Justin Thomas has improved his diet

Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas answers a question during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas answers a question during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas isn’t above grabbing the occasional bag of potato chips, but said his eating habits are improved as he goes into his senior season.

“Just trying to get more fit, more healthy,” Thomas said Thursday at the ACC Kickoff. “I can see the results. I feel a lot better, and hopefully it helps me out a little bit.”

Thomas said he has cut down on his fast food and sugary snacks. In the past, he said he ate out every day, feeding on fried chicken and fried fish. If he does go out, he chooses salads.

“I have my cheat days,” he said. “You can’t just stop altogether, but I cut back a lot from that, though.”

Leah Thomas, who directs Tech’s Total Person Program and provides guidance on nutrition, said that Thomas had specific questions for her in the spring after she gave a lecture series on nutrition. Most were about sugar intake. She said that she also noticed Thomas more frequently in the team nutrition center, where players can pick up healthy snacks, than she had in the past. Thomas gave credit to strength and conditioning coach John Sisk and his staff for backing up her own advocacy and said that the team as a whole understands better the benefits of proper eating habits.

“Kudos to (Thomas), though, for focusing on that piece of his training,” Thomas wrote in an e-mail. “Speaks to his commitment and character.”

The team had its body-fat percentage tested on Wednesday, and he said he was down to nine percent from 11 or 12 percent.

“When we’re out there running, the body’s not breaking down as much,” he said. “Just being able to not get tired as easily. Just the definition of my body in general.”

It’s a common transformation, one that often occurs for college athletes as they mature and realize the importance of nutrition and eating better. Thomas being in better shape obviously bodes well. The longer he can play in peak form, the more likely he is to make big plays late in games and avoid injury.

“I felt like I needed change, to do something different, and just trying to stay as healthy as possible,” he said.

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