This morning, Rich Tuten, Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Denver Broncos, called in for a chat with the morning radio guys on 104.3 The Fan. You can listen to the whole thing here and, seriously, you really should. The discussion about his ongoing work with Montrae Holland, who showed up for training camp too overweight to practice, is the most badass thing I’ve ever heard.
To put it mildly, Tuten has Holland on a training regimen that I doubt most people would survive let alone get up and face every day. (Hey, maybe Tuten can work his magic on Carmelo Anthony before the start of the NBA season.) In the insane heat (the on-turf temperature regularly reaches 125 degrees) he and Holland get out there and kick some serious ass. On Sunday, they pushed a 200-pound sled up and down the turf for an hour and 40 minutes with no break and no water. The goal is to shock Holland’s system and get his body to get it that oh shit, it’s time to get in shape and shed the extra pounds. He loses 15 pounds of sweat every day (and then hydrates and gets it back, of course).
The truly awesome thing is that Tuten does this all with Holland — he doesn’t just sit on the sidelines and yell at him. He’s out there pushing the sled around and working on the stairmaster, treadmill, and bike in the gym, side by side with the portly offensive lineman.
My favorite part of the conversation was this quote: “You’ll pass out before you die, anyway. So, you know, you’ll be okay. When you wake up, it’ll all be over.”
Of course, these guys are professionals and they know what they’re doing. They’re not (and I’m not) saying that if you’re out of shape, you should go out in 100+ degree heat and work out like crazy for over an hour with no break. People, athletes even, can die doing shit like that if they don’t know what they’re doing. So of course, be smart about it and don’t go too crazy if you don’t know what you’re doing. And please don’t take his comment more seriously than it was intended.
Disclaimers aside, that is so awesome I can’t even stand it. It made me think about my workouts. I like to think I’m pretty cool, going to the gym five days a week and doing cardio or weights for at least an hour, maybe more. But after listening to Rich Tuten, I kind of feel like a wuss. Dude’s in his 50s, doing this shit! I take breaks and drink a lot of water. I don’t go all out for an entire hour. Of course, I’m not an elite athlete or even a professional strength and conditioning coach and I probably can’t and shouldn’t go all out for an entire hour. I know my limitations (and they are vast, let me tell you).
But the cool thing about sports, at least as I see it, is how they affect you in your everyday life. Listening to Rich Tuten makes me want to work out a little harder the next time I go to the gym. I want to run a little faster, or go a little longer — just push myself harder than I did last time. I guess that’s why some people hire personal trainers — to provide that encouragement or motivation or shit talk or whatever you need to give it a little bit more. I’ve never been into the idea of a personal trainer (I’m what has been referred to as an Ice Queen at the gym — I have my iPod on and I’m not stopping to talk to anybody). The problem is that the lack of a personal trainer can allow me to get a little lazy and too comfortable, which means I forget to push myself.
But the next time I go to the gym, I’ll imagine my own little mental Rich Tuten, pushing me to run more, faster, better. And that’s pretty cool.