Christian McCaffrey Serves Up Home Workout Tips With a Side of Hope on Ascent Protein AMA

Megan JoosteBlog, Health and Wellness, Perspective

Christan McCaffrey is already being lauded as the “new face of the Carolina Panthers.” He’s quickly become one of the team’s key leaders after signing a four-year, $64 million contract extension in April, making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history and all-around Good Guy. He is known for his “welcome texts” whenever a new player joins the team, all the more important now that so many longtime Panthers have left the team for various reasons. 

Now hunkered down with family and friends in his home state of Colorado waiting out the COVID-19 quarantine, McCaffrey and his teammates have had to swap field drills for video calls, and he and the entire team have had to get creative to stay in touch and stay in shape.

McCaffrey’s Campaign to Raise Funds for Front-Line Medical Workers

Last week, McCaffrey sat down with Ascent Protein (McCaffrey’s Official Performance Nutrition Partner, and Parallel Path client partner) for an AMA (Ask Me Anything), where he fielded questions and offered home workout advice for athletes about cross-training with multiple sports as well as recovery and nutrition tips. But first, he begins by talking about his 22 and You Program, which he launched to help raise much-needed funds for healthcare workers. The funds go directly to the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation and the South Carolina Hospital Association Foundation, to help support front-line medical workers.

The AMA kicks off on a note of gratitude from McCaffrey. “I just want to thank Ascent Protein,” the athlete begins as viewers filed into the IGTV live video, “for not only being a great partner for me, but doing a great thing and helping me with 22 and You and their donation.”

The athlete continues by talking more about the 22 and You program, which the athlete founded in the Carolinas, because very simply he “wanted to do something to help all the hospital workers and all the frontline workers who are helping stop the virus.” All donations given to the 22 and You fund are then directly given to the hospital workers first in North and South Carolina, then expanded into Denver because of the outpouring of generous donations. 

How the Athlete Stays Well, Inside and Out, During Home Quarantine

“Ok, now I’ll get going on some of the workout questions,” McCaffrey continues, reading questions fans had posted prior to the live video. We’ve posted some of the fan questions below with his responses, but you should also visit Ascent Protein’s IGTV channel (and embedded below) to catch the whole AMA.   

How have you trained and stayed in shape during home quarantine? Any home workout tips?

McCaffrey says he’s fortunate to have his weight room, a practice field, and a “very rowdy household” to help him stay active and on his regular Monday through Saturday training schedule. But, he says, now more than ever, he’s focusing on taking advantage of the opportunity to rest, to make sure he’s “healthy and ready to go” whenever home quarantine ends and he can join his teammates, balancing his home workouts with healthy doses of recovery.  

How important is recovery in your training routine?

Recovery is unbelievably important, and rest for any athlete is essential, McCaffrey stresses. In fact, he says, as he gets older, it’s “the most important thing in my training, and that’s why partnering with companies like Ascent that provides so many recovery products for me is so important,” in addition to eating well and getting enough sleep. “Sometimes working hard includes rest in it too,”

For someone who plays three sports, how can I still gain muscle?

“I always worried about that when I was little,” McCaffrey admits. “But I realized that the most important thing in an athlete is speed and recovery [not muscle size]. There’s a misconception that muscle size means that someone’s a better athlete. I was never the biggest, strongest,” he continues. “But I focus on fluidity and explosive speed. Figuring out the art of running is, for me, far more important.” 

Tell us what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your house.

McCaffrey says it’s usually something that “tastes really good that [he] can heat up and eat right away,” focusing on making sure each meal includes a variety of foods. He’s never liked eating the same things every day, saying that bodies need different varieties of proteins, veggies, and carbs to stay healthy and strong.

The folks at Ascent Protein were kind enough to share a typical McCaffrey meal plan here, for those of you who eager to follow in his dietary footsteps. 

What’s your favorite Ascent Product?

“I’m a simple guy,” he says, “I like the Vanilla Bean Protein Powder; I literally just put it in my water.”

What have you been doing other than working out during home quarantine?

To pass the time during home quarantine, McCaffery, like so many of us, admits to watching “a lot of Netflix, a lot of HBO,” and playing a lot of UNO. In his home state of Colorado, he says he’s lucky that he’s surrounded by all of his loved ones, and returns from training or a workout to just hang out with his friends and family.

What keeps you mentally fit at this time?

The athlete shares that to stay emotionally and mentally well, he recently started meditating, using apps like Headspace and Calm to guide him through a meditation session. “But, I suck at it,” he jokes. “I can’t really do it, but I have learned that after I finish a session, I feel better and more relaxed.” He continues that trying to spend a little bit of time by yourself every day and letting yourself breathe is really important.

For those of you looking to add some new variety to your playlist, McCaffrey then takes a question about what’s been on heavy rotation in the McCaffrey household these days and he goes on to share his favorite Eric Church songs, which include: Carolina, Hippie Radio, and Talladega. 

Back to fitness, asked if he trains each and every day, McCaffrey says that actually, he does not.

“No, I don’t train every day,” he says. “Actually, the older I get, I train way less, but my off days are not really my off days, I get all my bodywork done. I think anyone that says they train every day, I tip my hat to you, but I’d rather train four times a week really well with good rest days than seven times a week where some of those days I’m fatigued.”

Then, the Carolina Panther moves onto resilience—a topic on so many of our minds these days.

How do you stay motivated after a bad game?

“I’ve never really had a problem staying motivated,” McCaffery says. “I don’t really approach the game as a ‘motivation,’ I just approach it as you lose games: sometimes you lose, sometimes, you don’t have a good workout, sometimes you lose games, and it’s not really what happens, it’s how you respond to it.”

“Nobody’s gone undefeated in their entire career,” McCaffery reminds his fans. “You just have to learn: either you win or you learn. He says: “if you approach it like that, you never lose.”