Jared, at only 6' 2", has to work hard to keep his weight and strength up to match the offensive line in today's trenches. We must preface this interview by stating that it was a pleasure to talk with Jared. We would like to express our thanks for Jared taking the time to spend with us.
IDS Sports.com. Jared, most of readers might not know much about you, like where did you grow up?
JT: I was born and raised in East Chicago, Illinois.
IDS Sports.com I understand there is a congratulation in order.
JT: Thanks, yes I married my high school sweetheart in February of this year. Lisa has been a great blessing for me and has been through it all.
IDS Sports.com I understand that you "walked" on at Nebraska, that's incredible.
JT: I was recruited out of high school by two college football programs but I decided that I wanted to go to Nebraska and play for a national powerhouse.
IDS Sports.com It must have been incredible to play for Coach Osbourne and win those National Championships.
JT: It was without a doubt a great team and coach not to mention all the players that have graduated to the pros. I was really fortunate, so I guess you could say I made a good decision.
IDS Sports.com So, in the beginning, did you always want to be a pro football player growing up?
JT: Actually believe it or not, I seriously thought I wanted to be a professional bodybuilder when I was in high school. I actually worked in a popular Gold's Gym in Chicago where I got to meet a lot of big time bodybuilders and I enjoyed training.
IDS Sports.com The perfect job for someone who wanted to be a bodybuilder right?
JT: Well, at the time I though it was perfect. The more time that I spent around bodybuilding the more I realized that I couldn't do what it really took for me to be successful. Bodybuilding has progressively change through the years where it seems now in order to be on top you have to be (pause) bluntly" incredibly big". So as you know there is no way you can obtain that size without enhancement drugs, and I just couldn't bring myself to use them, let alone afford them in high school.
IDS Sports.com Is that when you decided to concentrate on football?
JT: I had always loved playing football. I always knew that if I worked hard I could obtain any goal whether it was a college scholarship or maybe a pro-career.
IDS Sports.com So what did you weigh when you played in high school? When I think of quick I think of smaller guys.
JT: Actually I weighed about 230 lbs. when I played in high school.
IDS Sports.com What did you do to maintain that kind of weight at 6'2" in high school?
JT: I ate everything in site! I really didn't have much of a training diet. That is why I think that if a young high school athlete has made a serious commitment to their sport he or she needs to understand what an important part nutrition plays. There was no protein threshold that I tried to hit or fat level tried to avoid, I just ate everything!
IDS Sports.com Don't you think it is as hard for young athletes as well as the pro athletes to understand or even trust all the marketing hype that is out there?
JT: Wow, you have no idea how hard it is to decide and find opinions you can trust. And believe me it gets worse the higher the athlete's caliber. There are so many products out there that not even the industry guru's can keep up with it seems. Not only is it hard for an athlete to eat right but finding the right groups and time to eat will drive you crazy. The sad fact is high school is when the athlete's body needs the most help. College affords you (if your program allows) some guidance. The pros are offered help but so many people approach you to "help market" their product that sometimes hard to decipher who is legitimate and who is not.
IDS Sports.com Did you feel that you had to gain weight when you went to Nebraska?
JT: Absolutely, the years that I played at Nebraska my bodyweight was between 238 and 255.
IDS Sports.com How did your nutritional approach differ at the training table at Nebraska?
JT: I was fortunate to go to a college with an athletic program like Nebraska. Their training table was exceptional and we were given the opportunity to eat well and have access to supplementation. The sources of protein were better and more refined. My carbohydrates were cleaner with less sugars and more complex carbohydrates. I learned a lot about what to eat.
IDS Sports.com Whatever you learned, it must still be working. I have to tell you, you aren't looking like you weigh 250 right now, am I right?
JT: Yes, when I got to the pros I realized early on that I needed to put on some weight. My first year I weighed about 260 and they called me a "tweener".
IDS Sports.com I don't even want to ask, but, what is a "tweener"?
JT: A tweener is a scouting term used that means I was "between" the size of a linebacker and a defensive end. Which simply means that I was a little too big for a linebacker and not heavy enough for the defensive line. I actually remember the exact moment when I made the decision that I would arrive at camp my second year a completely different category of player. I heard an announcer named Mel Kiper say that "Jared Tomich had reached his body weight potential and it's too bad because he is a little light". That kind of struck a nerve like he was insinuating that I had reached my potential as a player. At that point I made up my mind that I would put some serious size on by the next season.
IDS Sports.com So did you arrive at camp a "little heavier"?
