By Brad Walter - NRL.com Senior Reporter
St George Illawarra Dragons utility Jai Field has had to buy new clothes and put up with jibes about having a double-chin after eating his way from 72kg to 85kg since the start of last season.
Field, who estimates he gained about half of that 13kg during a six-week off-season break, has become the envy of teammates who are careful about keeping their weight down.
He has been placed on an eating program to help him bulk up as he tries to secure a regular position in the NRL side.
For the past 12 months, the Junior Kangaroos and NSW under-20s representative has been following a specially designed diet that requires him to eat around the clock.
"At the start, I was dead-set force-feeding myself," Field said. "Breakfast was the hardest, I'd wake up and be trying to eat, and it would take me half an hour, but then you get used to the amount of food you have to eat."
The 20-year-old's typical daily diet comprises of:
• A four-egg omelette for breakfast
• A morning snack
• Bread or pasta for lunch
• More pasta in the afternoon
• Steak or chicken with vegetables for dinner
• More pasta or bread before bed
In addition, Field drinks three protein shakes per day and milk with most meals.
"For breakfast, I was having like four-egg omelettes and heaps of milk, then I'd have a snack and more carbs like bread and pastas for lunch, and another snack – more pastas – before dinner," Field said.
"For dinner, I'd have some sort of protein, like steak or chicken, and vegies, and then more milk. I'd have a little break and then before I went to bed I'd have a little pasta or raisin toast and a protein shake. I was having two protein shakes during the day as well."
While has struggled to put on weight in the past, Field averaged a kilogram per week increase during the six-week break during the off-season – and he did it a way most of us can relate to.
"I left the season at 79kg and over that six or seven week break I didn't do a lot of running but I just stuck to my eating program and I came back 85kg," Field said. "It was like my body naturally put on weight."
The result has been a dramatic change to his body shape, which Field admitted has created challenges as he tries to bulk up without losing the speed which has him regarded as the fastest player in the Dragons squad.
"Last year I was 72kg and I was gliding along the ground doing it pretty easy but this year I am 13kg heavier than what I was. That's a fair bit of weight to put on in 12 months," he said.
"It was a shock to my system, my back was pretty stiff and sore, I had shin splints and everyone is saying I've got a few chins now.
"I had all small-to-medium shirts last year, but coming into summer now all the clothes I wore last year don't fit so I have had to get a whole new wardrobe."
Field is expecting to see benefits on the field as he vies for the St George Illawarra No.1 jersey left vacant when Josh Dugan departed for Cronulla.
After making his NRL debut in round 17 and playing two more first-grade games, Field is aiming for a regular position in the Dragons line-up but admits he needs to be stronger.
"Duges is gone now, so that's a spot that is up for grabs and hopefully I can try to compete for that spot," he said. "I need to get physically bigger to handle the contact. I was one of the lightest players going around last season so my body was pretty sore after games."