With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
M&F: What has been the focus of your offseason training this year?
PA: The focus of my offseason is always the same–and that’s to get bigger, faster, and stronger. Every year I go back to the University of Nebraska, my alma mater. I feel secluded. I’m away from everything else. There’s no distractions there, so it’s the perfect place to train. That, plus the strength and conditioning coaches were amazing when I was there, and they’re still there. I work with the same guys.
What were some of your best lifts ever during your college years? Most NFL players lift heavier in college than they do in the pros.
I would say my best lift was the squat. We never did a one-rep max, but we would do rep maxes for 10. I did 405 for 10 deep reps, all the way down.
Looking at tape from last season, what do you think you need to get better at on the field?
I’d say reading coverages better and knowing what’s going to happen before the quarterback snaps the ball, so pre-snap reads, looking at film and having the confidence to jump a route. I need to have the confidence to take a risk, because there are so many times [last year] when I recognized a formation and played it safe.
What is Coach Coughlin’s philosophy on strength and conditioning? He’s known for being an old-school guy, but one drawback to some of the old-school guys is they believe you need to do a lot of running, drills like gassers and things like that, which don’t have any carryover to on-field production. Does he allow his strength and conditioning staff to be more progressive than that?
Yeah, he’s more hands-off. He does get on us if he thinks we’re out of shape. He’s not afraid to tell us that. I think his focus is just doing the best you can and taking care of your body. If that means extra stretching, getting in the cold tub, the sauna, you need to get treatment—he’s all about maintenance, just taking care of your body.
Your mindset in the gym, is it anything like your mindset on the field?
I like the workout to be hard. I like to be tired when it’s done. I condition before I start lifting, so I do something that gets my blood flowing and my heart pumping. I need to perform well while being fatigued as I would in the fourth quarter of a game.
What’s your weight and bodyfat percentage right now?
I’m 206 pounds, and 7.8% bodyfat.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
I don’t cook at all, to be honest. But I don’t eat fast food and don’t drink soda. I haven’t since I’ve been in the NFL. By cutting those things out, it gives me a chance to be successful, but I take it to another level by eating as many vegetables as I can, lots of chicken, no bacon, just common-sense choices. One rule I go by is to make my plate as colorful as I can.
Say you have a 1:00 game on Sunday and you have to be to the stadium early. What do you eat that’s not going to weigh you down but still give you enough energy to perform?
I try to eat oatmeal with raisins and nuts, or scrambled eggs with cheese and two pieces of whole-wheat toast. Fruit like pineapple and apples—those give me a lot of energy so I’ve been adding a lot of fruit to my diet, as well.
When we spoke right after you entered the league, you said you had never been drunk in your life, and that you’ve actually never had a drop of alcohol. Is that still true?
A lot can happen in that time, but it is still true. I still haven’t had a drink. I told my fiancé that I’ll probably take my first drink at my bachelor party. I don’t know if I will, but…
Maybe you should wait til the wedding. If you do it at the bachelor party, that could get out of hand quickly.
[Laughs] I know. I still haven’t had one, though.
If you plan on having one, clearly you’re not against it. How is it that you’ve waited this long?
I grew up Catholic, so it just started out as one of those things. I’d think, “If I do this, maybe I can get to heaven,” so I said no drinks, no sex, all the big things. As I grew up, I realized that’s not what it’s about. It’s about having a relationship with Jesus. It’s not about “Don’t do this. Don’t do that.” But still, it’s just one of those things I haven’t done, and I don’t see any benefit to doing it. You’re always reading about people getting DUIs. So many bad things that happen and wind up in the paper are alcohol-related, so by not drinking, it saves me, my team, and my family a lot of trouble.
You said one of your nicknames is “the black Tim Tebow.”
[Laughs] Yeah, some people call me the black Tim Tebow.
Well, Tim Tebow famously said that he was a virgin. Are you? Are you open to talking about that?
Yeah, I am a virgin. I’m not ashamed to say that.
Knowing that about you—that you don’t drink and you’ve never had sex and here you are in the NFL—from the outside looking in, the cold tub incident where Jason Pierre-Paul picked you up and threw you in, it would seem like you were being ostracized. That you didn’t fit in with the rest of the guys. Is that line of thinking on the right track?
The whole cold tub thing wasn’t just JPP, it was like eight guys. And it definitely was not anything personal. That wasn’t the first time I was in the cold tub, it was just the first time anyone saw it. And what the video doesn’t show is what happened 15-20 seconds after that, which is all of us messing around. JPP is great. I just saw him this morning and he was congratulating me on my engagement because I just engaged this past Friday. So there’s no hard feelings. It wasn’t a personal situation.
Another question people would ask from the outside is if you don’t drink and don’t have sex, how do you blow off some steam?
I still enjoy going out. I still enjoy dancing, and I get high off of everyone else’s high. If everyone is having a good time, that makes me have more fun, even though I don’t need everyone to be happy for me to be happy, if that makes sense.
Your name, Prince, is literal. You’re an actual prince. Can you explain that how that works?
My dad is a chief in a village in Nigeria and since I’m the first son, I get the title as prince. I think if I wanted to become a chief there, I would have to live there, so it would be whenever I’m ready.
Is that something you’d ever want to do?
As much as I love Nigeria, I really love America and most of my life is here, so I can’t see myself leaving the States. I’ve made my home here.
You say you recently got engaged. What’s the lucky lady’s name, and have you guys set a date for the wedding?
Her name is Pilar Davis. We want to do it the week after the Super Bowl.
How did you guys meet?
We met in New York. We were out dancing. I was just drawn to her. It was right after the Green Bay Packer [playoff] game [in 2012] from my rookie year and I said, “I’m going out because this was a huge win.” I actually went out with Ahmad Bradshaw. We went to this spot in the Meatpacking District called SL. She was standing by the counter. I said, “Are you waiting for someone?” And she said, “Yeah.”
So I didn’t know what else to say after that so I started walking away. But my teammates, Corey Webster and Aaron Ross, made me go back. They were like, “Go say something to her!” And they were cheering me on. She thought we were all rowdy and drunk and she didn’t pay us any attention. Then, later, I was waiting for Ahmad and she came by and we struck up a conversation. I asked her for her e-mail address because when someone asks for your number, it might be too personal and you might not want to give it. But if you ask for their e-mail address, they’ll give it. I was right.
Did she know you were an NFL player?
No. Usually I tell people if I meet them that I’m a construction worker. One time my friend said he was an astronaut and I said I was a manager at Gap. All I told her was, “I just moved here from Arizona and I’m just trying to live right now.” She’s from Sacramento, and if you remember at this time, we had to go to San Francisco to play them for the conference championship, so if I wanted her to visit me while I was out there, I’d have to tell her what I did. So two days later, I said “Hey, I play for the Giants.” She thought I meant San Francisco Giants. [Laughs] That’s when I thought she might be a keeper.
Don’t miss our annual NFL Strength Team feature in the October 2013 issue of Muscle & Fitness—with Executive Editor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover—on newsstands now.