Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Kevin Tolbert - Ken Leistner

 From Hardgainer 2.0, Issue 7

When Kevin Tolbert decided he wanted to do "everything necessary" to get bigger and stronger, I actually held him back for a while, due to his age. But we eventually struck an agreement, including the usual adolescent incentives related to good grades, chores, and so on. I also explained progressive training and eating to him. He proved to be an apt pupil. 

Kevin liked tuna at the time although it fell of his list of "haves" after three years of enforced tuna sandwich hell! We started with one sandwich but, in time, everyone in Malverne High School became used to the sight of an ever-expanding Kevin walking through the halls eating a tuna sandwich between classes. He received the support of many of his teammates, and numerous teachers looked the other way as Kevin gobbled his daily fare. 

Three sandwiches for lunch, five others "between periods," with half a sandwich eaten after each class; fruit or dried fruit eaten on the walk to school following breakfast; and a blender full of one of our gain weight drinks with breakfast, after dinner, and before bed. In addition to a hearty breakfast and dinner, all of that allowed for a massive caloric intake.

Kevin needed it because he insisted on running all year long, every year. Even at 220 pounds, he would begin the day, at least 4-5 times a week, with a run for 2.5 miles. The emphasis is on "run," not jog. He rarely overtrained doing this, and he never felt comfortable if he didn't do it. 

We handled a football all year round, running pass routes in the gym after classes had dismissed when the snow was on the ground. 

When Kevin entered the United States Naval Academy, he weighed a solid 190 and was 208 by the end of his freshman year. He was a cut up 220 by the start of his final football season and stabilized there while completing his active duty. 

Kevin spent his final year stationed in Philadelphia, where he oversaw the overhaul of his ship. We set out a pattern where he would train once a week in Philadelphia, and then drive home on Friday afternoons in order to train on Friday nights. Another workout was completed on Sunday mornings before he returned to Philadelphia for late night duty.

He ate a great deal of food while at home then. We routinely bought three chickens just for his weekend intake. Large bowls of pasta, rice or potatoes accompanied each formal meal and, because he was doing a great deal of running in preparation for a professional football tryout, a number of homemade cakes and breads. And all that was supplemented with shakes. 

Between September 1985 and March 1986, Kevin went from 220 to 248 pounds. At that bodyweight, he accomplished a 36 inch vertical jump from a standstill, and a 4.6 second 40-yard sprint time. At 220, he was timed at 4.53 for 40 yards at the Academy. 


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