Training fields

Dick Butkus talks building a winning roster and Justin Fields

Mike DiNovo – USA TODAY Sports

Butkus has partnered with the NFL Alumni Association for the “Huddle Up: Let’s Talk Obesity” campaign, which aims to raise awareness and educate fans and former players about obesity and its impact on health.

“What Huddle Up did was get NFL alumni involved because 40-70% of NFL alumni are obese, which leads to serious issues — diabetes, hospitalization, heart,” said Butkus. “…Two out of 10 people have serious health problems.”

Butkus took part in a challenge with a handful of former NFL members to lose weight and get healthy. Butkus lost 47 pounds, which was by far the most among the participants. But losing weight is only the beginning.

“Now our deal is to keep it going,” Butkus said. “How do we maintain this? Because only 1 in 10 people, after losing weight and reaching the desired weight, within a year it is back. Maintenance becomes the second step of that.

Butkus stressed the importance of spreading the message, especially among young athletes who may not necessarily be thinking about obesity in the future.

“I think it’s a big deal to get it at a young age, especially as athletes, because what’s happening is they’re training with weights, they’re getting a good nutrition and everything else,” Butkus said. “But they also need to know when it’s all over, I can’t eat that many calories and whatever to maintain your weight. Because, as most people know, what happens is he sneaks up on you. You gradually gain a little, a little, and all of a sudden you come to a point where you think it’s all just willpower, but it’s not just willpower. You’ve involved genetics and everything else… If you understand yourself and your body, it should be easy to maintain.


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