John Henson's diet sounds exhausting


John Henson can’t gain weight. If that sounds ideal, think again. Eating six or seven meals a day would get real old, real fast.

Butch Dill / AP

But that’s how it goes for North Carolina’s 6-10 forward. Henson, who’ll be a sophomore this season, is a skilled, athletic player, but is sick of being knocked around on the court. He arrived in Chaopel Hill weighing 183 pounds. And unlike most people who try to avoid the freshman 15, Henson did all he could to encourage it – and he’s still reed thin.

He’s now 210 pounds, but only because of all those meals. Jonas Saharatian, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, says he’s never had anyone like Henson.

“He’s got the most minuscule joints you’ve ever seen. His waist is like a wasp’s waist. Most girls would kill for it,” Saharatian said.

So what’s Henson eating? It sounds like he’s trying to be an NFL offensive lineman. From the AP:

His breakfast Tuesday morning consisted of six eggs with cheese and grilled chicken. Then over the past month, he would typically hit Subway after going to summer school classes, then stop by Chipotle for a burrito after study hall. From there, he’d come to workout with Sahratian for around two hours before downing a protein shake and chasing that with a big dinner a short time later.

When friends made runs to fast-food restaurants, Henson ordered several burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches, but shied away from french fries, chips or other fried items. At other times, he’s downing pizza or spaghetti and meatballs. His father even recently bought him a George Foreman grill for him to cook steaks to meet Sahratian’s instructions to eat plenty of protein.

The rule is simple and almost enviable: Eat whenever he feels even a touch of hunger.

“The nutrition coach told me to eat anything that swims, runs, jumps or flies,” Henson said. “And that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Wow. That makes me want to throw up a little just reading about all that food.

It reminds me of when Shawn Bradley hit the NBA and teams couldn’t add bulk to his frame despite a 7,000-calorie diet. Henson might be one of those players who always stays straw thin.

We non-athletes should be so lucky. 

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