How to Be Fit Like an NFL Player

Whether you’re a pro athlete, lawyer, doctor, or office jockey, we all can struggle to try to be fit and healthy. Even with my level of experience, I need to work hard and stay dedicated to my routine to get the results I want. But at the end of the day, reaching your fitness goals comes down to a few things – desire, sacrifice, nutrition, and smart training. Sound easy? It’s not. But sometimes the hardest things in life are the most worthwhile. To make your journey a little easier, check out these 5 tips to be fit and stay in shape like an NFL player.

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5 Ways to Be Fit Like an NFL Player

Tip #1: Identify your Fitness Goals and Stick to Them

Staying fit and staying in shape are similar goals that can usually be targeted by the same exercises. Cardio, for example, is very important for athletes, but can also help people with normal fitness goals to regulate their blood pressure and fight obesity. I need to work out like crazy to do well at my job, but I know that it’s not always easy to show up with the energy and dedication you need to get the most out of your workout.

But even if your fitness goals aren’t as demanding as mine, you can operate at the level of an NFL star if you’re competitive with yourself and commit to your workout. Just remember that your exercise routine depends on your particular needs and abilities.

Tip #2: Be a Team Player

Your team is always counting on you. My team is the Arizona Cardinals – yours could be your coworkers, the guys on your basketball team, or your family. We all have people who depend on us, both in our careers and our personal lives. You should make your best effort to be fit and stay healthy, for your sake and theirs. You’re responsible for your own life, so try to think of how your choices affect those around you as you pursue your goals.

Tip #3: Know the Difference between Hunger and “Appetite”

When it comes to food and nutrition, I tend to focus on portions. I can eat my fair share (which you should if you’re training hard), but I also listen to my body to determine when I’m hungry. I eat because I’m hungry and need fuel for my daily routine. But sometimes, it’s tempting to eat whenever we have cravings and food is available.

The next time you’re in the mood for a snack, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry? Do I really need this food to power me through to my next meal?” This should help you distinguish between real hunger and mere “appetites.” Hunger is a signal from your stomach that your body needs food for refueling. An appetite can come and go depending on what foods and flavors you’re currently craving.

I do believe that we all need to indulge in our favorite “junk” foods occasionally. If you do this moderately, your body will thank you, and your favorite foods will become even more special to your taste buds.

Kerry Rhodes

Tip #4: Control your Portions

As an athlete, I have a more rigorous workout schedule than most, so I eat multiple meals each day to increase my metabolism.  If you aren’t very physically active, though, be mindful of your portion sizes. If you try cutting your portions in half, you might not even notice the difference afterward. Remember the old saying, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” This is usually true; we want more food than we need.

Let’s say you make a full sandwich; cut it in half, and put the other away for later. Chances are that the first half will fill you up, leaving you satisfied and not wanting any more food. If you hadn’t cut your portion in half, you might feel tired and bloated instead – the opposite of how a good food refueling should feel.

When you cut down your portions, you’ll reduce your calorie intake to more manageable levels and feel more comfortable during your next workout.

Tip #5: Be active!

The biggest tip I can offer someone who wants to be fit: stay active. It may seem simple enough, but too many people, including children, have developed sedentary lifestyles. If you have an office job, it’s understandable that you may not always have the time to get outside and exercise – so, get creative! Try walking to a restaurant during lunch instead of driving, or setting aside 10 minutes each day for jumping jacks or lunges in front of a mirror… anything to get your body moving and your heart pumping! By staying active, you consume calories and fight unwanted weight gain.

The Takeaway

I may be a professional football player, but my body has many of the same needs and limitations as yours. I’ve suffered injuries that kept me from being active, and I’ve struggled with my fitness goals on occasion. If you work out rigorously, stay dedicated to your fitness goals, and care for yourself and your “team,” you too can achieve an athletic physique.

Below you will find my actual weekly workout regime, which you can try for yourself…if you’ve got the guts!

Kerry’s Workout Schedule

MONDAY: Lower Body Day
  • Squats, Leg Presses, Leg Curls, Calves
  • Cardio
  • Down and backs down the field  (These are timed for no longer than 17seconds)
TUESDAY: Off Day for Team Workout, Upper Body Day
  • Bench Press, Dumbbell Chest Press, Dumbbell Flys, Seated Rows, Lat Pulldowns, Dumbbell Lawnmowers
  • Cardio (Elliptical Machine)
WEDNESDAY: Power Workouts
  • Power Cleans, Deadlifts, Rope Waves (60 sec. sets)
  • Team Practice
THURSDAY: Combo Upper
  • Incline Upper Body workouts
  • Machine Weight to Protect the Legs of the Athlete (lighter day)
  • Team Practice
SATURDAY: Light Upper Body
  • Shoulder Press, Shoulder Press with Dumbbell, Lateral Raises Bent Over Lateral Raises
  • Bicep Dumbbell Curls, “Twenty Ones” Laying Down
  • Tricep Extensions, Cable Tricep Pull Downs
SUNDAY: Game Day!


Kerry RhodesKerry Rhodes is an American Football Safety for the NFL and plays for the Arizona Cardinals. The 30-year-old, who formerly played for the New York Jets, was recently ranked #29 out of the top 500 players by Sports Illustrated and was awarded The Lloyd Herberg MVP award for the 2010-2011 NFL season. Kerry has also established the Rhodes Foundation, a charitable organization that gives financial aid to decaying high schools and provides scholarships for college-bound students. The mission is to support the educational and financial advancement of young people.

Featured photo by MotiveWeight

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