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No Such Thing as Pre-Season

We’re out of the pre-season and into the regular season. There’s been a lot going on around the league.  A lot of people say that pre-season doesn’t matter. . . well  guess what?  That’s like saying losing doesn’t matter.  That’s like saying winning doesn’t matter.  It does matter!  It’s an attitude. When you take the field whether it is the first, second, or third field, you want a certain brand to show up on the football field.  That’s guys flying around with a sense of urgency to come out on top.  I won four Super Bowls playing with the greatest teams, and every one of those teams played great during pre-season. 

Anyone who tries to tell you pre-season doesn’t matter is full of it.

Let’s break down divisions:

AFC East - Miami is 4 and 0 in the pre-season, New England is 4 and 1.  Those two teams will battle it out for the division.  The reason why Miami will be in the hunt will be because of their running game.  They are committed to running the ball.  NE is all about pass and flash with Tom Brady.  Be careful NE, if Miami wins the division.

AFC North - Once again the two rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh will be at the top once again.  Look for Baltimore to get the edge this year with Joey Falco at QB, and great defense.  Pittsburgh, because of disruptions, injuries, and lack of focus having won the super bowl, they might just be a little soft this year. 

AFC South - This is a three-team division: Tennessee, Indianapolis and Jacksonville.  And how I see it, it’s basically a toss up.  TN will play during the season and Kerry Collins will find a way to screw it up in the end.  Things will come down to Indianapolis or Jacksonville.

AFC West - Controversy:  there’s only one team that didn’t have any.  No disruptions down in San Diego.  Denver . . .a whirlwind, new coach, issues, got rid of franchise QB, they’ve got a coach with no personality.  I see too many disruptions for them to win the division.  Oakland has positives: Jamarcus Russell is playing good, consistent, error free football. Kansas City is up in the air, a new coach, they fired offensive coordinator, new QB.  It will take a few years for them to really get it figured out.  KC will be at the bottom once again this year.  You never know what is going to happen with the Raiders, they just might come together to beat San Diego to win the division. 

NFC East - Dallas, New York, Philly, a three team division with Washington not having a chance.  None of the teams did very well in pre-season but look for Philly and the Giants to come out on top at the end of the year. 

NFC North - Here we go again with another Brett Favre come back.  Minnesota will take the division this year.  Too bad Green Bay, Aaron Rogers is good but he still ain’t Brett Favre.  Chicago, you have a great QB in Jay Cutler but you don’t have any body for him to throw to. Detroit, number one draft pick Matthew Stafford. . . there will be growing pains and promise . . . You will win a couple games this year.  Be happy with that and start getting ready for next year.

NFC South - This will be a battle between New Orleans and Atlanta.  Atlanta with Matt Ryan at the helm with QB, a Rookie wonder last year, will come in with a tight end in Tony Gonzalez and they will win the division this year.

My prediction for the Super Bowl: Miami vs. the Minnesota Vikings.  That is subject to change.  We’ll keep you updated regularly throughout the season. 

Let’s get ready for some real football! Let’s get fired up and lets get ready to rock!

How to Get the Most Out of Your “Two-a-Days”

As you all know, or some of you may not know, “Two-a-Day’s” or “Daily Double” workouts are truly the most demanding time you can ever put on your body.  With that being said, this is a time when you really have to be smart and have to fuel and take care of yourself better than ever before.  Here are a few tips I’d like to share with you:

