NFL Combine Secret # 2: Look Leaner in 6 Weeks
Imagine that part of your next job interview required you to strip down to a bathing suit and parade in front of hundreds of perspective employers—and you had just six weeks to prepare for it. That’s the challenge facing players preparing for April’s NFL draft, who must strip as many as three times for NFL scouts and officials. In a job market where speed and strength is valued above all else, physical appearance plays a big role in how a perspective player is evaluated.
Many people train just as hard in anticipation of a wedding, reunion, or a trip to the beach, often following ineffective crash diets. But your best bet is a sustainable nutrition plan that you can follow year-round. Players training at Athletes’ Performance for the NFL Combine are encouraged to adopt this sustainable way of eating permanently. But there’s still much that can be learned from their six-week indoctrination period in preparation to be measured in the eyes of NFL scouts.
Break the Fast
NFL draft hopefuls, like most of us, tend to skip breakfast. That leaves you with no energy for the day and continues a muscle-wasting fast that began the previous night when you went to bed.
When Mark Verstegen worked exclusively with college athletes years ago, he grew so exasperated with their tendency to skip breakfast that he told them he’d rather they eat cold pizza than nothing at all.
Bob Calvin, performance nutritionist at Athletes’ Performance in Gulf Breeze, Florida, encourages clients—pro athletes and executives—to start the day with a high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meal like oatmeal or Kashi cereal combined with a good protein source like low-fat milk, yogurt, or a hard-boiled egg. Add some color to it with a banana or berries. “A great breakfast will kickstart your metabolism early,” Calvin says.
Don't Drink Your Calories
A generation ago, young people drank lots of soda. That trend has shifted, Calvin says, though today’s young adults—and executives—are consuming sports drinks and juice throughout the day.
That’s a lot of sugar-laden calories when exercising, let alone when you’re working at a desk or relaxing. Some people lose significant weight just by substituting water for soda, juice, and sports drinks.
“If you want to reach your goals, you have to stick with water,” Calvin says.
Plan for Travel
NFL draft hopefuls enjoy world-class meals at Athletes’ Performance, but they’re often on the road in the months before the draft, attending the Senior Bowl All-Star game, the NFL Combine, and a March “Pro Day” workout at their colleges.
Like business travelers and families on the go, they have to prepare. Calvin arms them with goody bags of shake mixes and high-quality energy bars.
There’s nothing worse than paying big money for bad food at an airport because there’s nothing else available. Stick to your nutrition plan by bringing healthy snacks with you—wherever you go.
Want more NFL Combine training secrets? Check out part three of our series on coming up big under pressure.
About The Author
Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.