JT: You could say that, I reached 290 and at one time 300 pounds! It was before I got married and I was living with a buddy of mine who is a tackle on the Saints. We both had the same problem, we needed to put on weight. Well, I love to cook and, put it this way, our nightly snack was 12 eggs with one huge Jimmy Dean sausage each.
I guess I didn't realize just how successful I was at putting the weight on until Lisa and I attended a wedding. Well, when Lisa and I saw the pictures I was shocked! I felt like a slob! I asked Lisa why didn't she tell me how big I had gotten. I ended up cutting up a little and playing at around 285 that year. Now I go around 275 but my 40 speed is 4.68.
IDS Sports.com What are the main changes you make in your diet when you want to put some weight on or take it off, other than eggs and Jimmy Dean sausage?
JT: Really the key for me is to just increase the number of times that I eat during the day and slightly increase the size of each meal. If I want to cut weight I just reduce my carbohydrate intake from things like breads and starches while maintaining my protein levels. This way I can maintain my muscle mass while I lose excess fat. I really have no problem adjusting my weight and I have learned what I need to do to do it at a rate that my strength can adjust and I maintain my quickness. The heavier that I am the stronger I have to be to off set it, this allows me to stay quick on my feet.
IDS Sports.com Even with a quick first step and being considered a great college player, how much of a difference was there going from a top notch college program like Nebraska to the pros?
JT: It was a huge step. Some of the guys I play against have been in the NFL longer than I have been playing football. The intensity is much higher. Some of the players are older and some claim that they have lost a half a step, but their technique is unbelievable. And they're smart, if your going to be in a league like this and you expect to be around a long time you have to grow as a player every year. Even as a player you strives to develop a greater physical presence but you can't forget about growing as a smarter player. These guys know their business and you have to give them the utmost respect.
IDS Sports.com What type of supplements have you used over your career and what supplements have you remained with as part of your training regiment? (not brands)
JT: Supplements have always been part of my training over the years but usually only the basics like proteins and creatine. I never had time to keep up with the newest and latest until recently. I was introduced to Dr. Jeffrey Stout recently, and he has helped me to become more aware of new products and the correct nutritional program to help game day performance. I am convinced that educating myself on nutrition in regard to my own body and performance level will give me an advantage and I can be much more effective as a player. I just don't have time to read and educate myself on all of the newest and greatest things, let alone the bogus ones. He has been a great help lending his time and creating a plan to optimize my performance.
IDS Sports.com During the off-season do you make a continuous effort to change your diet or supplementation?
JT: I make some changes to my diet slightly by lowering my calories, and increasing supplementation to build strength and rebuild my body after the punishing season.
IDS Sports.com How do your workouts differ between on and off-season?
JT: During season our workouts in the weight room are much different. All exercises are 10-15+ reps to maintain our strength and help with tendons. The rest of the time is fairly short 60-90 seconds to help with our cardio, the workouts don't last long. During the off season the strength workouts are much heavier with longer rest periods. The idea is to get bigger and stronger. This programs really a building back process. We really first have to recover from the season and rebuild back to where we were before the season started and hope to maintain that size and strength through camp. Then we try to ad size and strength once we get there.
IDS Sports.com What are your some of your biggest concerns during the season about your body?
JT: My bodyweight obviously is one of my biggest concerns. I consciously try to maintain my weight but make sure it is good muscle weight. It is difficult because I am always either working out, practicing or playing a game during season. My other concern is staying healthy. My first injury so far was that I tore a calf muscle in training camp and tried to come back too soon. Ire-injured it and haven't really played at all until the Bears game last week. I was able to play about 25 plays during that game. I will be starting this week again and I am very close if not at 100% and I feel great.
IDS Sports.com Before I let you go, what are some of your overall feelings about your career, your aspirations and the future?
JT: Well, I always enjoyed and followed the career Howie Long with the Oakland Raiders. I think he was a great player so if I emulated someone as an athlete it would be him. I love the fact that he is just as successful and popular now as he was when he was playing. I am very conscious of the fate of most players once they leave the NFL. Statistics show that 50% of the NFL players retire without adequate pension planning, some are eventually broke. I feel very lucky to do what I do and my wife and I spend a lot of time planning our finances as we do our future. Lisa and I know that I have been very fortunate so far and that is just another reason to work hard and never take anything for granted. I have to do whatever I can to remain in top physical shape, by educating myself on training, diet and supplementation. The longer that I can stay healthy and strong, the better chance I will have to have a long fruitful career in the NFL.
IDS Sports.com I would like to thank you Jared for your time today. We look forward to watching your career in the future. Have a safe and successful season.
JT: Thanks, it was my pleasure.