  1. 120% on Every Play Until the Whistle Blows - It’s the guys who are standing around a pile that are the ones that get rolled on, or break an ankle, or tear out a knee. The ones who are doing the hitting and giving it everything they have with an intense motor are the ones who are staying healthy, preventing injuries and getting the playing time. Because coaches love guys with high motors out on the field.
  2. Recovery and Feeling Good During Training Camp - Take a cold tub after each practice, ideally 40 degrees. If you can get a contrast in with a warm water tub, that’s even better, but if not just cold. Later in the day, try to find a swimming pool to chill out in for a half an hour. This will act almost like a message and really help you relax and recover.
  3. Fuel the Right Way - Start with a big, healthy breakfast. I recommend oatmeal, plus 3-5 eggs. After your workout, be sure to help your recovery by using a protein supplement, like Lean1. If you can’t do a protein supplement, then get some good protein in meat, eggs, or lean, vegetarian option. Also, be sure to get a lot of high-glycemic carbohydrates in your body during and immediately after your workout. I recommend grape juice. For dinner, be sure to get lean proteins, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and lots of fresh veggies. Take a protein shake right before you go to bed.
  4. Sleep - You have to get enough sleep to make strength gains during and after your Two-a-Days. You need 9-10 hours during this time, so if you have early morning practice, that means you’ve got to get to bed early. If you have trouble falling asleep, use a natural sleep supplement like Sleep1 or ZMA, or a calcium/zinc/magnesium formula to help you relax and repair your muscles while you sleep.
  5. Remember You Are Building a Base for Your Regular Season - There will never be a demand during the regular season like the one you are putting on your body now, but this Two-a -Day is like putting deposits in your bank account. There will come a time in the season when you will need to cash in on this bank account, and it will be there because you have made those demands.
  6. Get in the Weight Room - A lot of kids might avoid the weight room during this time. I think you should spend time in the weight room, lower reps but higher weight. Even if its two reps at a higher weight, so you can keep your strength up during this time. Yes you are tired, we all know you are tired, but this is when champions are made so suck it up.
  7. Supplementation - Never a more important time to supplement with good quality protein, like Lean1 or another good whey isolate proteins. Try to get 2 grams per pound of body weight when you are training this hard. I also recommend creatine, your body needs it and it’s going to help you get stronger. Just make sure you are also supplementing with magnesium, so ideally use a magnesium creatine. Also load up on B-vitamins, like the kind in Neuro1, they are like gasoline for a car. You either have them or you don’t.
  8. Stay Hydrated - This is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself. Fill up a gallon of water in the morning and make sure you drink that by the end of the day.
  9. Invest in Your Team - They say that teams that work hard together, bleed together, hurt together really work together. The blood sweat and the tears in a time like training camp is a time when real tight bonds are created and forged. There is never a more important time than a time like this to bring a team together, to know that the guy next to you has got your back, to know that he’s been through the same thing you’ve been through.
  10. Don’t Ever Tell Your Teammates How You Really Feel - Let the guy next to you know it’s a great day to be alive. How much greater can it be to be playing football with your buddies? Putting a football helmet and your shoulder pads in high school or college are some of the greatest memories you’ll ever have. As soon as you tell your buddy your shoulder is sore, he’s gonna start thinking about how his lower back is sore, and the next guy’s gonna have an injured ankle. Next thing you know, the entire team is wrecked. No pain, no gain, no game. With that said, make it a point to take care of your body and prevent injuries by recovering from your workouts, stretching, and talking to the trainer to stay healthy.

Good luck to all the players out there. Like I’ve said, this is the greatest time of your life. Love it, enjoy it.  Thrive don’t just survive. It’s all a mindset.  If you perceive it as tough and hard, it will be.  If you perceive it as a chance to become great, that’s what it will be.  Make it that and be the best.


One of My Fav’s

Hi, someone shared this quotation with me a few years ago and it really resonated with me, and reminds me of the importance of teamwork.  So I wanted to share it with you all here:

“Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world. Indeed, they are the only ones who ever have.”


Get Lean For the Summer!

I know this is a little late, but the summer’s not over yet!

Nutrition53 is giving you an awesome deal on Lean1, Nutrition53’s Healthy Performance Shake, this summer with our “Get Lean For the Summer” offer.  Get two tubs of Lean1 plus a month’s supply of Sleep1, The Ultimate Sleep Performance Formula, for $69.97!  Plus another free gift!

You can check out the details here: www.getleanforthesummer.com or call 1-888-4-TEAM53.

