Although many parents and coaches try to get their kids to focus on just one sport, many still push their kids to be multi-sport athletes because of these positives:
All athletic movements transfer from sport to sport.
Athletes learn how to compete in different sports.
Playing different sports builds your overall sports intelligence.
Different sports work different muscles, preventing young athletes from burnout or injury.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman, and this month’s Eastbay cover athlete, Beau Allen grew up playing a number of different sports and continues to share the importance of being a multi-sport athlete today.
Growing up, Allen competed in football, hockey, lacrosse and track, and also said he played in rec basketball leagues and would water ski and wakeboard often. Although football was his calling when it came time to choose a college, Allen said each sport played a role in making him the complete athlete he is today.
As a seventh round pick, making it in the NFL is no easy task.
However, when defensive tackle Beau Allen got the call on draft day in 2014 informing him that he had been drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 224th pick, he was confident that he would succeed because of his work ethic and competitive drive.
At 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds, Allen knew he had the size to be a force on the defensive line in the NFL, but would need to become stronger and more explosive to make an impact. From day one in Philadelphia he hit the weights to show he had what it takes, quickly learning it wasn’t just about how much weight he could bench or squat.
“You just need to change your goals sometimes, so right now I’m working more on explosive strength and flexibility,” Allen said. “You see a lot of guys change up their routines once they get to the NFL because they know what they need and they know what other guys are doing. You’ve always got to stay on top of your body.”
This was a big change for a guy who considered himself “a big meathead” and loved to bench and squat as much as possible.
“I’ve never really had a problem putting weight on, I’ve been lucky, but as you get older and as you have been in it more you start to know your body and you know what you need,” he said. “I know I’m a big meathead and I love max squatting and max benching and hitting those heavy singles, but it’s just not great to do that all the time.”
Now as Allen has finished up his third full season in the NFL, receiving more and more playing time on the defensive line and even receiving some snaps at fullback, he has incorporated new workouts to make himself much more explosive.
These workouts include agility ladders, box jumps, medicine ball throws, Olympic lifts, and his personal favorite — lifting with chains.
“So what happens is let’s say we’re chain squatting and you’ve got the chains on the side, as you go down the chains spool on the ground so it takes a little of the load off, and as you’re reaching the top of your lift they unspool so you get a little of a heavier weight, It’s real good for working that explosive strength,” Allen said.
These workouts are key for Allen as they help him get a quicker jump when the ball is snapped, along with a more powerful first hit on opposing lineman.
To supplement his explosive workouts, Allen also points to a number of workouts he likes to do outside of the gym to help him retain strength, flexibility, and his agility skills.
Spending a lot of his time-off outdoors at his cabin in northwestern Wisconsin, Allen needed to find new ways to workout. Even though he has a weight room in the basement of the cabin, he said space is limited. So instead he heads to the woods for one of his favorite workouts — which involves an axe.
“You don’t have room to do everything so you find other ways to work out, like you chop wood,” Allen said. “You’ve got to chop wood because we have a wood stove up there and that is a great workout — core, arms, shoulders, hips, and it’s a lot more tiring than you think.”
Along with chopping wood, Allen said he also gets workouts from swimming in the lake next to his cabin, and running up the big hills that surround the area. But more than anything, he credits playing other sports in his free time for a lot of his strength and agility today.
“I love playing other sports, and I played a ton of sports growing up,” Allen said. “Just being active in any way so you can get a workout in is big for me.”
After waiting over two days to hear his name called in the draft Allen knew that nothing would come easy, and he has shown that through his drive to get better on the field with his intense training regimen.
“You’ve just got to compete in everything you do,” Allen said. “Maybe that is a clichéd statement, but I really just think that’s how it’s got to be.”
Beau Allen’s work ethic stands out during every snap on the field. How do you compete in everything you do? Let us know on TW or IG by tagging us and using #Prepare4Greatness. Learn more about him in our latest Eastbay catalog.
Many of today’s young athletes work extremely hard when it comes to their cardio training, weight training, and skill training for their respective sports. However, a significant number of them look past the role a good diet plays, both on and off the field. This week we talked with athletic trainer Travelle Gaines on the topic of nutrition for young athletes — here is what he had to say.
TT: Trent Tetzlaff, Eastbay copywriter
TG: Travelle Gaines, athletic trainer
TT: For a young athlete looking to build up muscle and get bigger and stronger for an upcoming season, what are some of the best diets tips and tricks you could give?
TG: Muscles only develop properly if they’re getting the right amount of nutrients. Getting an adequate amount of nutrition can be challenging — especially for a high school student who spends a vast majority of his/her time in school, at practice, or doing daughter/son duties. With all of these factors, proper meal planning and placement of each meal is essential. Eating breakfast is key — every morning should consist of eating breakfast — and after that at least two or three additional meals to supplement you throughout the remainder of each day. Nutrition provides fuel for the body to function at a high level, feeds your muscles, and stores what your body needs to help your muscles reproduce and grow, while getting rid of the bad things your body doesn’t need. Your muscles grow from what you eat, how hard you challenge them, and how well you rest your body.
TT: On the other side of things, for a young athlete looking to improve their diet in general, what are some of the best nutrition tips and tricks you could give?
TG: Going back to question one, breakfast should always be on the daily agenda and at least 2-3 more meals but in smaller doses. If you’re looking to improve your diet, you definitely should stay away from fried foods and food high in fat content, such as: candy, cookies, chips and any similar artificial snacks that only taste good but have no nutritional value. Soda, sport drinks, and juices with high fructose corn syrup and sugar are also products best to keep away from. These are all problem foods and drinks that you must stay away from in order to better your diet.
TT: When are the most ideal times for an athlete to be eating during the day for best performance?
TG: The best time to eat during the day is in the morning as soon you wake up, followed by Lunch 2-3 hours later, then 30 minutes prior to your training session, almost immediately after your training session or 30-45 minutes after, and 30-45 minutes before getting rest.
TT: As a trainer do you recommend protein shakes to athletes for after a workout? Or are their negatives that come with the drinks?
TG: Protein is a key part of post workout recovery, and I do think that protein shakes are a good idea. However, within 30 minutes of finishing your workout is when your body needs it most. But protein shakes are not all the same. Read the ingredient lists. Know what you’re drinking. I use and recommend Core Power because of the simple ingredient list and the fact that it’s not powders and water – it’s the real, natural whey and casein proteins found in milk — 26 grams of high quality protein from real fresh milk. You can’t beat that, and it tastes great.
TT: If you could plan out a breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for an athlete looking to eat healthy and build muscle what would the meal plan look like?
TG: Here is an ideal meal plan for young athletes looking to put on lean muscle:
Breakfast: 3 scrambled egg whites, 1 cup of oatmeal, 12 almonds.
AM snack: Kind protein bar.
Lunch: Turkey sandwich with mustard, 2 slices of tomatoes, lettuce, on wheat bread, banana.