He Ate What? Athletes’ Craziest Food Obsessions
Think you have a strange food addiction? Whether it’s eating too much or making a meal into a weird routine, athletes manage to take their superstitions and habits to the kitchen to make for some of the most bizarre and fascinating diets imaginable.
Dwight Freeney – Grape Juice
For well over a decade, Dwight Freeney served was a shining example of a defensive end who strikes fear into the eyes of opposing quarterbacks. Big bodies in the NFL have a propensity to shovel in some pretty unhealthy food to meet insane caloric requirements, but not Freeney.
The former first-round pick was able to remain an elite talent while enduring a career that spanned 16 seasons thanks in large part to an extremely strict diet. As for the liquid side of that diet, Freeney almost solely drank grape juice.
Freeney stayed so true to only drinking grape juice (and water) that he actually considered it a “treat” when having the occasional cup of tea… This guy definitely throws a mean juice box mixer.
Patrick Mahomes – Ketchup
After spending his first year on the sidelines as a backup, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm. We’ve learned a lot about the young phenom in his newfound popularity. One thing all of the media attention has highlighted is that the gunslinger LOVES his ketchup.
It seems like there’s always that one friend in a group who takes their affinity for ketchup too far, and Mahomes is most definitely that guy.
His obsession with the condiment goes from putting it on mac ‘n cheese to steak… In other words, don’t waste your money taking this guy out a five-star steak restaurant.
Heinz even issued a challenge to Mahomes, offering free ketchup for life if he continues his blistering pace and throws for 57 touchdowns in the 2018 season. His teammates even had some fun at his expense, creating the “Mahomes Challenge” by putting ketchup on everything.
Marshawn Lynch – Skittles
Finding an NFL athlete who is a more exciting, entertaining and all around likeable player is as next to impossible. The running back’s well-earned nickname, Beast Mode, comes from countless mind-blowing rushes. After a monster run or finding the end zone, Lynch loves treating himself to some Skittles.
After cameras caught Lynch celebrating with some Skittles snacking, everyone got in on the candy love even showering Beast Mode with them after a touchdown. Lynch made sure to take advantage of the attention to his sugary obsession, endorsing the product with a lucrative sponsorship.
Getting paid to eat your favorite candy? Tough gig.
Bryce Harper – Eggo Waffles
While with the Washington Nationals, superstar right fielder Bryce Harper appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2013 where he admitted to being a superstitious athlete. If we’re being honest, his obsessive pregame rituals go way beyond something like wearing a lucky shirt.
We’re going to go ahead and gloss over Harper’s apparent need to take “seven showers” during the day prior to the game. Along with his germaphobe warmup is one meal and one meal only: Eggo waffles.
“I eat Eggo waffles. It has to be Eggo before the game. I mean, it’s really weird.”
The first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is one, so at least Harper’s got that going for him.
Les Miles – Grass
Plenty of athletes have rigid diets or very particular meals before or after games. It isn’t everyday we see something food related, whether for nutritional or superstitious reasons, translate to the coaching side of sports.
Les Miles is the exception to that rule in a big way, as his name is more closely associated with eating grass than cows are.
Before games and during plays, Miles has been caught numerous times leaning over, plucking a blade of grass and eating it.
Strange as it is, we’d much rather watch him do that than pick and eat something else that’s green.
Kevin Garnett – PBJ
What began in the Boston Celtics locker room during their championship 2007-08 season has since spread throughout the NBA. While Kevin Garnett was the vocal leader (shocker) behind requesting PB&J sandwiches before a game, the entire team quickly grew obsessed with the pregame meal.
Since KG and the Celts found success after getting their peanut butter and jelly fix, they kept the tradition going until they eventually left for other teams.
Garnett and Paul Pierce took their tradition to Brooklyn when they were traded to the Nets. Tony Allen brought it to Memphis when he signed with the Grizzlies. Glen Davis took the craze to Orlando when traded to the Magic. Even coach Doc Rivers brought added trade value to the Los Angeles Clippers with this sandwich insight.
Thanks to KG & Co., this Boston delicacy has invaded NBA locker rooms across the country.
