WVU left guard James Gmiter finally keeps the extra pounds off

Aug. 5 – MORGANTOWN – When you’re around 300 pounds, it’s hard to believe “keeping the weight off” is a tough job, but WVU offensive lineman James Gmiter, now in his fifth year with the Mountaineers, still met this issue.

“I’ve struggled to keep it over the last two years,” he said.

For the past two years, Gmiter weighed just under 300 pounds, a magic number for many Division I offensive linemen, as long as it’s a healthy weight.

The problem for Gmiter was that he never knew if he could play above 300 pounds because he could never stay above it. He had taken a big step, then immediately fell back below it.

Heading into this season, Gmiter is a starter at left guard, one of five returning starters on the offensive line, well-grounded on the field. So the biggest hurdle he wanted to overcome this offseason was gaining weight and keeping it off, and he was able to do that with the help of strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph and nutritionist in Chief Haley Bishop.

Developing meal and recovery plans went a long way in getting Gmiter to 313 pounds and staying there.

“I’m probably eating four times a day and three snacks just to try to keep this weight off,” Gmiter said, after bringing a gallon of liquid to Wednesday’s media session, saying he had to finish it within three hours. “We burn close to 5,000 calories in one practice, so I have to find a way to put that back into my body and sustain it. Sitting with (Bishop and Joseph) has really helped. Mike is one of the best of the country, if not the best. Haley is great at putting plans in place and that really showed this offseason.”

It’s been an odd journey for Gmiter, who weighed around 320 pounds out of Bethel Park High in 2018, but after going through a college bodybuilding program at WVU, it’s been hard to keep the weight off.

He moved from the defensive line to the offensive side after his redshirt year in 2018, when the new coaching staff under Neal Brown took over. Since then, he has started 25 games over the past three seasons, including 13 last year.

So why does he want to stay around 313 pounds before the season opener at Pitt on Sept. 1?

“Having that extra weight gives you more power and once you’re there it’s harder to stop and push back,” Gmiter said. “The same with the passing game. If you get a scramble, you can just sit your weight down and you don’t really move. That was my biggest struggle I’ve had. If I got a scramble, I don’t have a lot of weight to sit in. I weigh about the same as a defensive lineman running full speed towards me.

The extra weight doesn’t seem to slow it down either.

“I’m also the fastest I’ve been in a while,” Gmiter said. “I gained weight, but also increased my speed and strength. I can feel a difference so far in training.”

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