WELLNESS, NUTRITION, & MOVEMENT

As you can imagine, football took it’s toll on my body over the years. It was actually one of the major factors in my decision to walk away from the game. Because I didn’t want to become dependent on medication to deal with the pain, I started doing research on holistic ways to reduce inflammation and pain and started to learn about tools to improve flexibility and lose excess weight that I no longer needed from football.

I have always had a basic understanding of weight training, movement and nutrition from all my years of working out and staying in shape for football but now that I was done, I needed to reframe my mindset. I no longer need to be a 300lb man capable of moving large, grown men around a field. This took a little bit of an adjustment but I feel like I’m finally starting to figure out exactly what I need to do to feel my best.

These are not one size fits all methods. My plan in sharing them with you is to give you some options and to show you what I do to help my body feel its best. I still have my bad days but the more consistent I am with my routine, the better I feel.

Some of these tools are used to help me physically and some to help me mentally and a lot of them overlap. Thats why it’s total body wellness. You need to figure out how your body feels and what areas you need help with in order to start feeling better. I think you would be surprised how much better you feel after implementing just a few of these tools.

What we put in our bodies is so important. In fact, it is the most important part of total body wellness. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is the furthest thing away from what you should be fueling your body. I’m not going to go into too much detail here but if you want to learn more about what the SAD diet is then just google it.

I have learned a lot about nutrition over the last couple years and how it effects my body. An important note for those of you who have never attempted to eat healthy, it will take time to adjust. Don’t judge yourself, take baby steps and learn as much as you can. There is information everywhere about this kind of thing and although it can seem overwhelming, I’ve found that if you “stay away from the interior of the grocery, stick to the outside where all the fresh stuff is,” you’ll be golden.

It takes time to get in tune with which foods affect your body in different ways. Once you start fueling your body with proper nutrition you will be blown away at how good you can feel. Most people just don’t know what feeling good actually feels like. Now I am not perfect, I love desserts and pizza and beer as much as any one else and on occasion, I still indulge in these delicious gifts from God, but in moderation. That is the key.

A lot of you that have been following me since the beginning know that I started the Keto Diet immediately after football and it was amazing. I lost a ton of weight and it taught me the discipline it takes to really eat healthy. Once I started checking the labels on my food, I realized just how much shit they put in everything. The biggest ingredient that is added to almost everything is sugar.

For those of you that are unaware of the research coming out about sugar consumption and the health consequences that are affecting our country, do a little google search. As you can see, google is our friend. I’m just going to say, sugar is bad. Again, I love sugar, Im just saying, it’s not meant to be consumed with every meal.

Start checking the labels and you will start to realize just how much sugar is in your food. Sometimes it is hidden as suclarose, high-fructose corn syrup, anhydrous dextrose, among others, many others.

Although I still follow the Keto diet, I am becoming more conscious of the amount of micro nutrients that I’m getting and meat I’m consuming. I have always had digestion problems from all the anti-inflammatory drugs I’ve taken during my football career. These issues continued, off and on, over the past year, even while I was eating better.

Because I am a work in progress like everyone else, I am still continuing to tweak my diet to see what I need to feel my best. So over the past couple months I’ve decreased the amount of meat I’ve been consuming and increased the variety of vegetables. I still try and stick with high fat and lower carb (most of my carbs come from veggies) but I have found that the more fiber and micro nutrients I can get from different natural (I try to organic when I can) foods, the better.

I feel like my digestion has finally started to normalize. Like I said before, everyone is different. The one thing I hope you take away from this is that we all eat too many processed carbs and sugars. Find out what you like and just start eating fresher foods.

Here are some of my favorites. Main Foods I Eat: -extra-virgin olive oil -avocado oil -coconut oil -grass-fed butter -coffee -almonds -blue cheese -avocado -free-range eggs -onions -peppers -brussel sprouts -red cabbage -cucumber -kale -spinach -grass-fed beef (limited to a couple times per week) -salmon -shrimp -cauliflower

This was probably the biggest adjustment for me. As an offensive lineman, I was always lifting heavy in the weight room, which is something I no longer needed to do.

Although it took me a few months to come to the realization that I no longer had to be ready to push grown men around, I eventually started to turn to less strenuous activities. Some of these activities include walking, stretching, rolling out with a foam roller, yoga and light work outs.

Like I said before, I am still a work in progress but my goal is to give you an idea of what has helped me feel better during my transition out of football. I want to share a concept I learned called “greasing the groove”.

A lot of us have busy lives and it has become increasingly difficult to carve out an hour to make it to the gym during the day (except for you ultra disciplined individuals who wake up 2 hours before you have to, we commend you) but the good news is that this isn’t the only way to get your physical activity. In fact, it’s no longer the best way.

The concept of “greasing the groove” entails short periods of movement through out the day, rather than one chunk of high intensity, sweaty, gym time. This might include going for a walk after lunch, doing 20 push ups every hour while at work, getting up and doing 30 air squats when you feel tight. This gets the blood flowing and will not only help with your productivity but will increase your mood through out the day.

Find what works for you but try and incorporate movement for at least 5-10 min every hour through out your day. By time you get home you will have completed a whole hour long work out with out even trying. This is something I try to do.

Being on the road, its hard to get consistent work outs in, so I like to take long walks with freedom, you’ll see me routinely bust out 30 air squats while filling the van up with gas as well. Doing these movements through out the day is a great start to getting more physically fit. I still go to the gym a couple times a week, when I can, but it is no longer a priority as long as I get some sort of movement in through out the day. Go ahead, start greasing that groove.