Caron Butler – Mountain Dew
Caron Butler is all good with eating. Put a Mountain Dew in front of the former lottery pick, however, and we got a legitimate problem.
The All-Star forward used to drink Mountain Dew like it was going out of style. We’re talking before, during and after games.
“Honestly, those first two weeks without the Dew was the roughest two weeks of my life. I’m talking headaches, sweats and everything,” Butler said of quitting the neon green sauce.
When Butler finally cut the liquid gold from his diet, he dropped an astounding 11 pounds! Take it from Butler, and don’t Do the Dew… not even once.
Richard Sherman – Gushers
Richard Sherman is infatuated with Fruit Gushers in a way that goes way beyond loving candy, and he does it in a way that is flat out weird.
The only thing the All-Pro cornerback seems to enjoy more than picking off quarterbacks is grabbing a handful of Gushers, and there’s plenty of evidence to prove it.
By far the most obvious sign of Sherman’s love for Gushers is that he struck up a deal to endorse the product back in 2013. It was clearly more than a money grab, as General Mills sent him a Sherman jersey that was literally made of Gushers!
His sweet obsession goes way overboard in a cooking video in which he cooks meatballs… stuffed with Gushers. Dude, maybe just save it for dessert.
Wade Boggs – Chicken
The legend of Wade Boggs — one of the greatest third basemen of all time—can be boiled down to his ridiculous diet of chicken. What’s so special about that? Everyone does it. Well, that may be true until realizing that one of Boggs’ many superstitions was that he’d only eat chicken before games.
Still not crazy enough? Okay, how about the fact that Boggs would eat a whole chicken prior to playing! They don’t call him “The Chicken Man” for nothing, as the slugger fell so deeply in love with the flightless bird that he even published his own cook book, Fowl Tips: My Favorite Chicken Recipes. Someone put that bird in the HOF.
Tom Brady – Avocado Ice Cream
Love him or hate him, all football fans can come together and agree that, with age, Tom Brady has certainly revealed himself a bit weirder than we all initially thought.
To help combat the test of time in his older age, the New England Patriots quarterback has taken some extreme measures to eat the healthiest diet possible. One of the few treats Brady indulges in is avocado ice cream.
Avocado ice cream is a staple of Brady’s TB12 Method diet regimen that everyone loves talking about, because, let’s be real, it sounds kind of weird and gross. Some teammates love it, others are grossed out by it, even Bill Belichick cracked a joke about. Bizarre as avocado ice cream is for a favorite food, we can’t argue the results.
Brian Urlacher – Chocolate Chip Cookies
When Brian Urlacher would get in the zone before a game, there’s only one thing the Chicago Bears legend ate to dial in. Believe it or not, one of the most fearsome linebackers in NFL history is all about chocolate chip cookies. Except he’s kind of weird about it.
Prior to kickoff, Urlacher eats two chocolate chip cookies. No more. No less. The 260-pound linebacker would eat exactly two chocolate chip cookies and enjoy some country music before taking the field and transforming into a quarterback sacking animal. Obsessive? For sure. Compulsive? We wouldn’t say no. Would we tell him that? Never.
Michael Jordan – Steak, Potato, Ginger Ale
Even Michael Jordan, arguably the most famous athlete of all time, has a host of ridiculous superstitions and pregame rituals. Considering how well things turned out for His Airness, it’s hard to argue there is anything he should’ve done different. That goes double MJ’s go-to meal he ate before every game: a 23-oz steak, baked potato and ginger ale.
There is no chance the size of that steak is a coincidence. We’re talking about a guy who would wear his UNC practice shorts underneath his jersey shorts at every game – No. 23 eating a 23-oz steak is not cutting any corners in eating HIS meal.
Turk Wendell – Black Licorice
No doubt about it, Turk Wendell is a really weird dude. He has often been cited as one of, if not the most superstitious athlete in all of sports, and it’s these eccentric practices that made him so much fun to watch (along with some all-time classic zingers).
Among Wendell’s many weird habits was his love of licorice.
