The offensive line in football consists of the five players who protect the quarterback and open holes for running backs. These positions include the center, the left guard, the left tackle, the right guard and the right tackle. On average, offensive linemen are the biggest players on the football field, and require a large amount of food to meet their daily nutritional needs.
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By the Numbers
According to team rosters available on the NFL's official website, the average weight of an offensive lineman was 314-1/2 lbs. in 2010. College players are slightly smaller, averaging 297.5 lbs. per lineman. The average professional lineman is 28 years old and stands just over 6-feet-4. Because of his extremely active lifestyle, this player must consume 5,275 calories every day just to maintain his weight, which is more than double the daily caloric needs of the average adult man.
What to Eat
There's a common misconception that offensive linemen eat whatever and whenever they want. That's not true. Just like any other athlete, a lineman needs to eat energy-providing, healthful foods as the foundation for his diet, not an endless number of hamburgers and french fries. Football players, regardless of their position or size, aim to be quick and agile. The key to maintaining these physical skills is to add lean muscle mass to their frames. Lean proteins such as poultry and fish, healthful fats such as skim milk and cheese and a diet rich in fruits and veggies of all kinds help to build lean muscle mass while adding minimal body fat. Avoid fatty foods, especially red meats and trans fats, which provide minimal nutrition and maximum fat.
When To Eat
In order to properly store and use the calories they consume, offensive linemen need to eat small meals frequently. Former University of South Florida center Jake Griffin told the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune" in a 2008 article that he benefited from eating six to seven small meals a day. He said he found that eating larger meals less often caused his body to store fat, rather than burn it.
Trying to consume enough calories every day, while focusing on consuming nutrient-rich foods, is difficult for most offensive lineman. That's why so many linemen must supplement their diets. Supplementing not only requires taking daily vitamins to ensure that you have enough vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium, but it also includes drinking high-calorie shakes that have additional protein. The protein is crucial because it's the building block for strong muscles.