Here’s What Happens When A Regular Human Tries J.J. Watt’s Diet

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J.J. Watt is a superhuman physical specimen. I, on the other hand, am not. That being said, I’m pretty sure I can cram a ton of food into my stomach for the sake of a stupid Internet article. And that’s why we’re here.

After researching J.J. Watt’s diet, I purchased the ingredients to make the typical meals he eats in an average day. Now, Mr. Watt supposedly consumes 6,000-9,000 calories per day, so I felt I had to swing for the fences and aim for nine grand. Anything less would be disappointing, and anything below 6,000 would be pathetic and shameful. Here’s how it all went down.


Breakfast is first. J.J. eats a massive breakfast. So large, in fact, that his first meal of the day is split into two parts. The first breakfast consisted of the following:

Five eggs: I actually love eggs, so this wasn’t much of a challenge. The only weird part was not having several strips of the egg’s trusty sidekick bacon nearby. But the bacon would come later.

Whole wheat pancakes: These were surprisingly delicious which was actually unfortunate, because now when I have regular pancakes that hold zero nutritional value, I’ll know there are better alternatives out there. I liked being naïve and eating my pancakes without wheat, drenched in syrup.

An apple and a banana: I always forget how good bananas are because they don’t appeal to me as much as other fruits, like “by the foot” and “roll-ups.” Anyway, I definitely ate the sticker on the apple, but one of those Twitter random facts accounts said it was edible, so that must be accurate.

Hash browns: I forgot to prepare these initially, so I had to eat them immediately after I’d finished the rest of the food. I wanted to put ketchup on them, but didn’t want to stray too far away from J.J.’s actual diet. This was the worst part of Breakfast: Part 1 (other than the dirty dishes).

Orange juice and water: I don’t think I’d had orange juice since years ago, back when I’d eat McGriddles, and McDonald’s offered some OJ to wash down the shame with. It was refreshing.

Upon completion of the first breakfast, I didn’t feel particularly full. In fact, I was ready for more. Was my appetite as large as Mr. Watt’s? Had I bitten off an amount that I could actually chew? It sure seemed that way. And damn, those whole wheat pancakes were good.


The second breakfast was a bit smaller, and went like this:

Oatmeal: It wasn’t that I was excessively full, but more that my taste buds and brain had zero interest in oatmeal. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve never been able to fully enjoy it. It’s like “Game of Thrones” for me, in the sense that many people love it, but I just can’t. But that wouldn’t stop J.J., so down it went.

Five eggs: Oh god, I’d just binge-eaten some eggs earlier. When you love a song, you only want to hear it so many times in a row before you’re like, OK, this is ruining it for me. Same goes for eating eggs.

Wheat toast: I had zero interest in a slice of bread at that particular time, so I folded it taco-style and stuffed it in my mouth like one of those hotdog-eating competitors does with the bun. It helped get the job done, but I was not liking where this challenge was going. Wait, I mean, this is going great!

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During the time I spent between breakfast and lunch waiting to eat more, something happened. Something not so pleasant. Those ten eggs I’d eaten had found their way to the sensors in my stomach that let me know it’s full. Still, it was only lunchtime, and there was a long way to go. No time for second-guessing or weakness. The lunch went as follows:

Ham and turkey sandwich on wheat bread, with avocado: Eating this sandwich was the first time during the challenge that I felt completely over food. I overestimated how enjoyable and beneficial avocado would be. I think I was imagining the guacamole from Chipotle, but this wasn’t even close. The sandwich was filling, and the dryness of the bread required a lot of water to wash down, which made me feel even fuller.

Mashed sweet potatoes: I literally just nuked a sweet potato and violently mashed it with a fork, so I’m not sure my version was as calorie filled, or delicious, as it potentially could’ve been. Still, I actually enjoyed my struggle with the sweet potatoes… for the first two bites. After that, they were just a mushy roadblock standing in between 9,000 calories and I.

Broccoli: Yeah, so, this was the worst. THE. WORST. As a kid I’d pretend that I was a giant and the broccoli was a tree to make eating it interesting, but no imagination could salvage my broccoli consumption on this day. What have I done?

