Detroit Lions nose tackle Alim McNeill worked with nutritionist Amy Migdalia this offseason to improve his nutrition, hydration and sleep.
Migdalia is the wife of former Lions defensive tackle Nick Williams.
Like many others, McNeill observed the dietary habits needed to become more disciplined entering his second season in the National Football League.
The 22-year-old found himself snacking a little too much on items like Doritos late in the evening.
Giving up comfort foods is oftentimes challenging, but was certainly needed in order for him to take the next step in becoming an elite contributor in the league.
“I’m not gonna lie, giving up snacks and stuff like that, late night snacks, that was kind of hard at first,” McNeill said at minicamp. “But, I was like, if I want to do what I want to do, I gotta sacrifice for now. I can get all the Doritos when I’m done.”
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The talented defensive lineman has already started to see the benefits out on the field, as he reported improved explosiveness and attentiveness last month at mandatory minicamp.
Detroit’s coaching staff is hoping that McNeill, along with Levi Onwuzurike, will be part of the team’s improved pass rush this upcoming season.
“Obviously, he can do a lot of different things. But, this is really going to get him one-on-one with some centers, you’re going to be able to seem more athleticism. He has really good playing strength. We’ve seen that. He doesn’t get knocked off the ball,” Lions defensive line coach Todd Wash said. “We want to see him continue to develop as a pass rusher. When some turns and protections, where he gets one-on-one, this scheme allows him to be on an edge and show his athleticism. So, I think the pass rush is really what we’re going to see out of Mac.”
Entering his second season, taking a more professional approach, along with the benefits of increased comfort in the Lions’ system, should allow McNeill to continue to impress Detroit head coach Dan Campbell and the coaching staff.
“Rookie year, everything is thrown at you so fast, it’s kind of hard to soak everything up,” McNeill said. “So, I helped myself this offseason by becoming more of a professional, taking things more serious — my eating habits, sleep, all that type of stuff. That’s helped me progress to where I am now. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but we’re getting there.”