During his teens, the great Boston Celtics man, Tacko Fall, consumed up to 7,000 calories a day. According to reports from his prep days in Florida, he ate whole pizzas topped with chicken and hamburger patties to keep the weight on a frame that would stretch 7 to 7 inches.
The strength and conditioning program at the University of Central Florida was put to the test because of Fall's stature and unique talent. During his four years on campus, his eating habits improved significantly and maintaining weight was no longer a problem thanks to the consistency in the weight room.
w in its second season with the Celtics, Fall recently introduced a flexible diet. While he is still adjusting to the new eating habits, he is now only focusing on the quality of the foods he is putting in his body, rather than the total amount.
Herbst talks about his partnership with Lightlife and how he can change his eating habits to make sure his body is properly fueled, the difficulties of maintaining the lifestyle change on the street, and his personal recipe “Tacko Tuesday “before Cinco De Mayo.
What made you adopt a more flexible diet and when did you decide to change it?
Last year my team came to me about the potential of partnering with Lightlife. At first I was a little skeptical because I had never tried anything vegan before. They sent me a couple of samples and I tried and it tasted pretty good. From there we started working together. They sent more products and I started to really like it. From that part on, I started getting into this type of diet more. The initial issues that I thought were the taste and I would be able to meet all of my nutritional needs. After all of my concerns were resolved, I started digging deeper into it and at that time I also wanted to cut down on the amount of red meat I was consuming so it was all perfectly timed.
So far I've been using the ground beef. My mom tried it too and she made some good meals with it. They also have burgers that they sent and they have breakfast options like sausages and all that stuff. You have different options that taste amazing. I really encourage people to go out and see them.
At 7 to 7 inches, you obviously need a lot more nutrients than the standard NBA player. In terms of calories per day, are you still focusing on a set number of calories per day?
w I'm really not looking at the number of calories I'm eating. It's more about the quality of my diet. Someone mentioned to me that I used to eat 7,000 calories a day in high school, but at the time my appetite was off the chain because I was still growing and definitely needed a lot of food. When I got to college, and especially when I got to the pros, my diet started to change, especially when I got to the weight I wanted to be at. I definitely didn't want to gain any more and just got smarter with what I ate. w it's not about quantity, but about quality. It is better to have small meals throughout the day than large ones.
Have you found it harder to maintain this lifestyle on the street?
Absolutely, but luckily the team gives us food along the way. Things have been a little limited since COVID started, but for the most part they did fine feeding us. Sometimes we get to a city very late and it is quite difficult at these times. The only option you really have is room service. When you are really hungry just choose the best food you can. Other than that, I think I did it pretty well.
What is the difference that you have felt since making this change, both when you are on the court and, in general, when going through workouts and your daily life?
Right now I can't tell because it's not like I've tried for a long time. The other day I was just talking to Jaylen (Brown) and Jabari (Parker) and asking how they feel after going vegan. Jabari told me at first it was hard and it took his body a while to get used to it, but after a while it got used to it. It might take me a while to see the real benefits. I definitely know from the people around me who have tried that once your body is fully used to it, it's definitely a different feeling.
Can you describe your typical pre-game routine, what time do you get up, what do you usually eat for breakfast, before and after the game?
I usually wake up and get ready for the shootaround. I go to the gym early so I can do some work before the shootaround. We can't practice much as the schedule is set up like this. I want to make sure I can get as much work as possible. Then I get a protein shake from the kitchen of the exercise facility. I will train for about an hour. Sometimes I also raise before the shootaround. Then I come home and order something to eat. After that, I take a two-hour nap and go to the arena early to get back to work. I'll lift if I haven't done it in the morning, and I'll shower and listen to music before the game. I also started praying before the game – so I'll do that and then it's game time.