At 6’5” and 288 pounds, there’s no wonder why the Texans’ defensive end packs away close to 9,000 calories a day. With his speed, size, and strength Watt’s body needs the right amount of fuel to tackle a workout and get through a game. Trainer Brad Arnett, noticed back in February that Watt’s performance was slacking, and Watt picked up on it.

Watt says, “My body was grabbing for something that wasn’t there. It was trying to fuel itself with no fuel.” The solution: cheat days and more calories. Arnett explained to Watt that if he were going to down several chicken breasts in one meal he had to to wrap them in bacon, daily. Upping the fat, also meant doubling the portion sizes of mashed sweet potatoes, pasta, fish, and avocados. Watt was eating avocados like it was his job.

Since that day back in February, Watt’s calorie count has drastically increased between 6,000 to 9,000 calories a day, depending on his activity. Fifty slices of bacon, 20 chicken breasts, and 13 whole avocados, Watt was soon nearing 9,000 calories. Soon enough, cheat days came back into the picture, and brunch became a weekly food regimen. “Brunch is my favorite meal, had a massive potato pancake omelet. Then I had stuffed French toast with berries and stuff. The omelet is still pretty darn healthy. The stuffed French toast was the cheat meal, but that was delicious,” says Watt.

Adding to his list of favorites: barbecue. Watt became close with chef Ronnie Killen, ownder of Killen’s Barbecue, which was also named one of America’s top five barbecue places by the Food Network. Killen mails Watt smoked turkey and lean cuts of brisket. And Watt is not a fan of sauces, keeping the meat simple.

Watt is not the only althlete to splurge on calories. Back in ’08, swimmer Michael Phelps was eating up to 12,000 calories a day while training for the Beijing Olympic Summer Games. But eating 9,000 calories for Watt isn’t easy, “If I’m not working out, I eat the whole time I’m not working out. It’s exhausting. You have to force-feed.”

Watt only saw food as fuel when he started with the NFL, following a lean, low-carb diet. That diet worked then because it helped him become a two-time defensive player of the year and league MVP candidate, but now that diet doesn’t suffice. Watt worked with his trainer Arnett, and made a few changes: upping the calories and throwing in cheat meals. Soon enough, Watt had more energy and the extra fat content was helping his body absorb nutrients from other meals — allowing him to now crush workouts and training camp.