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Diet And Rest Key To Kirk Cousins' Success

Posted Mar 2, 2014

Away from the game though, Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins tries to balance workouts with rest and proper diet to keep his body in peak form.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has the long-term goal in his sights.

From a football standpoint, the second-year quarterback prepares himself for the next matchup ahead just hours after the previous game has wrapped up.

Spending a good portion of time in film study, at practice and in the weight room, Cousins gets himself both physically and mentally ready to help the team reach its mission of achieving success.

Away from the game though, he tries to balance muscle building and recovery with the necessary amount of rest and a polished diet to keep his body in peak form.

While his stardom as Michigan State’s quarterback grasped headlines, it was his work in the classroom that was preparing him for a hearty future.

Majoring in kinesiology, Cousins soaked up knowledge applicable to living a healthy lifestyle. He learned that what he does with his body now has a direct impact on his quality of living down the road.

“A lot of understanding has taken place in the last few decades on the importance of health and wellness, to have a long lifespan, to be able to someday see your grandkids grow up, maybe even great grandkids, and the ability to enjoy those later years in terms of being able to be active and able to do a lot of different activities and travel,” Cousins said. “It’s a reflection of the way you conducted yourself in your younger years.

“That’s important to me to be 60, 70, 80 years old and still going and still being active and productive. Those are things that I’ve been able to apply from my college years to in-season and offseason training regimens as well as my experience on game days.”

Being a football player involves a heavy dose of weight room training, traveling and the occasional public appearance.

Sleep is usually the portion of life that gets cut into first.

Cousins, however, said getting the recommend amount of sleep is significant regardless of the requirements.

“It’s important to get sleep,” he explained. “The average American doesn’t get enough sleep and I think as an athlete you need even more. They say eight hours but I like to get more. I like to get eight to nine hours.”

Resting in-between workouts is another element individuals must look at to ensure their body is healing properly.

“First and foremost, it’s getting to a point where you feel healthy and you feel ready to go,” Cousins elucidated. “There’s no point in trying to build if your body is telling you to stop and you’re hurting. So whenever you have a nagging injury or a pain or ache, I think it’s important to get those cleared up and answered before you start to build.

“I think the mistake I made during college was I didn’t rest enough. It was go, go, go partially because that’s what the program demanded from us and partially because that was my personality.

“Going forward now, early in my NFL career, when the player has the opportunity to choose what he wants to do, I like to make sure I do get that time to give my body a rest.”

Another aspect Cousins, a Heath Diagnostics Laboratories ambassador, focuses on is what foods he chooses to eat.

Recently, he’s reduced bad carbohydrates, dairy products and sugar from his diet to prevent negative consequences on his body and to subsequently boost his performance both on the gridiron and post-football.

“I try to eat well by trying to avoid gluten and I try to avoid casein, which means a lot of breads and a lot of dairy products. I eat a more Paleo diet with a lot of meat, vegetables and fruit. 

“We’ve got to eat properly, we’ve got to train properly and we need to rest properly. With all the pounding our bodies take we have to be smart in how we treat ourselves so that when the game is over, the year is over, the career is over our body is still able to cooperate.”

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