JJ Watt Workout and Diet
Professional Football Player
Originally from Wisconsin, Justin James Watt was always playing some sport or other. He played hockey from age 4-13 and started on football in 5th grade. He was a football star all four years of high school, and also won awards in basketball, baseball and track and field. Watt played for Central Michigan University for one year before switching to Wisconsin for 2 years. Then he decided to enter the NFL draft rather than returning for his senior year. He has a laundry list of awards, including being a Pro Bowl selection 5 times, named Sporting News’ Defensive Player of the Year 3 times, Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year in 2017, and been ranked in the top 100 players 6 times, including coming in at #1 in 2015. Watt has millions of followers on social media. He is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 290 lbs.
JJ Watt’s Diet
Watt eats a massive amount of food each day. So much so, he considers eating to be a chore. He has 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners and they’re all huge. Still, he eats clean, whole, natural foods, like oatmeal, eggs, chicken breasts and plenty of veggies. His diet today is around 5,000 calories, but a few years back, he ate even more after his trainer said something was missing from his workouts. That something was an additional 4,000 calories. While on his 9,000 calorie diet, he followed a semi-keto, semi-Paleo diet, consuming lots of fats in the form of avocados, olive oil, and bacon, and going low on carbs and eating only whole, natural ones, such as from sweet potatoes.
- Low-Medium Fat 25% 25%
- Medium Carb 30% 30%
- High Protein 45% 45%
Watt kicks off his day with a 900-calorie breakfast consisting of a half-dozen eggs and oatmeal. Second breakfast is another 4-5 eggs.
Load Up On Lunch
Lunch is a feast of chicken breasts (3), whole wheat pasta, Italian dressing and a side of broccoli. Second lunch consists of more chicken breasts, mashed sweet potatoes and carrots.
Dive Into Dinner
Watt’s dinner is another protein-fest, lamb chops with whole wheat pasta and grilled asparagus. Second dinner might be a steak filet, more pasta, and steamed broccoli.
No Need To Cheat
Given Watt’s need to fuel up all day long, cheating isn’t really an issue, but he makes a point to eat clean. His favorite ‘cheat,’ however, is Crunch Berries cereal.
What to Eat
Whole Wheat Pasta
What to Avoid
Starchy ‘White’ Carbs
Watt On Upping His Calories To 9,000
My body was grabbing for something that wasn’t there. It was trying to fuel itself with no fuel.
Watt On His Hefty Diet
It sounds weird when you complain about having to eat so much, but it’s like a job.
Watt On His Diet, Take II
I eat the whole time I’m not working out. It’s exhausting. You have to force-feed.
Watt On Counting Calories
I’m not strict on my calorie count, I just pay attention to my by body.
Watt On Missing Junk Food
Everything in you wants to eat the stuff that tastes good. And trust me, I love good food just as much as anybody.
JJ Watt’s Fitness Routine
Can’t Get Enough
Watt loves to work out. Every aspect, from foam rolling to muscle activation drills, he’s enthusiastic about. Watt does many of the same routines he has since high school, and he’s still working with the same trainer, Brad Arnett.
Be A Role Model
Watt works out with novices right next to him. He says he hasn’t forgotten he was once one of them.
Finely Tuned to Feedback
Watt is highly tuned to what his body tells him and is constantly adjusting to make things work at their optimum level. Watt can flip a 1000-lb. tractor tire, bench 225-lb. 34 times and squat 700+ lbs. He also has a 61 inch vertical jump.
Train Like A Beast
Watt’s training sessions last 90 minutes. He starts out by stretching on the foam roller, then moves on to footwork and does a lot with resistance bands.
Strengthen The Core
Recovering from back surgery, Watt switched from doing heavy lifting to exercises that strengthen the core. A strong, stable core allows power to be transmitted throughout the body.
Watt makes sure to give time to stretching and recovery so that he’s in top form at all times.
A JJ Watt Routine
Be sure to warm up and stretch. Watt uses a foam roller to break up adhesions and soften muscles.
Shoulder Pack Roll: 10 reps x 2 sets
Incline Bench Press: 10, 5, 3, 5 reps (4 sets total)
Dumbbell Floor Press: 8 reps x 8 sets
Fat-bar Pull-up: 10 reps x 3 sets
Superset With Chest-supported Y-bar Rows: 12 reps x 3 sets
Chest-supported T-bar Rows: 12 reps x 3 sets
Superset With Straight-arm Lat Pulldown: 10 reps x 3 sets
TRX Arm Curl: 12 reps x 3 sets
Superset With Band Or Cable External Rotation: 10 reps x 3 sets.
Tempo Run: 40 yds at 75% max speed x 8
Safety Bar Box Squats: 3 reps x 6 sets
Safety Bar Chaos Reverse Lunges: 6-8/leg x 3 sets
Partner-assisted Dynamic Kettlebell Swings: 10-12 x 4 sets
Litvinov Prowler Sprints: 20 yards x 6
Cool down is equally important. More stretching and foam roller.
Watt On His Core Routine
It’s not any less time or less effort. It’s just different.
Watt On Putting In The Time
If you do the bare minimum, expect bare minimum results. You want to be great, work to be great. Nothing just happens.
Watt On Giving His All
Right now, I am a football player and I will sacrifice whatever is necessary to be the best.
JJ Watt’s Supplements
Watt keeps his supplements on the down low, but anyone looking to build muscle will probably want to take a protein supplement, including creatine to build muscle, BCAAs to help prevent muscle breakdown and collagen helps keep joints strong. If you need help putting on pounds and don’t want to spend all your spare time eating, try a weight gainer.
JJ Watt’s Lifestyle
Sleep For The Win
Watt calls sleep ‘nature’s best recovery tool’ and says he gets as much as he can. He goes straight to bed when he gets home and even has a ‘work bed’ tucked away at NRG Stadium.
While in college, Watt delivered pizza for Pizza Hut. No word on how often he took advantage of his employee discount.
In 2018, Watt received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Baylor College of Medicine.
Watt is founder and president of the Justin J Watt Foundation that funds after-school athletics for children. He also donated $100,000 and raised over $37 million to help with Houston’s recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey hit.
All In The Family
Watt’s 2 younger brothers, Derek and TJ, also play in the NFL.
Watt’s favorite movie of all time is Mighty Ducks 2.
Watt On Sibling Rivalry
We were extremely competitive growing up. My parents knew that pushing each other would be better than any motivation we could get out in the real world, so I think in the end it made us better and stronger.
Watt On Success
Success isn’t owned; it’s leased, and rent is due every single day.
Watt On Greatness
Some people chase money. Some people chase fame. Some people chase greatness, and that’s what I’m trying to do.
Watt On Himself
I’m a little more goofy than people give me credit for. I like to have fun…People don’t always get to see that.