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PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is almost as passionate about hunting as he is football, and therefore about the last person you would expect to find at a vegan restaurant. But the new Wentz isn’t like the old one when it comes to how he fuels and maintains his body.
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Wentz dramatically changed his diet and transformed his training regimen this offseason as part of an effort to put his recent injury history behind him. The early returns have been fruitful. He showed up to training camp several pounds lighter and noticeably leaner, and says he is feeling stronger.
“I can’t promise that nothing is going to happen this year, next year, whatever. This is football,” Wentz said in a conversation with ESPN. “But I can set myself up for success. Whether it’s avoiding big injuries, but just on a daily basis feeling better. Body feeling stronger. Feeling mentally better, too, at the same time. Just finding the right training regimen and rehabilitation regimen was a big part of it.”
Wentz took a deep dive on body wellness after a stress fracture was discovered in his back in December, the second significant injury in as many seasons for the 26-year-old QB. That process led to him assembling a team with multiple trainers, including a soft tissue specialist, and a nutritionist.
The nutritionist tested him for foods that he wasn’t compatible with or caused inflammation. When the results came back he was told to go gluten free, and to remove beef from his diet for two months — a big ask for the hearty North Dakotan.
“For me, that was like one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do,” Wentz said. “Couldn’t eat steak, eat a burger, those kinds of things. And then you slowly introduce some of those things back. It’s about portion-controlling it and not overdoing it within the diet. I think it’s helped me to just feel physically better and have more energy in things.
Safe to say, Wentz is pushing himself out of his comfort zone in search of better answers to the health questions that surround him. That includes his workouts, which have been significantly reshaped, focusing more now on mobility, flexibility and range of motion.
He described his old workout structure as “the high school/college mindset of just lift, lift, lift, work hard, work hard.” He is working out more than ever under this new format, but it includes more functional and purposeful movement as opposed to just hitting the weights for an hour-and-a-half straight.
That’s been an adjustment. So has transitioning to a gluten-free diet. Wentz is a big breakfast guy, but can no longer dig into some of his favorites like pancakes, waffles and biscuits. Pizza is out, too.
Wentz also notes that while he has enjoyed vegan food, he hasn’t gone completely green with his new diet.
“I’ve been to a few vegan restaurants now and every time I do I feel very weird,” Wentz said. “I literally have an outdoor show where we hunt and we eat. I feel weird like I’m almost leaving my man card at the door, but there is some great vegan food. We’ve eaten some and I do enjoy it. But no, meat is still very much in the diet.”
But good health is the priority, and Wentz feels he is putting his best foot forward in that respect entering the 2019 season.