Wendell never drank in his life let alone chew like so many baseball players. Instead of packing a dinger, the pitcher would pack a mouthful of black licorice. Since his face was always stuffed with licorice, Wendell was also notable for brushing his teeth between innings since he didn’t want to stain his teeth. Can’t say the man isn’t health conscious.
Frank Kaminsky – Skittles
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Frank Kaminsky since the Charlotte Hornets drafted him ninth overall in 2015, it’s that he likes Skittles in a way that is downright creepy.
The former National College Player of the Year (2015) has always had a personality as big to match his seven-foot frame, but the line between funny and creepy get real blurry when Skittles learned of his fruity infatuation.
When Skittles found out the Hornets center loves the candy, they sent him a custom Skittles basketball hoop, which he hooked up in his bathtub. Of course, why would Frank the Tank just show a picture of his gift from Skittles when he could show how much he REALLY loves it by straight up bathing in a tub full of them.
Side note – the fact that bath tubs haven’t already had the option of coming with a pre-installed Skittles hoop is a huge missed opportunity.
John Daly – Diet Coke
How John Daly has managed to endure a professional golfing career that has spanned over three decades is as much a mystery as it is an inspiration. There has never been, and likely never will be, another personality as eccentric as Daly in the PGA, but what’s most incredible about this PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE is his diet. Diet Coke, that is.
Daly is a fiend for Diet Coke. At his worst, he would inhale as many as “26 to 28 cans a day” before getting lap-band surgery. Caron Butler, drink your heart and keeping Doing the Dew, because you got a loooong way to go before hitting this number.
Though Daly’s sugary addiction has toned down significantly since his lap-band surgery, he still slurps down a solid 10 to 12 Diet Cokes a day.
Tim Lincecum – In-N-Out
From 2008-11, Tim Lincecum was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball. The two-time Cy Young Award winner also took home three World Series titles dwith the San Francisco Giants in that time before suffering a rather swift falloff.
We don’t want to indulge in crazy superstitions, but Lincecum’s huge dip in production may have been the result of trying to eat healthy and ditching his In-N-Out burger addiction.
Before eating cleaner, the lanky pitcher’s normal order was three double-doubles (no lettuce or tomato), two fries and a chocolate strawberry shake.
Everyone who lives in or has visited California knows that In-N-Out burgers are life, so when he stopped eating his favorite food, he likely suffered some serious withdrawals.
Jon Call – Meal Prep for an Army
Jon Call is a certified animal. The dude snatches more weight than most people can even lift, then proceeds to do splits while holding it above his head. His combination of a freakish built with incredible athleticism and flexibility require exorbitant amounts of energy spent every day, so he meal preps in a big way to get those calories.
Strap in for this one. Call’s meal prep includes making over 100 pounds of chicken for the week, and that isn’t even the end of it! He’ll also whip up 15 pounds of potatoes and 12 cups of rice that result in 40 containers worth of food. For a guy who eats breakfast like this guy eats eggs while swimming, it’s no wonder he needs every calorie he can get.
Robert Oberst – 20,000 Calories Per Day
Robert Oberst is a beast. The 6-foot-7 strongman competitor weighs in at a whopping 380 pounds, which means the fella. can. eat.
Oberst’s daily calorie consumption is roughly equal to what one might eat in an entire week, as he takes down as much as 20,000 calories in a day.
It takes grueling workouts for Oberst to reach maxes like a 650-pound bench press and 950-pound squat in the gym, which requires an equally insane amount of food to maintain muscle mass.
Don’t mistake the crazy amount of food Oberst eats for unhealthy living. The strongman is adamant about “clean” eating, sticking primarily to whole foods and only allowing himself a cheat day once every four weeks.
With a $450 grocery trip only lasting him a few days, we can only imagine what that cheat day looks like.
Lyoto Machida – Urine
A lot of people carry on some really dome traditions just for the sake of them being traditions. Others carry on some really dumb traditions out of superstitious beliefs, which is exactly what mixed martial artist Lyoto Machida does by drinking his own pee.
Wow, just like dad used to make!
