Larry Fitzgerald is known for his ability to haul in the most difficult passes, and he consistently puts up 1,000-yard seasons. But what's equally impressive is his ability to stay on the field—he's only missed four games in 10 NFL seasons. His durability is simply astounding, considering that receivers take hard hits from defensive backs, dive to catch the ball and make hard cuts to get open for passes.
How does Fitzgerald stay healthy and continue playing at an elite level? STACK spoke with him to find out.
STACK: You're going into your 11th NFL season. What do you do to keep playing at such a high level?
Larry Fitzgerald: My nutrition, strength training and preparation for the season are extremely important to my success. But then again, you can't take shortcuts with training hard every day, getting the proper rest and getting your body the nutrition that it needs. It all kind of works hand in hand.
STACK: What's the biggest challenge for you at this point in your career?
LF: It's been no different at all to be honest with you. I still have the same workload, and nothing is any different [from earlier in my career], so from that standpoint nothing. But the game has become easier. The speed of the game has slowed down significantly for me, as opposed to earlier in my career, so that has been real cool.
STACK: What's your focus this off-season?
LF: I always look at my weaknesses at the end of the year. I address the things that I can improve on the most and I kind of attack those—like separating from the defender or running better routes. I do that and I think that is very important to me as I have gotten older. Just knowing what I can do well and what I don't do well. And how I can improve on those weaknesses and let my strengths be my strengths.
I also would like to drop a few pounds and play at a little bit lighter weight. The older you get, you just become more susceptible to nagging issues. I would like to play about five pounds lighter. If I could do that, I think I could have a great season.
STACK: Is there anything specific you are doing to drop that weight?
LF: No, it all comes from diet and working at it. It shouldn't be that difficult. I can lose and gain weight pretty quickly, so it's all about being nutritionally balanced and just doing it the right way.
STACK: What's your favorite and least favorite exercise?
LF: When it comes to working out, I really enjoy the aspect of getting better and improving. So, I wouldn't say there is anything that I really hate. From the conditioning to the weight lifting to the agility [work], all that stuff is fun for me so I really enjoy it.
STACK: What does a typical day look like for you from a nutrition standpoint?
LF: I get up probably around 5:15 a.m., go to the office and have a little breakfast. Usually just oatmeal and some bananas, blueberries and strawberries. I get my lift in and have a shake after I get done working out. Then we go to meetings and we have practice, and I have a little bit to eat before I go out to practice. Nothing too heavy. And then after practice, I have an EAS Muscle Armor shake to help replenish all the energy that I lost and help me recover for practice the next day. And when I get home I eat dinner around 6:30 and then I am in bed by 9:30.
STACK: What are your favorite and least favorite foods?
LF: I like almost everything. I don't like Brussels sprouts and I don't like anything that has fennel in it. But besides that, I will eat it or I'll try it.
STACK: If you could give advice to high school Larry, what would that be?
LF: I wish I would've started training a little earlier. In high school, I didn't do much of anything. I didn't start working out until I got to college. It could have helped me sooner when I got to school if I had trained more.
STACK: Have you used your experience in the NFL to mentor younger players?
LF: Yeah, I am always readily available for those guys if they ever want to talk. I try not to push myself on them. If they ever want to discuss things, I am always available for it. I think it is my responsibility to do that.