I can’t recommend Lean1 highly enough, it’s got all the good stuff you need (plus some) and none of the junk.  You can get more ripped, strong, shredded muscles this summer, or lose any excess baggage.  Best meal replacement or protein shake on the planet! 

Let’s Talk About Michael Vick

I have been asked by a lot of reporters and talk show hosts about Michael Vick.  The subject actually came up about him going to Denver.  There’s been a lot of speculation around a lot of different teams and the risks associated with picking up Vick.  But because I played in Denver, and I love the fans and the community and the owner, there’s a part of me that would actually like to see him bring his athletic abilities there.

Let me first say that I am absolutely a dog lover and I was beyond horrified by what he did.  But to my core, I really believe in second chances.  Nobody is perfect.  Certainly not me or anybody I’ve ever met.  And Michael Vick’s no different.  He was on top of the world, and I’ve been there before, where on some level you think you’re invincible.  I’m living proof that I wasn’t invincible . . . he wasn’t invincible, and neither is anybody else. 

Just look at what happened with Ray Lewis many years ago when he was being charged with murder.  I saw him show up with hand cuffs on hands and ankles, dressed in an orange suit.  He was exonerated from the crime and freed - and he got a second chance. 

I believe that after two years in a state penitentiary, hard core prison, Michael Vick has paid his dues.  His punishment has also been to re-live this incident over and over and over again. 

I’ve never been to prison and I couldn’t imagine what that would be like.  The only prison I’ve been to was in the movies, acting as a guard in “The Longest Yard.” 

Some of you may disagree with me, and I respect your opinions.  Here’s my list of reasons why Michael Vick should be allowed to play in the NFL:

  • 1. Tony Dungy, on of the most respected coaches in the NFL has offered to mentor Vick. That alone speaks volumes to me of Tony Dungy and Michael Vick.
  • 2. Our legal system is not perfect, but I do believe in it and it is the best we have. It’s all we have. They sentenced him, he paid his dues to society on some level, and he is now a free man.
  • 3. In no way should the NFL be able to take on a role of the FDA, IRS, or the CIA. The NFL should stick to the football field and let the law handle the rest.
  • 4. Lastly, to those of you who have ever made a mistake (or maybe there are a couple of you who are absolutely perfect and have never done anything wrong): Let Michael Vick try to rebuild his life, his values, his morals, and most importantly, his integrity.

Good luck Michael.  I hope the Broncos take a shot with you.  I look forward to seeing a touchdown pass, an incredible run, and your incredible athletic ability.  Good luck on getting your life back.



NFL Draft Time

Twenty one years ago this week, I was a senior coming out of Boston College and getting ready for the NFL draft.  What a nerve racking weekend that was!  Not knowing where my future was headed . . . What city? What team would I end up with?  Where would I go?  Would I play inside linebacker or outside linebacker?  I got three calls the day of the draft.  One from the Dallas Cowboys who were making a decision between me and Ken Norton Jr.  The next were the Indianapolis Colts who were getting ready to pick and they thought the Raiders were going to pick a QB . . . they didn’t so the Colts grabbed Chris Chandler for QB.  And soon after, I got a call from San Francisco 49ers and they drafted me in the third round. 

Wow.  I didn’t know much about them.  I was pretty blown away because I knew I would have a chance to win a Super Bowl.  I came out to San Francisco, and what a culture shock!  I couldn’t believe how every single day was sunny, and nice, and beautiful.  But it was a hard time for me because I still had college exams, but the last thing I wanted to was to miss coming out to San Francisco for my post draft experience, press conference, and my first mini-camp.  So I headed out to San Francisco, and when I got back to BC to take my exam, I knew none of the material.  I wrote my professor a long letter of apology, stating something along the lines of “My mind was absolutely on my future and I’m very sorry for not being prepared for this exam, but I never missed one of my classes, and I did well in everything until the final exam.  I went from a B+ to a B-.”  Thanks Professor McLellan!

Boston College was over, and I was on my way to my new career: Professional Football!

I look back on this experience and remember what an exciting and tumultuous time it was for me.  Best of luck for everyone who is in the same boat this week.  Life is a climb and there are a lot of views.  Enjoy each and every one of them.

