More Than Half a Ton Shed in Hog Football Chat Weight Loss Challenge

By Austin Hersh

The Hog Football Chat is a weekly chat on Twitter geared towards offensive line play. The chat was started in 2015 as a branch off of the @Txhsfbchat originally with the intent of serving offensive line and defensive line topics. According to co-founder Tony Shiffman, offensive line coach of Lake Forest College, the DL themed chat “failed miserably so we stuck specifically to OL after that.” Learn from coaches at all levels and tune into the chat using #hogfbchat on Monday nights at 9 p.m. EST during the off-season.

The Weight Loss Challenge

During a chat geared towards health and nutrition, a challenge amongst the coaches to see who could lose the most weight emerged. With the guidance of Tymon Gilliland, offensive line coach for the Chaparral Pumas (Calif.), the challenge came alive with a spreadsheet and defined rules. The challenge ran from March 1 to June 1 with the winner being determined by the highest percentage of body weight loss. A total of 168 coaches from over 30 states, Mexico, and Canada signed up to participate. As a group, a total of 1470 pounds were lost.

The Winner: Garett Tujague

Garrett Tujague has been the offensive line coach at the University of Virginia for four years. He began his football journey as an offensive lineman at Chabot College, eventually transferring into BYU. While at BYU, he contributed to a top-25 final ranking and protecting Heisman Trophy winner TY Detmer. Since his time as a player, he has been a coach for 27 years. He cites the “discipline that he was taught in high school, in junior college, and BYU by Lavell Edwards. There’s nothing that can replace that, so if I’m able to make a difference in one young man’s life like my coaches were able to do that for me” as reason to keep him coming back to coach each year.

The Challenge

During the course of the three-month challenge, Coach Tujague lost 71 pounds or 22 percent of his body weight. Coach Tujague read the book “StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath and found that one of his strengths is competition. He cites his competitiveness as reason for taking part in the challenge. Coach Tujague reflected that he has gone through weight fluctuations throughout life, just as anyone, but what made this challenge different was that “he had to weigh in every week and it was holding him accountable.”

His Secret

Intermittent fasting. Instead of a diet or workout plan, he calls it “a way of life.” During the day he will have an 8-hour window of eating and a 16-hour window of fasting. Tujague states, “The key to the whole thing is when you come up on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th hour, I flush my body of insulin and starts to feed on the fat.” He tried to keep a balanced diet including meat and greens, while still sneaking in his favorite, Diet Mountain Dew. If he was craving something that was overly indulgent, he would save it for his cheat window on Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. All of the meals he had, he tracked using the app, Loseit. This wasn’t new for him because he has a streak of over 1,200 days tracked. For the majority of the challenge, he was on the recruiting trail which added a layer of difficulty. While taking flights and managing hotel stays, he made conscious food choices got his recommended fitness through his Apple watch.

Recommendation to Help Others Lose Weight

“Like Jocko says, ‘Discipline equals freedom.’ You have to make up your mind if you want to make a healthy choice to live longer.”

Coaching Wisdom

“Always be willing to perfect your craft, always be willing to learn.” He also offered the advice, “If you’re by a college, go visit them during spring ball.”

Follow Tony Shiffman on Twitter @CoachShiffman

Follow Tymon Gilliland on Twitter @TGilliland57

Follow Garett Tujague on Twitter @Coach2J