pablo speaks to GoJo and Golic’s Mike Golic Jr. about something he, his dad and other NFL retirees have experienced — going from large, large men to ... well ... still large men, but not nearly as large as they once were.

Pablo says this is one of the topics he had near the top of his list when he was initially conceiving Pablo Torre Finds Out and he knew he had to have GoJo on to discuss it.

As GoJo and Pablo discuss, GoJo comes from a large family — both his uncles, in addition of his dad, played in the NFL. His dad had a nine-year career as a defensive lineman while his uncle Bob had a 14-year career as a nose tackle, which GoJo points out is the final rung on the totem pole of large in the NFL. As Pablo says, GoJo isn’t new to this, he is genetically true to this.

Pablo notes that GoJo topped out at about 315 pounds, but GoJo says now he is down to somewhere between 255 and 260 when he’s feeling his best. Pablo points out that the current average weight for an offensive lineman in the NFL is 315 pounds, although as Elias and ESPN have pointed out, it wasn’t always this way. In the 1970s, the average weight of starting offensive linemen was 254 pounds. So Pablo says that GoJo has lived the reverse evolution of the offensive lineman.

“I am a one-man walking evolution poster of girth throughout the ages,” GoJo says.

But it’s not always about genetics. GoJo, as he notes, has always been classified as having “a good frame.” Genetics play a role, as GoJo says you walk out of the hospital with enough to get invited to the party, but how long you stay will depend what you’re willing to build on top of that. It becomes a matter of, GoJo says, “You’re pretty big, but what are you going to do to get to that next level?” Just don’t for a second forget that these are still superior athletes.

That being said, sometimes it takes some creativity to bulk up, as Hall of Famer Joe Thomas told GoJo.

So we know offensive linemen work to get so big, but how do they go from being that big to being so fit in retirement? Why can, as Pablo puts it, the reinvented tribe of retired fat guys lose weight so effectively? GoJo says he’s always thought of it as a hammer and a chisel — you do a little bit of work every day over time and you can make something great. It requires discipline and comfort with monotony — all the things that make you great as an offensive lineman.

Thomas said linemen usually go one way or the other — if they were huge and actually had to lose weight to play, genetics comes back around. On the other end of the spectrum, Thomas says a lot of guys do end up losing a lot of weight. That’s because he says lineman are used to being in the weight room, used to watching what they eat. He says it was already part of their routine, part of what they liked to do, even if they were perhaps different types of workouts.

So, Pablo notes that the mentality of the offensive linemen who made themselves the way they were, disciplined in their eating and scheduling to bulk up, then works in the OPPOSITE direction in retirement to get leaner. GoJo says not only does it take the same discipline, but also some of the same tools.

One of the best at it has been Nick Hardwick, who quickly lost 85 pounds upon retirement and has now dedicated his life to it. Hardwick told GoJo that weight loss is a math equation with a lifestyle problem. He says it’s our job to figure out what we can do with our lifestyle and what you are willing and able to do to fit that into the math equation. GoJo notes that when he began losing weight he ate at the same times of day and noted what the number of calories was when he was training for his pro day and cut that number in half. So it was a matter of taking the same process as you did before and still working out, as these guys are still used to working in the weight room in a way the general population has never been asked to do. GoJo says these guys that are wired like that just take that system that is already built into them and assign different number values to it.

GoJo also points out that the abs you see in these videos of Joe Thomas or Nick Hardwick have been there underneath all along. You don’t get to the point where you’re squatting 500-600 pounds and benching 400-500 pounds without having some muscle. They just had a little bit of cushion on top, he says, to go out there and take the pounding of the NFL. GoJo says he’s always thought that if you cut open the yoke of an offensive lineman it’s like the rings of a tree — you see all the years where they put on the most weight and can go back and diagram their entire existence.

Check out more of the conversation below and for more content like this, make sure to check out new episodes of Pablo Torre Finds Out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 3 p.m. ET on the Roku Channel, Xumo Play, Samsung TV Plus, Google TV and right here on!


The Heavy Secrets of NFL Weight Loss

  • They were raised to chug whipping cream and turn every meal into an all-you-can-eat buffet. But somehow, America’s most popular New Year’s resolution is most embodied by the extreme transformation of none other than offensive linemen. In retirement, these pioneers of gluttony have reverse-engineered themselves physically but also evolved mentally. And as former 315-pounder Mike Golic Jr. peels away the layers beyond the six-pack, with reflections from former colleagues Joe Thomas and Nick Hardwick, he reveals that sustainable personal change goes way beyond the weight.


Check out the Pablo Torre Finds Out YouTube page for more and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow the show on X at @pablofindsout and Pablo at @pablotorre.

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