PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Omari Spellman has had a life-changing year.
In Villanova’s Sweet 16 match-up against West Virginia alone, the power forward scored 18 points, eight rebounds and served up three blocks.
In helping to secure the 2018 National Championship title, he now says that he played at a level he didn’t think possible.
“While I shot the ball well this year I take tremendous pride in the way I defended for my teammates,” said Spellman.
He also takes tremendous pride in his physique.
“I like the pop I get in my arms,” he said with a flex, “I look in the mirror like, ‘Ohhh!'”.
But please don’t mistake success for vanity. He thinks back to his previous condition and likens it to, “playing with a 48-50 pound weight vest on.”
A red-shirt freshman, Spellman didn’t see any game time in the 2016-2017 season and instead used that period to drop nearly 50 pounds from his 6-foot nine-and-a-half-inch frame. That effort took him from 25 percent body fat to a mere 10 percent.
“It has helped me tremendously with my confidence in playing, my confidence in running the floor,” he said, “doing things that my teammates ask of me.”
The 20-year-old says that the weight loss brought out his true athleticism and that without it, he feels that he wouldn’t have played to the level worthy of a national title.
“A lot of people have misinformed ideas about what is actually healthy and what isn’t, but for me, I was blessed to have one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the country,” he said.
“Go get the hard-boiled eggs and when you have time get a meal,” said coach John Shackelton to Spellman following the interview and after learning that had little to eat for breakfast.
“For me what I teach our guys especially as athletes is balanced,” added Shackelton.
Shackelton is adamant that one hardly has to be a national champion to even an athlete to lose the way that Spellman did. The secret comes down to easy math.
“You need fats, proteins and carbohydrates in every meal,” he said.
Experts suggest, to start simply by trying to round out meals with making sure that they each contain 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent healthy fats and 30 percent protein.
Through this method (plus cutting out sugar and drinking only water) Spellman’s eyes were opened to a whole new way of fueling up.
“Do you have a new favorite food that you maybe weren’t eating before?” Eyewitness News Reporter Alexandria Hoff asked.
“Grilled Salmon!” replied Spellman. “I had never had grilled salmon which is one of my favorite meals now.”
As for cheat days, “I know what I can and cannot eat. So if I do have a cheat day, it’s just that day,” he says.
With the weight loss, Spellman is now eyeing up a possible NBA debut. For those of us not quite competing on that level, Schackelton says, don’t over think the workouts – especially at first.
“It doesn’t have to be extreme. For most people nowadays it’s going for a walk. So walk. And drink water!”