After Machida was unable to shake an illness, his father, Yoshizo, suggested that his son drink his own urine just like he does. Well, pops is a karate master, therefore he MUST have scientific reasoning behind his madness.
He doesn’t. Please do not drink pee, people. Not yours. Not anyone else’s.
Babe Ruth – Hot Dogs / Family-Sized Breakfast
No one lived a lavish life quite like baseball biggest legend, Babe Ruth.
The Babe was anything your typical “athlete build” with his barrel chest that turns into more of a keg than anything. So how’d the Sultan of Swat create his temple? Hitting the sauce really hard and eating like a glutton, especially when we’re talking breakfast or hot dogs.
There are few things the Babe loved taking down more than some dogs, eating them before, during and after games – he even had to be taken to the hospital after eating over a dozen one time.
For breakfast, the Babe would go to town, inhaling six eggs, a porterhouse steak. Of course, that can be a lot, so he’d wash all those calories down with some bourbon and ginger ale. That’ll put some hair on your chest.
Herschel Walker – One Meal Per Day
Herschel Walker has been making the rest of the human population look bad for a long, long time. After over a decade in the NFL, the Heisman winner took his talents to mixed martial arts, where the fifth degree taekwondo black belt won both of his fights.
Thank his ridiculous durability over time to one of the most bizarre diet/workout regimens an athlete can endure.
Walker lives a, let’s call it “strict” lifestyle. He sleeps five hours every night, skips breakfast and lunch, then eats his one meal, which sounds unsatisfying, to say the least. His one meal consists of vegetables (lots of them), bread and soup. He claims to be a vegetarian, but also indulges in chicken occasionally.
Eat that and do between 750 to 1,500 pushups and 2,000 sit ups a day, and you’ll be shredded for life.
Justin Verlander – Taco Bell
What’s it take to be a champ? Easy, Taco Bell. Loads of it. It’s the secret formula that’s been right under our nose all along, and Justin Verlander has exploited every last special saucy drop.
In 2012 while appearing on Conan O’Brien’s late night show, Verlander revealed his favorite (very specific) meal of Taco Bell he houses before taking the mound.
One cheesy gordita crunch, three crunchy taco supremes (no tomato) and a Mexican pizza (no tomato). God forbid Verlander accidentally gets a little cube of tomato in there with all those health benefits he’s already packing in.
Just one qualm with this meal – How DARE Verlander desecrate a good T-Bell order with Mexican pizza. No one orders that. No one.
Kazakhstan Olympians – Horse Meat
Every time the Olympics roll around, there is probably no food Olympians eat more than McDonald’s. There’s good reason behind this, as traveling to foreign countries either presents athletes a lot of “exotic” meals they aren’t familiar with or comfortable eating, which also leads to a desire to avoid something as fortunate as food poisoning.
Then there are the Olympians from Kazakhstan, who actually go out of their way to eat different. Horse meat—a major part of the Kazakh diet—was actually shipped to the London for the 2012 Games in the form of qarta and qazi, which are rib meat and rectum. So, yeah, no comment.
Anderson Silva – Fast Food Burgers
Long before Anderson Silva was one of the baddest fighters in the UFC, the Spider was working at McDonald’s. Working at Mickey D’s developed a healthy taste for Big Macs.
Silva’s love for Big Macs grew so strong that he said he’d even chow down on some before and after weigh-ins.
Rewind that. Silva would eat a Big Mac BEFORE weigh-in… the time fighters are always grossly malnourished from a crazy diet to make weight.
Despite his proclivity to down a few good Bic Macs, Silva switched sides after endorsing Burger King. That’s okay, the important thing is he’s eating healthy fats.
Michael Arnstein – Fruit
Michael Arnstein lives a life that is borderline masochistic (minus the borderline part). He is an ultramarathoner, meaning the races he runs are over the “casual” 26-mile journeys upwards of 100 miles. He is also a fruitarian, meaning he eats a diet entirely consisting of fruit.
Fruit is good and all, but eating that 24/7, 365 sounds like a living nightmare. Now tack on one of the most grueling tests of endurance on a regular basis and what we’ve got here is willful self-torture.