A Birthday Question

Last Friday I received an unexpected but great phone call.  It was my birthday, and a surprise, a friend had arranged for a phone call to me from the owners of Café Gratitude.  Café Gratitude is a small string of cafés through the bay area.  I love going there and I love the grateful and positive philosophy of Café Gratitude.  The owners of the café ask their employees and guests an insightful question every day.  For my birthday, they had a special question: “In 43 years of life, what have you learned?”  I pondered for 5 seconds.  The answer was clear to me.  In my 43 years, I’ve learned just how important it is to surround myself by great people: great family, great friends, and great people at work.

At Nutrition53, I have the ability to surround myself with great people at work because I am part of the hiring process.  Although you can’t pick most of your family members, I was fortunate enough to grow up with supportive parents and siblings, who I love.  My wife takes very great care of me, is always there for me and is very loving.  For that I am very thankful.  She has given me the two biggest blessings in my life, Dalton and Alexandra.  Dalton turned 15 last month and things can be a day to day challenge at that age.  But it’s a challenge that I love and am open to each and every day. Alexandra turns 12 this month, she and I worked out together for the first time yesterday.  I was blown away by her strength, work ethic, and determination.  When I told her the workout was finished, she said “Daddy, can we do more?”  I thought “Yes!”  I love it.  Love the passion, love the determination.  She is a great gymnast. 

Now I want to ask you to share with people, whether you are a 15 years old or 75 years old, what you have learned in your life? What can you share with someone to make a difference in their life? What are you grateful for?

High School Football Q & A

Recently I received this comment full of questions from a young player:

“Hello Mr. Romanowski,

I was wondering if you could help me improve my workout and answer a few questions. Firstly, I try to get to the gym at least 3 times a week but was wondering if you could help me or give me some guidance. Mainly I have been wondering if I move up to 6 times a week would there be any problems in my body being able to cope or should I take it slowly. I was also wondering if it’s fine to work out when you still feel a bit tight or sore from the previous day’s work out?

I was also wondering about whenever you say power is more important than the number of reps, normally I try to do the highest weight I can complete 3 sets of 12 reps at, does that sound like a decent way to train? I was also wondering about people like James Casey who completed 28 reps of 100kg in the drafts so was wondering if I was training wrong (less reps) or whether this is not a training method and purely to try and impress coaches and in which case what is the best way to train if 30 reps of 100kg is a goal?

Just for clarification I’m a 16 year old guy. I was wondering what you mean when you say stretch out after a run? Do you mean stretch out your hamstrings ect? And I was also wandering if you knew any good stretches for your calves?  Mine seem to pull quite a bit on long runs or sprints over 40m.

Finally I was just wandering if you have any idea of what sort of weight I should be able to bench/ curl/ squat etc if I wanted to be at NFL standard in a few years time and what I should aim for over the next few years? I’m 85kg for reference.

I would like to finish saying that you have been a great inspiration to me and most of the guys I hang about with and I have found a lot of your tips so far invaluable.

Thanks a lot,



Dear Andi,

Thanks for your questions.  It’s great to hear from aspiring athletes like yourself! 

Let me try to answer a few of your questions about training here.  I strongly suggest “periodized training,” especially in the weight room.  That means that you follow a schedule of rigorous training, followed by a period of rest so your body can actually repair from your hard work in the gym.  I suggest a period of circuit weights (low weight/high reps with minimal recovery), hypertrophy (lower reps/moderate weights with full recovery), and power (low reps/high weight, full recovery).   

