Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU left guard James Gmiter finally keeps on the extra pounds

MORGANTOWN — When you weigh around 300 pounds, it’s hard to believe “keeping weight” is a difficult task, but WVU offensive lineman James Gmiter, now in his fifth year with the Mountaineers, always ran into that issue.

“I had a hard time keeping it on the past two years,” he said.

Over the last two years, Gmiter was just under 300 pounds — a magic number for many Division I offensive linemen, as long as it’s healthy weight.

The problem for Gmiter was he never knew if he could play above 300 pounds because he could never stay above it. He’d hit a milestone, then immediately drop back below.

Heading into this season, Gmiter is a starter at left guard, one of five returning starters on the offensive line, well-entrenched on the field. So the biggest hurdle he wanted to make this off-season was to gain weight and keep it, and he’s been able to with the help of strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph and head nutritionist Haley Bishop.

Coming up with meal and recovery plans have gone a long way in Gmiter reaching 313 pounds, and keeping himself there.

“I eat probably four times a day and three snacks just to try to keep that weight on,” Gmiter said, after bringing a gallon of fluid into Wednesday’s media session, saying he needs to finish it within three hours. “We burn close to 5,000 calories in one practice, so I have to find a way to supplement that back into my body and keep it up. Sitting down with (Bishop and Joseph) really helped. Mike is one of the best in the country, if not the best. Haley is great with putting plans together and it really showed this off-season.”

It’s been an odd journey for Gmiter, who was about 320 pounds coming out of Bethel Park High in 2018, but after he got in a college weight strength program at WVU, it was a struggle to keep on the pounds.

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

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

“Having that extra weight gives you more power and once you get going, it’s harder to stop you and get push back,” Gmiter said. “The same thing with the pass game. If you’re getting a bull rush, you can just sit your weight down and you don’t really move. That was my biggest struggle I had. If I got a bull rush, I didn’t have much weight to sit down. I’m about the same weight as a defensive lineman running full speed at me.”

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

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

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