James Gmiter

WVU offensive lineman James Gmiter, now at 300 pounds, said he can lose 12 pounds at each two-hour camp session.

MORGANTOWN — The media session held after Wednesday’s third day of West Virginia took a turn toward a weighty issue almost as soon as the conversations with offensive lineman James Gmiter and defensive lineman Dante Stills began.

Now we’re not talking about questions that philosophers mull over such the birth of the universe or whether or not there is intelligent life out there among the stars.

This was more like whether a hot dog should be classified as a sandwich or not in part because the players and the assembled media ate up the subject of preparing for a season at given weight, the way to meet such goals and how to do it by not only adding bulk but doing so while increasing both speed and athleticism.

It proved to be a meaty subject, indeed.

“As you get older in the program you kind of learn to take care of your body and what your body needs,” the fifth-year guard Gmiter said. “The biggest thing I focused on over the off-season was putting on some weight.”

Now this is difficult to understand. James Gmiter played last year at 298 and the year before he played between 295 and 298.

That’s big, but everything is relative and in this era of nutritional planning and year-round, technological weight work, big is no longer big enough.

Nowadays being called too big for your britches is considered a necessity.

“This is the first camp I have come into over 300 pounds,” Gmiter said. “Right now, I’m sitting at 313. The biggest thing was putting on some pounds to give me an advantage in the run and pass game.”

I know, ladies. You wear a petite size and you are scrambling for the latest diet fad if you gain a pound and a half ... but then that guy across from you every Saturday trying to bull rush past you isn’t weighing in at 320.

Gmiter admits he struggled the last two years with keeping the weight on as he neared 300 pounds.

“I sat down with Haley (Bishop), our nutritionist, and with Mike (Joseph), our strength and conditioning coach, just to get a plan together to keep it on. So far, I’ve done that. This is the first year I sat down and made a plan on nutrition and strength.”

And what does that plan involve?

“I’m on different supplements like creatine and protein. My meal intake and calorie intake has increased. I eat like four meals a day and three snacks, just to keep that weight on because I burn like 5,000 calories in one practice.”

While Gmiter doesn’t have caloric goals on a daily basis, he just keeps eating and weighing in.

“My go-to when I’m not at the facility is I take rice, two fried eggs, throw it all together with soy sauce, butter and cheese and eat that,” Gmiter said. “It may not be the healthiest, but it works.”

It’s funny how it all worked out. Gmiter came to school in 2018 at 320, dropped it down to like 290 and has floated around that figure until this year.

Gmiter was meeting with the media maybe an hour after walking off the practice field and he bought a gallon container of something with him that he was slurping on as he awaited his turn to be grilled.

“As soon as you get off the field, you have to start the recovery process,” Gmiter said, explaining the container. “I just lost 12 pounds at practice.”

Think about that for a moment. TWELVE POUNDS!

That’s in a near two-hour practice. Think someone couldn’t come up with a copy of those practice plans, put together an infomercial for late night TV or social media, and sell it?

“Lose 12 pounds of ugly fat,” the ad could read. “Just follow our “Football Fat Reducing Diet Plan. Just $39.99 and you too can be slimmer and, just maybe, get a Super Bowl ring in the process.”

But Gmiter and his fellow players don’t want that weight loss as a permanent thing.

“I have to work so that at the time we get back at 4 p.m. for a team meeting I have my weight back up to within at least two pounds. It’s a recovery process and it’s rough, but it’s needed,” Gmiter said.

The added weight, surprisingly doesn’t take away from his other athletic skills.

And gaining weight no longer means losing such things as speed and stamina.

“I’m the fastest I’ve been in a while. So, I put on the weight but I also increased speed and strength,” he said, perhaps practicing for his spiel for his next NIL deal.

Stills went into the off-season focused on getting into shape after deciding not go into the NFL.

It wasn’t an easy decision to bypass the draft in his senior year, but one he felt he had to make.

“I felt if I did that I could play more snaps at 100 percent,” he said. “I didn’t want to go into a drive and be tired on the third or fourth play. Once you’re tired out there, all your technique goes out the window, so I wanted to be in shape for as many as they needed me out there giving them 100 percent.

“This year I want to be all over the field, just run to the ball, being active on every play.”

He also felt, like Gmiter, he had to put on some weight.

“I was 280 going into the off-season. I was at 285 today, but usually I’m at 288 now,” he said. “I want to be on the heavier side a little bit, but I’ve played at so many different weights. Freshman year I was 290, sophomore year I was like 310, then the junior year I was 270.”

Now he’s looking for the ideal weight.

“I’m leaner but I’m stronger,” he said. “That was the whole off-season plan.”

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