The secret behind Auburn running back Kam Martin’s added weight? PB&J sandwiches

The secret behind Auburn running back Kam Martin’s added weight? PB&J sandwiches

Kam Martin weighed a mere 172 pounds when he arrived at Auburn last summer — far from the ideal size of a Southeastern Conference running back.

Since enrolling in classes at the end of June, however, Martin has made it his mission to add some bulk to his 5-foot-10 frame. The rising sophomore has added 16 pounds over the last nine months, and he is up to 188 pounds as Auburn enters the final week of spring practices.

So, what has been the key to Martin’s steady, and wanted, weight-gain? A childhood staple, no less.

“Braden Smith, he told me I have to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day before I go to bed, so I took that,” Martin said.

PB&J sandwiches: a simple concoction about as American as apple pie and a grade-school cafeteria essential has become commonplace among athletes. Last month, ESPN The Magazine published a lengthy feature¬†highlighting how the sandwiches have taken over the NBA and become a “secret addiction” throughout the league.

At its core, the PB&J sandwich fills some key dietary needs for athletes, who are highly active. The sandwiches have high-caloric value, plenty of carbohydrates, fats and protein.

When it comes to Martin, not just any PB&J will do. The speedy Auburn running back, like everyone when it comes to that snack, has his preferences.

“I eat grape jelly,” Martin said.

Smith, Auburn’s starting right tackle, recommended Martin go with Peter Pan brand peanut butter. Martin heeded that advice, but one very important question remained: Creamy or crunchy peanut butter?

“Creamy,” Martin said, matter-of-factly.

While the PB&J sandwiches have helped Martin’s plan to pack on some extra pounds, they haven’t been solely responsible for his newfound size. Martin credited Auburn’s nutritionists, as well as strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell for the work they have done with him since the summer.

It’s a very precise science at Auburn, where Martin noted that players wear tracking software during practices to gauge how much activity they have performed, distance they have run and how much weight they lost during the course of the workout.

“We have a nutritionist that tells us what we need to eat, and then we have like GPS’s that tell us how much weight we lose at practice, and they’ll tell me like, ‘Kam, you need to eat three plates at dinner,'” he said. “I’ll be like, OK, I have to eat three plates, and I’ll eat it just so I can get all the weight that I lost and get it back.”

Martin’s diet has consisted of chicken, “lots” of potatoes and, of course, plenty of PB&J sandwiches — including one before bed, as Smith recommended.

They key to it all for Martin has been the fact he hasn’t lost a step when it comes to his speed. The former national-record-setting high school track star has not only maintained his top-end speed at his new weight, but he said he feels faster this spring.

Speed has been Martin’s biggest asset as a running back. He rushed for 320 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries last season while averaging 7.27 yards per carry as the Tigers’ No. 3 running back behind Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson. Martin also caught two passes for 52 yards in 2016.

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“He hasn’t lost his speed, so that’s been a real asset there,” Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton said. “He needs to get bigger because the pounding aspect, the protection aspect, that’s something that he can improve on. By gaining that weight and keeping his speed I think eventually he can be 195-pound back, which is, I think that’ll be good enough in this league.”

That’s the ultimate goal for Martin ahead of next season as he competes with Malik Miller and walk-on C.J. Tolbert for reps as the third running back in 2017. Martin hopes to add seven more pounds by the end of summer and get up to 195 while also improving on his lateral quickness — adding shiftiness to his downhill speed in order to make him more elusive in the open field.

Martin said he’s in no hurry to add the additional pounds, that they’ll come “gradually” this offseason. It is a process, after all — one that includes ample PB&J sandwiches.

“He’s got a great head on his shoulders,” Horton said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s conscientious. He wants to be great. He’s very coachable. I think there’s a lot of good things ahead for Kam Martin.”

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Published at Sun, 02 Apr 2017 17:01:00 +0000