Aaron Donald Workout and Diet

Professional Football Player

Born: 1991

Pittsburgh native Aaron Donald played football for Penn Hills High and was picked first-team All-State Class AAAA during his junior and senior years. He received scholarship offers from Toledo, Akron, and Rutgers, but chose his hometown school of University of Pittsburgh where he continued to shine. Donald played all 13 games freshman year, was a starter as a sophomore, earned All-Big East honors as a junior and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American as a senior. Donald was a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft where he was selected by the Rams. He has been named Defensive Player of the Year a record 3 times. Donald has been selected for the Pro Bowl 9 times and received 7 All-Pro honors. His team won Super Bowl LVI and he is considered one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the sport. Donald is part owner of Ready Nutrition and has plenty of endorsement deals including with Pizza Hut, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Dr. Teal’s. His 99 Solutions Foundation supports at-risk youth in Pittsburgh. He is married and has 1 son with his current wife and 2 children from a previous relationship. Donald has over a million followers on social media. He is 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs about 280 lbs. His body fat is around 11%

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Aaron Donald’s Diet

Diet Summary

The standard diet for pro ball players is high protein, but Donald bucks the trend. Instead, he goes for carbs and fats, primarily in the form of smoothies. He’ll down a dozen a day, along with 30 cups of milk. This doesn’t mean he’s on a liquid diet. He eats plenty of regular food, including lots of chicken, fish, veggies, and pasta, and he loves popcorn. He also drinks lots of water.

Estimated Macros

Low Protein

Medium Fat

High Carb

Diet Details

80/20 Diet

Donald adheres to a strict diet, but it isn’t like that of other pros. Tom Brady also only eats 20% protein, but the remaining 80% is comprised of veggies, fruit, and grains. By contrast, Donald eats lots of pasta, rice and Jamba Juice smoothies.

Chickens & Fish Beware

Even though Donald doesn’t eat as much protein percentage-wise as other pros, he still eats a lot: 6 cups of chicken, 55 oz of fish, plus protein added into his smoothies.

Chickens & Fish Beware

Even though Donald doesn’t eat as much protein percentage-wise as other pros, he still eats a lot: 6 cups of chicken, 55 oz of fish, plus protein added into his smoothies.

Hire a Herd

Donald’s diet contains a lot of liquid. He downs a whopping 30 cups of milk each day.

SuperSize Style

Everything about Donald’s diet is supersized. Twenty cups of popcorn, 15 cups of rice or pasta and 12 smoothies are all standard fare.

Cutting Loose

Donald mostly eats clean, but he isn’t averse to having a good time, including kicking off a (rest) day with a few mimosas.

What to Eat

  • Jamba Juice smoothies
  • Protein
  • Milk
  • Chicken
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Avocado
  • Fish
  • Hummus
  • Popcorn
  • Water

What to Avoid

  • Too much protein
  • Processed foods
  • Fried foods
  • Junk food
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Chemical additives

Donald’s nutritionist Joey Blake on his diet

On high-volume days, he is basically consuming 5,000 calories…he majority of those calories would be more fat than protein, given the amount of recovery for his body needs.

Donald’s personal chef Aaron Sain on his job

It’s kind of like getting a gladiator ready for war. I take it really seriously.

Donald’s personal chef on his job

It’s really a blessing to get an opportunity to really cook for someone like this.

Donald on making gains

There’s always room for improvement. That’s my mindset.

Aaron Donald’s Workout Routine

Workout Routine

Dream Come True

Although Donald received scholarship offers from several schools, he chose Pitt. He says it was a dream come true, and that his time there influences everything he does even today.

There Is No ‘I’ in Team

Donald doesn’t consider himself to have any special talent. His main goal is supporting his teammates, and making sure they don’t get hurt.

Daily Dose

Donald regularly works out Sunday to Friday even in the off-season, only taking Saturday off to rest and recover.

Strength Training

To build strength and power, Donald does low reps with heavy weights.

Agility Drills

Even though he weighs in at a hefty 280 lbs., Donald can move. To improve his lineman skills, he does lots of agility training including box jumps.

The 300

Donald’s abs work out consists of a variety of ab moves, included weighted crunches, planks, and toe taps.

Exercise Style

An Aaron Donald Routine

Warm up: before every workout
Agility drills
Weight training: lift heavy
Position-specific training
Abs routine:
Medicine ball crunch: 20 reps x 5 sets
Toe touch: 20 reps x 4 sets
Side plank: 20 reps x 4 sets
Bicycle crunch: 20 reps x 4 sets
Plank: 1 min x 3 sets
Heel tap: 20 reps x 4 sets

Donald on his football training

I have experience at every position…I think that’s a plus for me.

Donald on mixing things up

It doesn’t ever hurt to try different stuff.

Donald on maintaining fitness in his 30s vs his 20s

I think it’s a little easier now because I kind of grew into my body…and understand what I can and can’t do.

Donald on how he stays strong

Learning, studying myself, and just trying to find ways to improve anyway I can.

Aaron Donald’s Supplements



Although Donald doesn’t go crazy with the protein, he does add it to his many Jamba Juice smoothies each day. Protein builds mass, reduces recovery time, and curbs hunger.

ready nutrition hydration

Ready Nutrition

Donald has an ownership stake in Ready Nutrition whose line includes sports drinks, protein water, protein powder, plant-based protein, and healthy snacks.

Aaron Donald’s Lifestyle

Relentless Pursuit of Perfection

Donald says that even if it’s 2 am, he has to watch the film of the game to see where he messed up. He always does a solo review before he watches with the team.

Lean & Mean

Donald’s body fat measures only around 11%, much lower than the average NFL defenseman of 25%. The leanest defensive lineman is the 49ers Nick Bosa, with an amazing 3% body fat.

Giving Back

Donald says he was inspired to start his charity for at-risk kids because many of his friends growing up had potential, but instead found themselves in bad situations because of a lack of support.

Early Promise

Donald called himself a ‘lazy child,’ but by age 12, he was getting up at 4:30 in the morning to do a 2-hour workout with his dad before school.

Record-Setting Deals

Although Donald has dropped hints about retiring, he signed with Rams for $95 million through 2024, making him the highest-paid player who isn’t a quarterback.

Donald on sleep vs. studying

I wanted to see everything I did wrong and did right or I wouldn’t be able to sleep.

Donald on his father

A lot of my success, and a lot of who I am now, is because of my dad and the way he raised me and taught me how to have a work ethic.

Donald on himself

There’s nothing special about me.

Donald on his alma mater, Pitt

Pitt will always be my school and I’m honored to be able to support the Blue and Gold.

Donald on his talent

God just blessed me with quickness and speed, I guess.

Donald on winning

It’s a lot more fun when you’re winning than losing.

Donald on mindset

I know you ain’t gonna win every single one-on-one, but in my mind, I’m supposed to.

Donald on making it as a pro

It’s not that hard to be good; you can be good off raw talent. But I feel like it’s that extra step, doing work…and doing things when nobody else is watching.

Donald on the reason for founding his charity

I had friends that got murdered because they chose to do things they shouldn’t have.

Donald on his life

I’m living the dream right now.

Donald on his goal

Leaving a legacy behind is huge.

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