Alim McNeill Gaining More Confidence After Changing Nutrition Habits

Alim McNeill

Getty Alim McNeill on the field for the Lions in 2021.

If the phrase “you are what you eat” is true, Alim McNeill is definitely healthy because that’s exactly how he’s been eating lately.

This offseason, McNeill is making the transition from a rookie to a second-year player For the Detroit Lions with a lot of folks depending on him for the defensive front. As a result, he knew he had to make some changes, and that’s exactly what he has done ahead of 2022.

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Gone are the days of the Doritos binges, and in its place has come a thoughtful approach to food, health and nutrition. The awakening has come as a result of a former teammate up front in Nick Williams, as well.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, June 7 after practice, McNeill was asked about his offseason approach and explained the gains he has been able to make thanks to some attention to detail about healthy habits.

“I worked with Nick Williams’ wife this offseason. She’s a nutritionist coach,” McNeill said. “She’s helped me with my eating, different environmental stuff too, like different products (and) stuff you use. (I’m) just taking that more serious, making sure I’m getting the right calories, the right foods in me, enough water, enough sleep, stuff like that. Cutting out the Doritos, so that’s pretty much what I was going on this whole offseason.”

Already, McNeill is feeling the gains of his new approach, and has felt good during offseason workouts.

“The first time I felt it was after day two of OTA’s. Day one everybody’s trying to get acclimated back, but day two I was like ‘okay now I feel a lot different.’ Feeling really explosive, I’m hydrated, stuff like that. I’m very attentive there so I definitely feel a lot (of) difference in last year,” he said.

Naturally, there have been some tough patches, especially when it comes to Doritos and the snack foods.

“Doritos (are) the hardest part I’m not gonna lie. Snacks and stuff like that and late night snacks, that was kind of hard at first 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,” McNeill joked.

McNeill is still allowed the occasional Chick-fil-a meal as well as a cheat here and there, but in the end, it will be worth all the change if he can sustain a winning approach. So far, that could be what is playing out.

McNeill’s New Lions’ Defense Should Help

With his new health approach boosting him, McNeill has begun to attack the season on the field with a newfound enthusiasm. That’s especially true given the team’s new aggressive and attacking defense could benefit him in a big way. Now, McNeill feels as if he can make more plays and impact the game in a bigger way from the defensive front.

“Just be able to play in the four down front, switch it up some, be able to hit gaps more, different blitzes, stunting across the center. Yeah, I was really excited,” McNeill said of the defensive approach.

Specifically, he admitted he likes the way the approach allows him to freelance more to perhaps make some bigger plays.

“You definitely get a lot more freedom. When I was in the zero last year, you have to stay on that center. You can’t really just side swipe him and let him go,” he said. “I can’t let him get up to the backers and stuff. With this, I’m able to just get off the ball and do what I do.”

McNeill did a nice job last year, so if he can be even more effective in 2022, that would be huge news for the Lions.

McNeill’s College Stats & Highlights

Entering his first season in the NFL, McNeill is bringing production with him to the big league. While playing for N.C. State, McNeill collected 77 tackles, 17.5 tackles for-loss, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 5 passes defended. He also scored 1 touchdown in his career. Obviously, those are the type of numbers that point to a guy who can move around and make a lot of plays along a front, which is just what he was able to do in his first season with the Lions. Last year, McNeill put up 39 tackles and 2 sacks and looked strong.

Here’s a look at some highlights of McNeill:

It sounds as if McNeill has a new approach and is feeling even better. That could be bad news for the competition, especially considering how solid McNeill already was as a rookie in the league.

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