Joe Greenwood's planned pre-season weight gain has been fast-tracked by the Titans and the Englishman says it has helped him to adjust to the weekly wrestle found within the NRL.
A late inclusion in the 2017 squad when he was involved in a virtual player swap from St Helens in the Super League with former Titan Zeb Taia, Greenwood weighed in at 102 kilograms when he landed on the Gold Coast.
A plan was immediately put in place to add bulk to his frame with the intent to see the more dramatic changes take place after his rookie season with the club but the 23-year-old has already increased his playing weight to 107kg and says he feels both stronger and fitter.
When he lines up in the back row for the Titans against the Wests Tigers at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday it will be Greenwood's 17th appearance of the season and 10th in a row in the starting team and he has quickly become a key part of Gold Coast's forward pack.
Admitting he was concerned the extra weight would slow him down, Greenwood said the strength program devised by Sean Edwards and the diet plan formulated by Travis Ronaldson has ensured he can get through 80 minutes as he has done in eight of his past nine games.
"I sat down with the nutritionist and the strength and conditioning coach when I first came over and they said they wanted me at a certain weight which is around about what I am now," Greenwood told NRL.com.
"I never thought I'd get to it so quick. They were thinking more pre-season but somehow I've got to it and the DEXA scans have been showing that I'm going in the right direction.
"I feel a lot stronger. It's a bit weird actually. When I was at 102 you'd have to work that little bit harder to stay in contact wrestle because they was a lot bigger but now you can use your weight to counteract theirs and you don't use as much energy.
"It's a bit of a thinking process too rather than just throwing your body into people but you're not using as much energy and I do feel a lot fresher coming into the back-ends of the halves.
"I was worried at first that I wouldn't have been able to carry the weight because it came on the body so quick but I've been pumping out the 80 minutes and looking forward to the back-end of the season."
A true Englishman at heart who would look forward to his regular meal of pie, chips and beans and snack on more than the odd bit of chocolate, Greenwood insists he is eating much more since coming to Australia but what's on the plate has changed dramatically.
"Basically cutting out all the little naughty snacks like the chocolate and the crisps that I used to have and changing that with fruit and plenty of water," Greenwood said.
"I've found over here – I don't know if it's because of the heat – that I just can't stop eating. For some reason – I don't know if it's the energy I'm burning off or whatever – but I can't stop eating and I'm eating the right things. The nutritionist is giving me a set plan and I feel good.
"Back home I used to have pies, chips and beans, now I'm eating chicken, veg and sweet potato. But where I used to eat one breast of chicken I'm now having two or three so I'm doubling my portion size because I'm eating that much."
Signed with the Titans through until the end of the 2019 season and with one eye on England's World Cup squad, Greenwood believes the team has shown this year there is a bright future ahead and that finals are very much still in their sights.
"We've competed with the top teams and when we've got the full squad back, the last couple of weeks we've been blowing teams away," said Greenwood.
"The team is there and it's building. It's still a young team and we're building our momentum.
"The [Penrith game] was the game that got away and we push on now for these last six games."