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Alejandro Villanueva on eating his way to 335 pounds: “You feel gross”

Michael David Smith

Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva was listed at 277 pounds when he first entered the NFL after a college football career at Army followed by three tours of duty in Afghanistan. That’s not big enough to be an NFL left tackle.

So Villanueva has a problem many people only wish they could have: He has to eat all the time just to get his body to stay at his desired weight. Villanueva said he’s currently working on getting up to 335 pounds, where he thinks he’s most effective, and has about five pounds to go.

It’s terrible,” Villanueva told ESPN. “I would say it’s harder than losing weight because you feel gross.”

Villanueva said he’s not even sure if he needs to eat so much to really be able to block NFL defensive linemen, but he feels more confident at a higher weight.

“I’m self-conscious about my weight, so I feel I need to be at 335,” Villanueva said. “If I feel I’m too light, I feel I’ll get lifted off the ground. With a solid 335, I can take on bull-rushes. But in reality, everything I just told you is not scientifically proven whatsoever and might have absolutely no effect on the game. It’s just a matter of confidence.”

Villanueva says he always loses some weight during the season, and has even dipped below 300 pounds at times. He is eating as much as he can now to keep himself on the right side of 300 for the next five months.