SPARTANBURG If the Panthers ever do a bobblehead night for second-year defensive end Thomas Keiser, they may want to use a Chia Pet instead.
Keiser, 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, is a mass of muscle and he recently picked up a new addition to his health regimen.
He pours chia seeds the same seeds that can be found in the popular toy figurine into his water bottle and drinks it on a twice-daily basis. The seeds are a good source of fat, fiber and protein, and they absorb water.
Since theyre able to absorb 10 times as much liquid as their weight, youre able to keep water in your system longer or at least in your stomach longer because its not going to be flushed out, Keiser said. If you go and pound a water really quick, that can leave your system pretty fast. But this gives you a little more sustained hydration.
Keiser doesnt call himself a health nut but admits most everyone around him would give him that title. Starting tackle Jordan Gross referred to Keiser as an expert in nutrition supplements.
Keiser found the seeds when he went to a nutrition convention in Anaheim, Calif., in February. Since then, hes incorporated the seeds into his diet to stay hydrated.
Roughly a half-hour before a cardio workout, hell pour the seeds into a water bottle and shake it well until the seeds are suspended throughout the bottle. He repeats the process before he goes to lift. On some days when hes really busy, he uses a water, chia seeds and aloe vera pulp mix as a meal replacement.
You can get calories in your system besides a protein shake or Gatorade, he said. Even when youre not working out and youre unbelievably busy, you have something to sip on.
Keiser, who last year played in eight games for the Panthers and totaled nine sacks, said he hasnt faced one hydration issue this training camp. Some of his teammates, like rookies Nate Chandler and Ryan Van Bergen on Wednesday, have had to sit out for stints from cramping and heat exhaustion.
Hes tried to give advice to some of his teammates who have struggled with hydration, but he has yet to give out his chia seeds. Not surprisingly, Keiser got a few weird looks from fellow Panthers when he began taking the seeds.
They think Im crazy with my nutrition and all that stuff and were looking at me really funny, he said. (Linebacker Jon) Beason said to me, Youre not weird because youre doing this stuff. Youre being a professional and you have attention to detail and you realize what your body needs.
Instead of buying Chia Pets just to crack them open for their seeds, Keiser gets the seeds from any vitamin store, online or at Whole Foods. He hopes his training will pay off Saturday, and potentially bump him up from third string.
You train hard for football but your body makes it all possible to even do, he said. I just want to keep it functioning at the highest level possible for as long as possible.