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Tim Howard Talks Training, Diet, and His Tourette’s Syndrome

Build the strength and flexibility of a high-level soccer superstar.

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Tim Howard
(L) Courtesy of the Colorado Rapids (R) Timothy Nwachukwu / Getty
Tim Howard
(L) Courtesy of the Colorado Rapids (R) Timothy Nwachukwu / Getty

Tim Howard has had a storied career in Major League Soccer. The 6’3″ New Jersey native is the most capped goalkeeper of all time for the United States National Team, with 122 appearances between 2002 and 2017. He also set a record in the 2014 World Cup for most saves in a match. But with March 6 marking his 40th birthday, Howard announced on Twitter that this season would be his last. We talked with the goalkeeper to find out how he trains and eats to stay in top shape and how he’s managed his Tourette’s syndrome to become one of the most successful American soccer players ever. 

Fun Fact: As of this writing, Howard has logged 699 saves in MLS over the course of his entire career.

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A Smart Approach 

“As a goalkeeper, power and agility are key focal points of my training,” Howard says. “I work with the team’s sport science and training staff, who make me a program that combines cardio, flexibility, stabilization, and strength and power.” Howard trains three days per week, with one day dedicated to recovery and two off days. 

Calculated Gains

As with his training, Howard takes a calculated approach to his diet. “I do three days of no carbs—eating six meals of protein and green vegetables only. Then I have two high-fat days with avocado and coconut oils. On the sixth day, I add a sweet potato to lunch and quinoa in meal No. 4,” he explains. Pregame, he munches on salmon, quinoa, and veggies, and postgame he has a protein shake and a steak dinner.

What Makes Him Tick 

At age 10, Howard was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome (TS), a neurological disorder defined by having both motor and vocal tics. He’s used his platform to give back to the TS community—in 2001 he was named the MLS Humanitarian of the Year, and he received the first-ever Champion of Hope Award by the Tourette Syndrome Association in 2014. “TS is something I’ve thrived with and have never let it get me down,” Howard says. “I’ve made it one of my life’s missions to be a voice for those living with TS who feel too alone to stand up and speak for themselves.”

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Directions: 

Be sure to warm up with five minutes of cardio followed by foam rolling and dynamic stretches before taking on this workout designed by Howard’s trainer, Chris Collins, M.S., NASM.

Routine

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Howard's Off-season Routine

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Exercise 2 of 8

Lateral Slide

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Perform with a resistance band.
Equipment
Dumbbells, Swiss Ball
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Exercise 4 of 8

Cable Core Press

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Perform off of one leg.
Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Perform Russian style.
Exercise 6 of 8

Explosive Stepup

Equipment
Box
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Exercise 7 of 8

Seated Cable Row

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Exercise 8 of 8

Lateral Bound

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
45 sec.
Perform as explosive as possible.
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