Jon Beason was once one of the most coveted defensive talents in all of football. He was the second linebacker taken in the ’07 draft (Patrick Willis was the first), and he turned in back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons for Carolina in ’08 and ’09. But after an Achilles tendon injury in 2011 he found himself on the bubble, fighting for his job before ultimately being offloaded to the Giants in the early part of the 2013 season.

Since then, Beason is a man reborn, instantly revitalizing a foundering New York defensive front with his explosive, run- stopping power. The 6-foot, 235-pounder’s first game with the Giants saw him lead the team with nine tackles, including a brutal stick of none other than Adrian Peterson behind the line of scrimmage. “Football has no friends,” Beason says. “You play long enough, and you get hurt. What defines you is how you come back from that.”

Superstrict Approach to Eating

Naturally, training played a big part in Beason’s resurgence, though he says nutrition had an even more vital role.

“Learning how to eat really elevated my game,” says Beason, tipping his hat to bodybuilding-style dieting. “You have people who make their living off of how perfect they can make their body look. They weigh and measure everything and eat nine times a day…When you take that regimen and put it into an athlete’s body, you have something that can be pretty scary.”

Like a bodybuilder, Beason’s diet and supplementation regimen are superstrict, and he trains with a mindset that assumes every young buck is out to take his job.

“The best way to be is paranoid,” Beason says. “When I go to bed at night, I think about the competition. I want to be able to say, ‘I don’t know what that guy did today, but I doubt he did what I did.’ 

Beason’s Upper Body Workout

Beason trains with Pete Bommarito of Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami, FL. Bommarito designed this upper-body workout to build explosiveness, so follow the tempo guidelines. For example, in the first four sets of speed bench, follow a 0–1–0 tempo: Lower the weight quickly, pausing for a second at the bottom, then explosively press up.

EXERCISE                  TEMPO         SETS      REPS

Speed bench                0-1-0               4              3
                                        0-0-0               4              3

Pull-up                           2-1-1               4              10
Band Pushdown          1-1-1               4              Failure
DB Incline Row            2-1-2               4              10

Band Skull Crusher     1-1-1               4              10