September 12, 2012

Life after American Football - what happens with the excess weight?

Today's sports medicine article review is about football players (especially line backers) and their struggle with maintaining a "healthy" weight while at the same time meeting the physical demands of their sports.

You can read the article HERE by VancouverSun, titled "Weighty issue for football's big men".

The article makes the following points

1. Football players are getting bigger and bigger (280 - 340lbs)

2. Despite their weight, these athletes go through rigorous strength training programs to maintain athletic fitness + performance

3. Some sports medicine professionals struggle with placing them in a particular category because the average 340lb person does not exercise at the same intensity that footballers do

4. Irrespective of their physical prowess, sports medicine staffs should monitor their BMIs, BP, cholesterol levels and waist circumference on a regular basis especially those with a family history of diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease

5. Athletes who have to bulk up because of their sports need to make sure they do not maintain the same large potion sizes diet off season or after retirement.


While reading the article, I was reminded of my college soccer preseason days = 3 sessions a day of 2hrs a session  = 6hrs/day training.
Those where the days when no matter how awful my college student budget's diet aka Chinese buffets + dollar menu at Mcdonalds , I remained lean and muscular because of the intense training.

Do I still eat the same way? Of course not. 
Really? Yes
Are you sure? Ok fine. No. 
                                                Why should I? I heard "curvy"women are the new sexy

Do I still practice/work out 6hrs a day?...Yes i do in my dreams where all things are possible :)

 And that is the biggest problem I see with obese retired college footballer players/line backers..

.....(Obviously this is a generalization statement that does not apply to those who have lost the excess weight.My experience is limited to  college level football players. Am assuming the pros can afford to hire chefs + trainers + nutritionists plus they have a Hollywood image to protect)....

- They are still eating EXCESSIVELY

-  They, like most athletes in any contact sport at that level, have some sort of residual injury that places limits on their ability to exercise at high intensities

- The lack of support/education by the athletic staff/program for alumni players

The reality is in most athletic programs, once you are no longer part of the team (graduated..retired..was kicked out lol...etc), you're done.  .You are on your own. 

.....That's why its important to leave a legacy or record or championship behind. Just saying...
(s/o to the program of my alma mater, both USA & AFRICA)....

As an alumni football player, it's up to you, to be proactive and start the journey back to being a healthy weight for an average active  individual.

I think that for sports such as american football, where players are encouraged to put on the pounds, there should be some sort of  post-football weight loss program to help alumni players loose the weight. Most of these players not only have to battle weight lost but are most likely nursing an orthopedic injury and no longer have the luxury of a sports medicine staff

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