Former Ravens guard Marshal Yanda won’t be making a comeback — unless it’s as a tight end.
Yanda’s the latest former football player to dramatically reshape his body upon retirement, going from 312 pounds to 245 since the end of last season.
“There are two words: It’s the ‘want to,’” Yanda said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “If you want to do it, you’ll do it. It’s how bad you want to. People want to talk about it, but at the end of the day, do you really want to? That’s important.”
It’s actually a little more complicated than that, but his determination was a central part of dropping over 60 pounds in his first three months of retirement.
There was a lot of riding his wife’s Peloton bike, and a drastically different diet. The incredible amount of calories football players have to take in to stay so large is one of the things the public may not realize about the guys they watch on Sundays. But because Yanda anticipated dealing with arthritis in the future (he had 13 surgeries during his career), he wanted to reduce the burden on his body.
So he created a plan to go from 6,000 calories a day to 2,200, dramatically reducing the amount of food — and not eating anything after 7 p.m. There are cheat days, where he’ll go to town on cheeseburgers or barbecue, but he feels it differently.
“Now, the problem is, I eat too much and I’m so damn uncomfortable,” he said. “My stomach is all in knots.”
Coupled with 45 minutes a day of intense bike workouts and some time in a sauna, he’s now enjoying the kinds of walks with his wife and kids which were painful for him during his playing days. He said former teammate Matt Birk (who dropped 75 immediate pounds upon retirement) was an inspiration.
“When you retire, all of a sudden you have nothing to do and you have this competitiveness,” Birk said. “You like to have goals and focus on things. It’s like, well, football took up so much of that before and I don’t have that anymore. I might as well put some of that energy into dropping a few pounds.”
Yanda approached that the same way he did on the field, and the results have been as impressive as during his eight-Pro Bowl career.