Fortunately for his own sake, Arnstein attempted to fake a court order for the jewelry company he own, which landed him nine months of jail time. Even if he’s allowed to keep eating fruit only, at least he can’t keep wrecking his body with ultras for a bit. Buddy needs a break.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. – All Things Junk Food
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the most unstoppable boxer of the modern era. It doesn’t matter if people think he’s boring or not, because an undefeated 50-0 record is indisputable.
Apparently, the perfect complement to an insane workout regime is an absurd diet. Well, it’s at least absurdly unhealthy.
Mayweather absolutely eats well when he wants, but he goes off the deep if he feels like it too. The number of times he’s been spotted chowing down on McDonald’s alone is impressive, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Then there’s Top Ramen, fried hot dogs, spaghetti and loads of barbecue sauce on eeeverything.
Lamar Odom – Candy
Lamar Odom was in it for the long haul when he entered the NBA in 1999, enduring a 14-year career highlighted by two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers (2009, 2010). Solid a run as he had, it probably could’ve gone much longer if it wasn’t for his candy addiction.
The versatile forward is a walking vacuum, sucking up jellybeans, Starbursts, gummy bears, Lifesavers, Twizzlers – anything coated in or comprised of sugar.
Worst of all, this is his mindset through it all:
“It’s funny because the games I played well were the games where I ate candy for breakfast. It’s the reason why I got double digits in points and rebounds. I guess I’m going to have to eat candy for breakfast in order to play well.”
Brains and brawn, can’t always have it all.
Hafthor Bjornsson – Feasts
Hafthor Bjornsson is built like a mountain, which is exactly what most know him as. The professional strongman moonlights as an actor with his most notable role being The Mountain in Game of Thrones.
In order to maintain a weight of somewhere between 400-440 pounds (good lord), the 6-foot-9 behemoth takes down a feast a day.
Bjornsson posted his daily diet regimen back in 2016, and it legitimately makes eating sound exhausting.
Breakfast: handful of almonds, eight eggs, 200g oats, blueberries, strawberries, avocado, 400g beef, 400g sweet potatoes, handful of spinach and greens.
Lunch: 400g chicken, 400g potatoes, greens, fruit, 150g oats, two bananas, 150g rice krispies, berries, handful almonds, peanut butter.
Dinner: 60g protein, two bananas, 500g beef, 500g potatoes and greens, 500g salmon, 500g sweet potatoes, six eggs, avocado, 30g almonds, 50g peanut butter, 50g raw eggs.
Not even sure what to say here. Too afraid to make jokes.
Chad Johnson – McDonald’s
Chad Johnson (formerly Ochocinco, formerly Johnson again) was never the biggest guy on the field, but he was faster and shiftier than anyone else thanks to a ridiculously shredded physique. Definitely do not chalk this one up to a great diet unless Johnson’s idea of a nutritional meal is Mickey D’s.
Take notes, people. You want to be shredded with an eight-pack, gorge on fries and burgers.
One classic tweet by Chad the Ocho sums the addiction up. “#random I have randomly been selected for the drug testing policy today for the NFL, they ain’t gonna find nothing but McDonalds n redbull.”
When it works, it works.
Justin Durant – Chick-Fil-A
Former NFL linebacker Justin Durant loves Chik-Fil-A. The dude absolutely loves their chicken, simple as that. When the fast food chain was under scrutiny for some its COO’s view, Durant couldn’t have cared less, as long as they keep whipping up that bomb chicken.
Don’t take our word for it, read the five-tweet rant he laid out.
“So people not gon get the best chicken sammich and lemonade on the planet because of a personal belief? Word?”
“Idk maybe it’s just me but I could c are less about what people choose to believe in as long as I’m good”
“Chicken too tasty RT @ThatStatBoy: @JDurant52 Would you boycott Chick Fil A if the owner came out and said slavery was a good idea?”
“I can tell some of y’all never had that Chick-Fil-A lemonade”
“Arnold Palmer me RT @MooPsyMoo: @JDurant52 the sweet tea be on point too”
Can’t say the man doesn’t know what he likes.