Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas made a name for himself by catching a game-winning 80-yard touchdown in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers to advance to the second round of the NFL Playoffs last season. But before his breakout moment, Thomas's health often got in the way of his big-play ability.
Despite a promising start to his rookie season in 2010, Thomas was eventually sidelined with an ankle injury. He tore his Achilles early in 2011 and broke his pinky finger while recovering from that injury. Determined to put an end to his time on the IR, Thomas changed up his routine in the kitchen, as well as in the weight room.
"I kept getting hurt, and the nutritionist told me that [poor nutrition] was probably the reason," says Thomas. "So this year, I took advantage of it, got a nutritionist and I came out injury-free."
This past off-season, Thomas worked with the experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, where he learned how staying hydrated and fueling right can help him stay on the field.
"After a game, I always felt heavy and still sore," says Thomas. "But now my legs feel lighter and I'm not as sore after a game. I feel like it's changed me a lot."
So what's fueling Thomas's performance now? "Before a game, I try and get some bread and pasta to get some carbohydrates in," he says. "Something like spaghetti and meat sauce. Then right before … I might get an energy bar or something like that."
Thomas's approach to nutrition doesn't stop after the coin flip. "During a game, I drink a lot of fluids," he says. "At halftime, I always go in and grab a Gatorade, just to get some energy."
If on-field results are not sufficient proof of the importance of proper nutrition, Thomas reports that he's shed some body fat, weighing in now at 225 pounds. "I want to be more explosive, to go out every game and try and do what I did at the end of last season," he says. Even the simplest changes to an eating regimen can dramatically improve performance. Be ready when the next big opportunity presents itself by taking advantage of proper fueling.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock