Behind the Body: New York Giants Punter Steve Weatherford

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If Google Images were your only portal into the life of Steve Weatherford, you might think he was a men’s magazine model or bodybuilder, not a top-rated punter for the Giants with a Super Bowl ring and a 46.9-yard average last season. As an online glut of shirtless pictures shows, Weatherford has one of the most defined bodies in the NFL, a distinction he maintains with an almost monomaniacal obsession for training that’s earned him a reputation throughout the league. “As I punter, I don’t need a six-pack or to weigh 220 pounds, but that’s a lifestyle for me and I love it,” Weatherford says. “And even if fitness didn’t make you look good, I’d still do it—though no one is going to complain if you have a six-pack and 18-inch arms.”

What the punter may also have is one of the faster sprint times in the NFL: As a kid, Weatherford broke the Junior Olympic record in the 4x800 relay and, out of college, was offered a contract with Nike to go pro in track and field (an offer he turned down, he says, fortunately for his bank account). “I am 100 percent hands down the fastest punter,” he says. “And if anyone reading this in the NFL wants to race, you know where to find me.”  Yes, we do, Steve—in the gym.




31 years old

6-foot 2

220 lbs​

Body fat: 5 percent

Training grounds: New Jersey and San Diego

How much he trains in season: 2.5 hours per day, four days per week. “I mix in a lot of the traditional weightlifting football players do with plyometrics from my track background.” 

How much he trains in the off-season: three hours per day, six days per week. “I run, I do sprint work, and then dynamic and static flexibility stuff.”

How much time he spends in the weight room: 16 to 20 hours per week out of season. “I’ll do traditional weightlifting 30 percent of the time, Olympic weightlifting 40 percent of the time, and plyometrics the remaining 30 percent.”

Calories consumed per day: 5,500 to 6,000 in the off-season.

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My motto is ‘look good, feel good, play good, paid good.’ — Steve Weatherford

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Pre-workout meal: Grilled chicken breast with asparagus and brown rice. “You’re going to get some protein in your stomach that will last about 2 hours. The asparagus has a lot of starch you’ll get some energy from, and the brown rice has some carbs, so you’re getting all three foods groups.”

Post-workout meal: Spinach, kale, apple, carrot, and kiwi shake. “I’ll drink that with about 48 grams protein. And then I try to get some carbohydrates in me, like whole-wheat pasta with grilled chicken gravy.”

Celebration meal: Beef lasagna with garlic bread. “I probably eat it only once every six to eight weeks, but that’s my fat kid meal.”

Typical dinner: Ostrich meatballs with a sweet potato and zucchini. “My wife cooks most of my meals for me, and then makes separate meals for our kids. As exhausting as it is for her, I owe a lot of my athletic success to her, because I think my physique starts in the kitchen.”

Dietary vice: Starbursts and Sour Skittles. “I eat them probably every other day, but I eat them very sparingly. I’ll buy a bag a Skittles with two servings, and that will last me a week. I’m so disciplined because I know I shouldn’t eat them.”

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Go-to workout: High-intensity full-body circuit. “It’s shorter than my other workouts in the weight room. The weight is lower, the reps are higher, and there’s less rest. Instead of doing three to four sets of an exercise with reps of 10, I’ll do two sets of 15 with just enough rest to walk to the next exercise. It’s cardiovascular at the same time.”

Secret workout: Jump squats. “That’s something a lot of guys don’t do, and I think that’s the key to my explosiveness. I do them once every other week.”

Biggest physical challenge: Recovery. “I think I train a lot harder than other NFL players and athletes, so my biggest struggle is staying healthy. I’ve never been injured ever, and I think a lot of it has to do with my genetics and that my training regimen is so maniacal and detailed. I never take a day off when I should be training. But I train my body so hard that maybe some days I should take a day off and rest.”

Best recovery tip: Hyperbaric chamber, or pressurized room that simulates higher altitudes to help the body learn to better process lower oxygen levels. “I’m in it five days a week.“

On looking like a fitness model: “My motto is ‘look good, feel good, play good, paid good.’ It’s about representing yourself well, wanting to look good at all times. Is there some vanity in that? Sure, but what person goes to the gym and works out for five hours who doesn’t want to look good?”