1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
My name is Rashad Jennings. I am 28-years-old and this is my 5th year in the National Football League (NFL). I am currently a Running Back for the Oakland Raiders (#27).
2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child or adult to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
Many people have inspired me to stay fit and healthy along the way. My family, and my dreams as a kid are two factors that served, and still serve, as my main motivation in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I was an overweight, short, dorky kid with glasses and asthma that wanted to be a Running Back in the NFL. Given the situation I was in, it was clear that I would HAVE to change some habits to achieve my childhood goals and make my dreams a reality. After one of my breakout games my junior year in high school, a scout approached me and told me I had a good chance to play college football. That was the catalyst to my taking charge and stepping up my game in regards to my health. I lost weight, transferred schools, and adapted a lifestyle that would enable me to be in the position that I am today and play in the NFL. Once a professional athlete, I was fortunate to meet two people who have helped provide direction and inspiration for me to keep up my healthy habits. The two people I’ve had the privilege to work with are my trainer from Miami, Pete Bammarito, and a Doctor from Ponte Vedra, Dr. Julie Buckley.
3. What did they do to inspire you?
Both, Pete and Julie, have invested quality time educating me on everything I need to know to maintain a healthy lifestyle and sustain my dream of playing in the NFL. Pete, my trainer, customized an entire workout program tailored only for me. Through proper screening, and training 2-3 times a day, he really helped reconstruct the way I consciously train my body. Doctor Julie Buckley also serves as one of the greatest inspirations in my life – so much so that I see her as a second mom. I’ve watched her single-handily beat cancer the natural and holistic way, raised a child with autism, and manage a home. That alone speaks for itself. Her dedication and passion for the human body and its chemical responses to medical consumption while researching and developing nutritional diet plans for her family and all her patients is highly admirable.
4. How did their lesson change your life?
Through working with Peter, I learned about Muscle Activation Therapy (MAT), the importance of a quality massage therapist, and chiropractic work. I eventually explored yoga, acupuncture and Pilates. I consider them vital to keeping my health at the optimal level and staying competitively ready. Through Pete’s motivation and help, I’ve also become faster through fine-tuning my speed mechanics, and have had a huge increase in my explosiveness and endurance. Doctor Buckley’s influence in my life has been incredible. Her understanding of the human body and the knowledge she has shared with me regarding nutrition has enabled me to develop and establish a relationship with my body, my most important and valuable tool as a professional athlete. Doctor Buckley, my family and Pete have inspired me to continue in my healthy lifestyle, stay strong in my faith, and have given me wisdom and the knowledge I will need to stay on top of my health every day.
5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
Yes, of course. Every Tuesday is a day off in the NFL so I always dedicate 1 to 2 hours of my time in the local community. I visit schools, hospitals, youth programs, charities, events etc. I always use those opportunities to tell the kids my testimony, primarily so they can understand and see that I’ve been exactly where they are. I have been in their shoes. One of my greatest passions is speaking life into people, and highlighting characteristics and traits that they have not yet recognized on their own. With the kids, they always ask me about how I got into the NFL, and one avenue and important factor that I always highlight is my health. It’s amazing what kids soak in. If I can encourage and motivate just one kid or one person, if I can plant one seed with words through this humbling platform I’m blessed with, I can redirect a life just like that college scout changed mine.
6. What would your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyle
Stay actively involved in outdoor activities. Laugh, pick up a sport, walk, ride your bike, smile, play tag, or duck duck goose … ANYTHING! People think exercise has to be this brutal, difficult, “you can only do it in the gym” kind of thing. The truth is, it’s not. Kids can just go outside to play. The technology developments are great, but unfortunately it’s making things like playing outdoors, and catching a game of football a rare thing. The greatest piece of advice I can give to children is to be active and go against the grain.
I always leave this thought with male teens. I’m 28 years old. I’ve never had an alcoholic drink a day in my life; I’ve never smoked or done any drugs. I’ve never been arrested, nor do I have kids out of wedlock. I play in the NFL. You ‘can’ do things the right way and still be successful.
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?
Twitter: @RashadJennings, or find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rashadjennings23