For most people, 5,000 calories are way too much to take in over the course of 24 hours. If you could burn off that many calories without gaining weight, rolling into the McDonald's drive-thru and leaving with six Big Macs and three orders of large fries would fit right into your diet plan.
This is where the NFL's Aaron Donald comes into the picture. He happens to stay away from McDonald's but accomplishes an even more impressive feat of eating nutritional foods of ridiculous volume to support his 280-pound stature. For the Rams interior lineman, 5,000 calories are nothing but a normal training day.
"On his high-volume days, he is basically consuming 5,000 calories," Rams dietitian Joey Blake said.
What's necessary to understand is that Donald is not the average human. His massive body full of muscle burns about an estimated 2,800 calories if Donald decided to just sit on his couch all day. As a bigger man, Donald can naturally burn more calories than the average person sitting around — but much more than almost anyone his size, since the NFL veteran only has a body fat percentage of 11%. Donald's body is made of a high amount of muscle, which is more metabolically active and spurs his body to demand more calories.
With a good muscular metabolism and training routine, Donald's diet is serious.
"It's really a blessing to get an opportunity to really cook for someone like this because it's kind of like getting a gladiator ready for war. I take it really serious," said Arron Sain, Donald's chef.
Aaron Donald's Diet Includes a Ton of Protein
A meal for Donald varies but includes a lot of food. One of the lineman's favorite meals are his chef's breakfast tacos, which include 10 ounces of spicy turkey sausage, four whole eggs, two cups of spinach, a medium sliced onion and one large red bell pepper.
Another favorite for Donald is his chef's "dancing meatballs," apparently so named because they made the lineman dance after eating them. The meatballs are made of 6 ounces of ground turkey, 6 ounces of ground beef, two eggs, croutons and a mix of powders and seasonings.
If that wasn't enough for Donald, an average of six meals during the day might do the trick. To meet his nutritional requirements, the Rams could have Donald housing 30 cups of milk with a side of 12 protein smoothies. At lunch and dinner, the Rams' veteran tackle will consume a total of 55 ounces of fish, equal to almost 3½ pounds of seafood. Throughout the day, Donald will consume 20 cups of popcorn, with room for an additional 15 cups of rice.
The real reason that the muscular NFL veteran needs this kind of diet is due to his ridiculous training schedule. In a normal week, Donald takes only Sundays off to rest while not in the season.
The seven-time All-Pro tackle works a different part of his body on each of the six days. Starting the week with abdominals, Donald also works his lower body, upper body, full body in a single day and also gets in plenty of cardio sessions including the exercise bike and running on a treadmill, nobody's favorite exercise.
According to Donald, his entire drive to begin working out started as a child, when his father got him into lifting.
"The more that he started taking off in that gym, the better and better he became," Aaron's father, Archie Donald Sr., told ESPN.
Since the age of 12, Donald has worked on his lifting and exercise routine, which ultimately helped him build his big calorie-burning physique.
There are a multitude of different diets out there, each tailored to one's needs. But what exactly would an average person have to do to follow the diet of Donald and maintain their physique? Well, it wouldn't be an easy task.
The average American man is 5-foot-9 and just short of 200 pounds. At the median age of 38 (in 2019), this average person could expect to burn about 1,800 calories a day doing absolutely nothing. From there, you'll need to make up the difference of 3,200 calories with exercises and everyday movement. Good luck.
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