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“He’s Incredible, He’s Impressive”: Former NFL Defensive End J.J. Watt Marvels at Michael Phelps’ Natural Talent

Published 11/16/2023, 6:15 AM EST

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Are there any superlatives that have not been used to describe Michael Phelps? The legendary swimmer has a wingspan eight centimeters longer than his massive frame, which stands at 6’4″ (1.93 m). He made a new friend in former NFL defensive end J.J. Watt. Watt heard Phelps reveal one major secret, or lack thereof, behind his dominance in the pool. He relayed the same on the Pat McAfee Show.

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J.J. Watt, who played for the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals, was one guest on this episode of the show. He revealed, perhaps without meaning to, that he and Michael Phelps had nicknames for each other now. Watt’s next revelation shocked the socks off the show’s host, so much so that McAfee shared that clip featuring the same on his X handle.

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In the clip, J.J. Watt also revealed that Michael Phelps has not taken a single supplement throughout his life. The defensive end was shocked to hear Phelps had crafted his physique without relying on them. Watt said, Phelps has never taken a supplement in his life. No creatine, no aminos, no protein, nothing. That guy dominated the world, with, whatever, 400 gold medals, zero whey protein, zero creatine, nothing … I said three times, ‘Dude, I don’t believe you. I literally do not believe you.’ He said, ‘No. Nothing. Zero’ … He’s incredible, he’s impressive.”

Michael Phelps consumed 10,000 calories on a daily basis to keep himself fit and firing for competition. That helped him secure a record 28 medals on the Olympic stage, including 23 golds. The most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps had only eight percent body fat despite eating enough for five average people daily. Phelps now has other ventures to keep him busy. One such plan starred Watt’s one-year-old, Koa.


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Who is Koa Watt’s swimming coach?


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Michael Phelps offered to teach J.J. Watt’s son to swim. It was an offer that blew Watt’s mind. He narrated that exchange in the clip shared. Watt said, This was a cool thing, this was like, a celebrity name-drop thing. My son’s one. He said, ‘Bring your son. We’ll teach him how to swim.’ I was like, ‘Yep. I will bring my son and you will teach him how to swim. That would be awesome, thank you.’”

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Pat McAfee jocularly responded with the question, “Who is Koa’s swimming coach?” Watt had a quip locked and loaded. He said, almost matter-of-factly, Michael Phelps. Who’s his golf coach? Jon Rahm. Who’s his soccer coach? Kealia Watt and Julie Ertz. Oh, great. That’s great. I hope this kid turns out to be fr**g awesome.” Only time will tell if Koa Watt might walk the same path and hit the same heights as his swimming coach.


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Michael Phelps has also been vocal about his mental health struggles. He needed multiple therapy sessions to enable him to live his life to the fullest after retiring. Phelps has spoken about the benefits of therapy, as well. Suffice it to say, his life has shone as a beacon of inspiration in other ways, too, besides his professional achievements.

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Written by:

Anirudh Haridas


One take at a time

I am Anirudh Haridas and I am a US Sports Writer at EssentiallySports. As a stalwart ice hockey fan, I delved into the US Sports arena, driven by the phenomenal pace of the sport. From creating insights on various Olympic avenues like surfing and swimming to covering stories around equestrian and rodeo sports, I bring versatility to my writing.
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