In the Mind of a Strength-Conditioning Coach

Photo: Teddy O’Connor with winner of 2016 Heisman Trophy, Lamar Jackson.

Beach season may be coming to an end… but no reason why achieving your fitness goals should be any harder. Finding the proper balance in your everyday activity and lifestyle, along with setting appropriate goals to keep you motivated, is the key to success. As this is most often a constant quest for our everyday athletes, we asked former Bostonian, and now Strength & Conditioning Coach for Louisville Football, Teddy O’Connor, for some helpful advice to help or get you on track this fall.

What’s your top advice for sticking with a fitness routine?
Find small accomplishments along the way.

Teddy: “The first recommendation is to set achievable goals, long-term and short-term. Set a long-term goal that you ultimately want to work for, then set multiple short-term goals throughout your process. Achieving multiple short-term goals on your path to your main goal will allow you to stay consistent and give you multiple feelings of accomplishment along the way”.

What are your main essentials for healthy at home meal-prep?
Don’t torture yourself with the same salad every day.

Teddy: “Just like my workouts, I like variety. What I recommend if you do meal prep is to make sure you have variety. Sometimes we get caught up in the meat, veggie, carbohydrate mix which becomes redundant and can lead to a slip up in our diet. Our body craves variety and new stimulus. It’s a forever changing machine. Offering variety will allow you to stay on the right path. At the end of the day, our diet is what helps us recover from the breakdown in our workouts.”

What is the ideal balance of cardio and weight training to peak performance in sports and training?
Alternate your routine and allow recovery time for your body.

Teddy: “This question goes back to your goals. What are you trying to achieve? More cardio can lead to a leaner fit and can hinder strength in some cases, depending on the volume of cardio. If you’re trying for an athletic/lean look, then I recommend 3-4 days of weight training, paired with 3-6 days of cardio. I believe in an upper/lower body split; which means 2 days of upper body weight training, and 2 days of lower body training- altering upper/lower/upper/lower. Cardio can be mixed in with some weight training days then used on off weight training days as well. One thing I do not recommend is weight training 7 days a week. Cardio can be done 7 days a week, but volume must be carefully watched to allow recovery. We always tell our athletes- ‘in the gym you are breaking down your body and outside of the gym is where your body recovers and grows muscle. Recovery is essential for gains’”.

Do you have any tips for daily routines that help you stay on track?
Find new ways to sweat and stick to a time of the day that you can commit to.

Teddy: “Know your goals and create variety in your workouts. The more you keep your body guessing, then the more it has to adapt to the demands. The more your body has to adapt to specific demands, then the greater the increased margin of gains are and improved physique. Basic tricks that I recommend is to get 6-8 hours of sleep, get up early in the morning, and ATTACK the workout. Leave your stress in the gym”.

Favorite “cheat” meal to not feel so bad about?
Treat yourself sometimes.

Teddy: “One great cheat meal that’s not so bad and is a classic Boston-area treat is the “The Fluffernutter”. I will always love a classic Fluffanutter. Made with peanut butter and a heaping spoonful of fluff, sandwiched between a couple of low calorie pieces of bread, it will always do its justice”

Teddy is from Newburyport, MA and got his bachelors degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from UNH and his Masters in Sport Administration from University of Louisville. He is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has been a college football Strength and Conditioning Coach since 2012; including at Boston College, Western Kentucky University, and Louisville. Currently he is an assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach/Sport Science Coordinator for the Louisville football team.

For more inspiration and motivation from Coach Teddy, follow his Twitter @CoachTeddyUofL

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