I recommend continuing your pattern of lifting 3 days per week, alternating your workouts between weight training and another activity each day (6 days/week).  I did my weight training 6 days a week, with three of those being explosive days, and three of those being hypertrophy.  But that takes full recovery and access to massage and therapists.  You are young and still in high school, so you have some limitations in your recovery.  It is ok to train if you are sore from your previous day’s workout, but understand that you are truly making your strength gains in your recovery from your hard training.  If you cannot recover from a workout, then you are not making any gains by doing it.  With that said, you need to understand your body and your energy levels.  If you have trouble sleeping at night, are overly fatigued on a regular basis, or excessively cranky, you may need to add another recovery day to your training schedule.  Please be sure to maximize your recovery, and decrease soreness, injury, and over-training by getting in a good recovery meal or shake immediately after your workout!  This should include at least 200 hundred calories of high-glycemic carbohydrates and protein!  And don’t forget about sleep either, at least 7 hours but closer to 9 is the best.

I’m also glad you asked about stretching.  Maximizing your flexibility can help you maximize your athleticism and reduce injuries.  Always warm up your muscles with a bit of activity before you stretch.  To stretch your calves, press your hands against a wall, walk your feet 5-6 feet away from the wall and gently try to push your heels towards the ground.  If you need more stretch, walk your feet further away from the wall.  Try to stretch every muscle in your body on a regular basis, but if you are crunched for time (as I know most high-school athletes are) then stretch the major muscles you are using, such as your quads, ham strings, calves, glutes, and shoulders/arms. 

In regards to how much weight you should be benching/curling/squatting, it not necessarily about the weight.  The weight means squat, no pun intended.  However, you will have bench press in your combine test.  They test how many times you can bench 225 lbs.  Another thing, squatting I think is an absolute necessity for power in your legs, speed, and explosive start, especially for your 40m.  Curls are more an exercise in muscle balance.  You want everything to be strong, your legs, shoulders, chest, and core.  You want your entire body to be strong. 

I hope that helps.  All the best to you Andi, I hope you reach your goals!



Exciting Times for Nutrition53

Today I was in Phoenix Arizona to launch with our new retail partners, Hi Health.  I went in not knowing exactly what I was I for.  I had heard good things about Hi Health and had discussions with them over the past couple years but the relationship didn’t materialize until today.  I gave a motivational talk in front of all their store managers.  Wow.  It was enlightening for me to see how professional this organization is run.  My main contact, Jay, was amazing. 

I’m very encouraged and excited about the people in Phoenix being able to have access to all the Nutrition53 products.  Hi Health really serves the people of Phoenix with over 60 locations.  I went into one store to see the lay of the land and I was so impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of their employees, the layout and look and feel of the store.  It is truly the perfect location for Nutrition53 products.  Get ready Phoenix to live like you mean it!  Thank you Hi Health, Team53 looks forward to a long lasting, great relationship with a phenomal partner like you.

Also, I wanted to thank you guys for some really inspirational comments on here lately.  I’m sorry if my response has been less than timely, I look forward to answering some questions here on the blog.  Until then, keep training hard!


Meeting Up With Elton John

This weekend Julie and I went to a great event with a few friends of mine, Roger and Diana Jenkins.  It was the launch of Diana’s new coffee table book, Room 23, as well as an informal pre-launch to NeuroBrands, a beverage company which I partnered with Diana to help formulate some really incredible functional beverages.  They will be hitting the market in the next couple weeks. ©Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

The who’s who of Hollywood and entertainment were at the party, but there was someone in partucular that I was excited to meet.  For any of you who have read my book, you may realize that Elton John’s song “Tiny Dancer” played a big impact in my career.  When I was a freshman at BC and my coach knocked on my door to tell me I made the starting team, I was filled with emotion and I jumped up to turn on some music from the radio.  The song playing at that moment was Tiny Dancer.  From then on, I listened to Tiny Dancer before every game I ever played.  It always transported me back to my first big break in college and continues to inspired me to accomplish more. 

Having said all that, with Elton John being at the party, I walked up and ©Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com introducd myself.  I told him how his music had made a really big impact in my life and in my profession.  I told him the relevance of his song, Tiny Dancer, in my football career and he actually reached out to shake and kiss my hand as a gesture.  He was clearly honored and inspired and I felt fortunate to be able to share my experiences with him. 

Elton, thank you for the great music that inspired me and thank you for being so cool when we met this weekend.

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