OL Xavier Su’a-Filo gulping down protein

Here’s how Xavier Su’a-Filo is bulking up: three to four cups of whey protein dissolved in a shake, three to four times a day.

“I just continue to put down that protein like it’s nobody’s business,” he said. “It’s hard. You ever try to eat that much protein?”

The rising junior, already an All-Pac-12 first team selection last year, will enter the fall as arguably the conference’s top lineman. Capable of playing both guard and tackle, head coach Jim Mora called him “a rare football player.”

He’s accomplished this despite not being at peak strength as a sophomore, having spent two years on a Mormon mission in Alabama and Florida. The Pleasant Grove, Utah, native said that although he hasn’t gained much weight — up from 307 pounds to 310 — he feels significantly better after a winter workout program with strength coach Sal Alosi.

As a result, he’s caught less flack from his teammates too.

“There’s a lot of strong guys on our offensive line,” Su’a-Filo said. “They’ve noticed I’ve gotten stronger in the weight room so they don’t give me so much of a hard time. (Last year), they just didn’t understand how I could play and move out here, but in the weight room, they’re like ‘C’mon, man.’”

He’s also focusing on the nuances of his position as well. The 6-foot-3 lineman said he has a bad habit of “hopping around,” something offensive line coach Adrian Klemm has pointed out to him.

“Being deliberate with my footwork,” Su’a-Filo said. “Really working on staying square when I punch, whether I’m at guard or tackle. Those first few steps, flying off the ball, rolling my hips with it. Little stuff, but stuff that goes a long way.”

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  • Sam C

    love Su’a-Filo’s passion, dedication and preparation. Three to four cups of protein in one serving is like drinking mud. Eye of the tiger man!!!!!!!

  • RC3UCLA

    I’ve got to give credit where credit is due…Great work this week, Jack! Keep it up…

  • BruinTax

    I just hope we can keep him for 2 more seasons!

  • drakejr

    Joe Blow also takes in a lot of protein, from Lane Kiffin

    • http://twitter.com/FatBooster Joe Blow

      Your wife does as well.

  • Disgruntled Bruin

    The amount of bro-science here is hilarious. “Hey, if protein is a key building block of muscle; then if I take twice as much protein as I used to, I will gain twice as much muscle.” Sorry buddy, but it doesn’t quite work that way. For starters, if this guy weighs 307lbs and wants to gain muscle, all he needs is one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (LBM). As an offensive lineman I am assuming he is at least 20% body fat, if not more. So 307*0.80 = 245.6lbs of LBM. Assuming the average scoop of whey protein contains 20g of protein, and he takes 3-4 scoops, 3-4 times a day he is consuming 180-320g of protein from shakes alone. Let’s assume that his average daily intake from shakes is somewhere in the middle (250g); that is already more than he needs for the entire day and we haven’t even gotten to all the catered meals, In N’ Out, and Fat Sal’s that these guys eat (yes I was a student at UCLA, I know how these guys eat – it is not pretty). Additionally, a sustained diet this high in protein can lead to permanent kidney damage (nitrogen filtration as a byproduct of protein metabolism) without sufficient water consumption (which seems likely, as there is approximately 60-80g of protein “dissolved” in each protein shake – the average protein “shaker” can hold 20-25oz of water). Furthermore, humans can only absorb 40-60g of protein at one time, so unless this guy’s intestines are twice the normal length, a lot of the protein he consumes throughout the day will pass right through as waste; or, if it is absorbed will be converted to fat because sufficient levels of protein have already been reached to repair the actin-myosin bundles and to facilitate new muscle growth (this guy is probably farting/has to go to the bathroom to drop a deuce constantly; I can’t imagine he can make it through practice without having to go to the bathroom at least once). Additionally, the fact that all the protein that is being consumed is whey is laughable. Whey navigates the GI tract in a matter of 1.5 hours (and many whey protein powders contain enzymatically partially-digested whey protein which passes through the body at an even faster rate) which is why it is ideal for the post-workout window, but probably isn’t something that you would want to take throughout the day. A more intelligent approach would be to take a protein blend that contains a mixture of partially digested whey, whey protein, casein, and albumin for a sustained protein release of up to 8-12 hours so that the muscles have access to protein when they need it and the body is not being overloaded by huge bolus amounts of whey (it is not good to put the body through “roller coaster” levels of protein).

    As side note, it is rather funny (but also somewhat embarrassing) when it comes to what poor shape so many of these guys are in; especially considering all the free food, supplements, world-class trainers and facilities that these guys have access to. It is always amusing when a pack of football players (they are afraid to travel alone for some reason) rolls into the John Wooden Center sporting cutoff shirts (which unflatteringly reveal their guts) and attempt to “show-off.” Most of their “training sessions” (if you can even call them that as they last about 20 minutes) involve some combination of bench press and curls (and not much else). It is funny that while these “athletes” are trying to “peacock” they are never the biggest/strongest/most fit guys (or even close) at the student gym, despite their access to the previously mentioned advantages (free protein, food, training, etc). It is also amusing when they try to put as much distance between themselves and the UCLA students who are making them look bad.

    Although Jim Mora has begun to overhaul and institute change in the UCLA program, it still has a long way to go if they want to be anything greater than mediocre. The players need to take football seriously, it essentially is their job (between scholarships for tuition, housing, and food they likely receive $30-50k in compensation compared to students who are paying their own way – depending on whether they are from in-state or out-of-state. This compensation for playing a game is as much, if not more, than many of them will make from their first job, and should be treated as such).

    /end opinionated rant

    • IIWIICUB

      Do you even lift?