Offensive line coach drops 60 pounds for health reasons

Navy offensive line coach Chris Culton had weighed more than 300 pounds for more than half his life. But a routine physical examination and stern words from his doctor convinced him he needed to change his ways.

"She read me the riot act," Culton said. "I got threatened with diabetes, and that scared me."

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Navy scrimmage
When » Saturday, noon
Where » Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
What » This is Navy's first scrimmage of the preseason and will be open to the public. It is free, but there is a $5 fee to park at the stadium. The stadium also will host a Baltimore Ravens practice session on Sunday at 5 p.m. Admission is free, but it will cost $10 to park.

Eight months and 60 pounds later, Culton knocks in at 245. Last fall he was heavier than all the players he coached. This year, he's lighter than them all.

"I was happy," senior tackle Andrew Barker said. "He was real intimidating when he was that big. He seems nicer now that he's smaller."

Culton, 35, had known nothing but being big. He reached 300 pounds at age 17. During spring practice of his freshman year at Georgia Southern, he suffered a neck injury that ended his playing career. Culton remained with the program as a student assistant coach through his graduation, starting a lifestyle that challenges the physical condition of many coaches -- long hours, lots of travel, little time to exercise and meals on the run.

Culton wasn't gaining weight. But holding steady at just over 300 pounds wasn't healthy. His doctor's assessment was sobering news, especially considering he and his wife, Amanda, have four young children.

"I want to be around for them," Culton said. "My doctor said I was living a life of excess for too long. I had to get my stuff in gear."

Culton's new mantra is "portion control." He actually eats meals more often and regularly. But they don't resemble his previous portions. Instead of a footlong sandwich from Subway, Culton will get a 6-incher, cut it in half and save some for later. Culton also makes sure to set aside 30 minutes a day for some sort of cardio workout.

"I feel better. I've got energy. I can play with the kids," Culton said. "Walking down steps in the morning, that used to kill me."

Culton is serving as an inspiration for his players, though most of them have the opposite goal when it comes to their weight, especially this time of year during two-a-day practices in the August heat.

"He's doing what I hope to do when I'm a senior after the football season's over," said junior tackle Graham Vickers, who's 6-foot-1, 280 pounds.

"A lot of these guys aren't naturally 260 pounds, 270 pounds," Culton added. "For me to be healthy, I have to concentrate on what I'm eating. For them to be at the weight they need to be, it's the same thing. They have to have that same dedication to keep their weight up."