Believe it or not, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson was just like any other kid. His parents tried their best to keep him eating quality food but trips to McDonald's are just a part of growing up. But now Wilson is a self-proclaimed "nutrition freak" that eats 5-6 times a day, crams in protein reguarly, and eats enough for a small family before games. In two seasons, Wilson has tallied 6,745 passing yards with 57 touchdowns and, of course, a Super Bowl ring. It's needless to say he's doing what he can for the city of Seattle. But the Seahawks and their franchise passer are also doing what they can to combate childhood hunger. Wilson is a spokesman for NFL Play 60 - United Way, a program built to provide nutritious meals to children in need. He talked to us about his nutrition habits, training and the Seahawks quest for a second Super Bowl title.
Men's Fitness: Russell, talk about what you're doing with NFL Play 60 and the United Way.
Russell Wilson: I’m just blessed to be involved with NFL Play 60 and the United Way. I was just able to see the millions of kids in the Washington-area and Seattle. I just think the most important thing is obviously to stress the importance of healthy food as fuel. Nationally 1 out of every 5 kids is searching for some food somewhere at some point. In the state of Washington it’s 1 in every 4. It’s just a blessing for the Seahawks, the United Way and myself, we’re trying to make a difference and just trying to give these kids a chance to succeed and lead active and healthy lives.
Were you taught about nutrition and eating right as a kid?
I was blessed to have parents that both worked. They worked very hard all the time. But in terms of healthy eating, we ate pretty healthy most of the time. I mean I went to McDonalds on my own a lot and went to fast food places. But the older I got, once I got into high school and college and now I’m kind of a nutrition freak for the most part. I have my days when I’ll get a burger here and there. But I try to be very conscientious in what I eat. It makes difference in my day. It makes a difference in my morning, in my attention span, my knowledge and how my brain processes things and just on an everyday basis, (it affects) my energy level.
How has you nutrition changed from high school through college and your time in the league so far?
I make sure I eat very very lean protein. Chicken. I’ll eat a steak every once in awhile. I eat tons of fish. The fish out here in Seattle is amazing. Chicken and fish I eat all the time. I even was able to find a cook that makes food for me as well and that makes a difference when I don’t have enough time. I just try to be really healthy man. I just try to give myself to be at the highest, most efficient level.
Do you have certain foods that you have to have before or after games or practices?
I’m not really a picky eater. I just try to eat healthy. I don’t have schedule, thinking about what I’m going to eat on what day. Before a game, a lot of guys before a game they don’t eat every much. I eat a ton. The guys always make fun of me. The game isn’t until like 7pm that night so when we have our team meeting at 4 o’clock or 3 o’clock, I’ll eat a huge, huge, and when I say huge I’m talking about a large, large plate of pasta and chicken, spaghetti and salad. I’ll eat a whole meal because I know I’m not going to eat again until midnight.
What are you doing differently in your training getting ready to make another run at a Super Bowl title?
I’m definitely working on my footwork. My body being fast and healthy and lean. I’ve also really been working on my shoulders and my back getting those strong and my legs. Squatting a lot so I can keep my booty strong and take these hits man. I’m trying to play at the best level I possibly can and be as strong as I possibly can but still be lean while doing it, fast while doing it.
Does that factor into your conditioning work? Are you working on specfic things to improve at the quarterback position?
I lift pretty hard. But I do tons of conditioning, tons of core, tons of leg strength and back strength. I don’t do much benching or anything like that. That tightens up my shoulders. I try to focus things that really help me play the game. I’m really big into footwork and getting in the pool and rehabbing in the pool.
There's so much talk about the Seattle Seahawks' defense. How is the offense looking as you prepare for the start of the regular season?
I think we’re doing a very good job right now. We’re able to do a lot of different things. We’ve got the right guys in the right positions, wide receiver, tight end, running back, O-line – I’m very excited. Our defense is very good again. It’s going to be a tough year. It’s not going to be easy but if you focus on going 1-0 every week you give yourself a really, really good chance.