Over the course of his 13-year NFL career, all of it spent with the Baltimore Ravens, Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was known as one of the league’s hardest workers. Turns out he’s been keeping just as busy in retirement, shedding over 60 pounds from his 6’4” frame. Yanda’s remarkable transformation—he dropped from 312 pounds to a svelte 245 in the span of three months—wasn’t easy, requiring a strict diet and an equally stringent exercise routine.
Favoring his wife’s Peloton, the eight-time Pro Bowler began riding the stationary bike 45 minutes a day in addition to walking four miles around his neighborhood five times a week. Yanda told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley he also fits in a daily sauna session. With the help of Chris Doyle, a strength coach at the University of Iowa (Yanda’s alma mater), the 35-year-old made significant alterations to his diet, lowering his daily calorie consumption from 6,000 to 2,200. Diet staples include his preferred chicken breast (but in much lower quantities than before), turkey, Greek yogurt, blueberries, greens, tuna, tomatoes and baby carrots. Yanda will indulge in a cheat day every now and again (brisket and double cheeseburgers still make weekly appearances), but the former Raven can’t eat like he used to.
“I’m so damn uncomfortable,” said Yanda, describing how he feels after cheat meals now. “My stomach is all in knots.” Yanda’s hard work and discipline have paid off tremendously. Clean-shaven for the first time in years (he’d been growing a beard since 2013), the likely Hall of Famer has cut six inches off his waist (he’s down to a size 38) and claims this is the lightest he’s been since his sophomore year of high school.
Transforming his figure has been a priority for Yanda, but he’s still found time for leisure activities in his post-football life. Yanda recently took a trip to Mexico, where the former O lineman netted a 270-pound yellow-fish tuna (he spent 90 minutes reeling it in), easily the biggest catch of his career. The father of three also has an Instagram now, though so far he’s only shared one post.
Inspired by former teammate Matt Birk, who has trimmed off 75 pounds since retirement, the slimmed-down Yanda is rightfully proud of his new appearance. “I actually have a chin line,” Yanda discovered. “I like to feel the wind on my chin and my face. It’s nice to have a change."
Yanda remained sturdy as ever in 2019, garnering recognition as a second-team All-Pro, but years of injuries (he’s undergone 13 operations) had taken their toll, prompting the Iowa native to call it quits. “If you want to do it, you’ll do it. It’s how bad you want to,” said Yanda of his new fitness journey. “People want to talk about it, but at the end of the day, do you really want to? That’s important.”