I finished the entire lunch, but barely. I was emotionally drained. However, I didn’t feel the shame and disgust you feel after eating $10 worth of fast food at 2 a.m. It was a healthier fatigue. On the one hand, I could’ve easily plopped in bed and taken a three-hour nap, but at the same time I felt capable of easily going for a three-mile run. I’d imagine this feeling could be re-created by washing down a handful of sleeping pills with an energy drink.

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I had zero interest in making and/or eating these. They’re not your average pancakes, because they contain “steel-cut oatmeal, cottage cheese, eggs and cinnamon,” so they’re gnarlier than the whole wheat ones I’d had in the first breakfast. Also, it says J.J. Watt eats “some.” I don’t know how many, but that would mean at least two, right? Maybe three? I prepared three, doubtful they’d be consumed consecutively. Here’s how pancake time went:

Gnarly Pancakes: I was in so much physical discomfort before I even started, but after the first bite it was evident that my stomach didn’t have the dimensions to fit much more in it. I had random shooting pains in my side that I imagined were like physical push notifications, notifying me that it was time to stop eating. I tried to stretch –- that didn’t help. I tried chugging water –- that didn’t help. I tried to lie down and do some variation of pregnancy breathing techniques –- that didn’t help (though, it gave me even more respect for pregnant women who are uncomfortable and in pain and giving birth to human life, whereas I was dramatically struggling because I’d eaten too much breakfast).

This was the first task I failed, and it wasn’t like an, “I’ll gather my composure and come back to conquer this 9,000 calorie challenge.” It was more like, “Nope, I have broccoli creeping up the back of my throat and my body hurts. I’m done.”

I was disappointed in my shortcoming, but felt I had to admit defeat, because the goal was simply unattainable without vomit/death/vomit & death being consequences. I could just see the headline on MSN’s homepage:

“Arizona Man Dies After Attempting NFL Superstar’s Diet”

The top comments would all be like, “This idiot had no business trying a pro athlete’s diet,” and “This is just natural selection running its course.” And my ghost would be scrolling through and upvoting them, while nodding in agreement.

Still, 84 percent of my motivation for trying this diet was the fact that J.J. Watt eats bacon-wrapped chicken breasts, so dammit, I continued on to dinnertime.


Now, here’s how ESPN explained J.J. Watt’s diet:

“If he ate eight chicken breasts in one meal, Arnett suggested he wrap three of them in bacon. Daily. That meant adding mashed sweet potatoes, more pasta, fish, olive oil and coconut oil in his cooking and avocados. ‘I started crushing avocados,’ Watt said. His calorie count rose to somewhere between 6,000 and 9,000 calories per day, depending on how active he was each day. Watt opted to keep his own meal plan a secret, but it would take about 50 slices of bacon, 20 chicken breasts and 13 whole avocados to reach 9,000 calories.”

Since I already knew I wasn’t capable, I held off on making pasta, fish, and all that other jazz. I prepared two bacon-wrapped chicken breasts and prepared my taste buds for a journey, despite the fact that my fullness would be a huge damper. It was like going on a trip to Vegas, except you’re under 21 and you’re going with your parents.

Bacon-wrapped chicken breast: If there’s one thing you take from this entire, senseless, massively failed attempt at a day of J.J. Watt’s diet, it should be that BACON-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS ARE THE MOST UNDERRATED FOOD COMBINATION EVER. Together they make an amazing tag team, working to hit you with so many flavors and so much happiness. No exaggeration, I’m an awful cook and they were still phenomenal. There’s life before trying a bacon-wrapped chicken breast — eating to live — and there’s life after experiencing a bacon-wrapped chicken breast — living to eat.

All in all, I was unable to reach 9,000, or even 6,000 calories, which makes me feel shame. But is that really a shocker? A guy who regularly skips breakfast and often forgets to eat so he consumes one large meal a day couldn’t match the calorie intake of a huge, well-conditioned, professional athlete? Who’d a thunk it? If you ask me, the biggest surprise of this entire experiment is the fact that I’ve made ZERO puns with J.J.’s name, even though they’re sitting there, begging me to. That’s Watt I’m most amazed by.

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