As I mentioned in my last post, Gatorade invited me down to Miami to train in their mobile Performance Lab that they have set up for Super Bowl week. I prepped like a true champion, woke up at the crack of dawn, and went head-to-sweaty-head with the Jets' D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Here, is the play-by-play ...
The day before the big sweat test, I landed in Fort Lauderdale, starving and lacking a proper outfit to face my rival. We all know that attitude, confidence and preparation are half the battle -- so I headed to the mall. A loaded beef quesadilla from the food court and one Puma track jacket later, I was ready for my early morning arrival at the Lab at 6:45AM.
But first, a trip to the Pro Bowl. Gatorade invited me and my blogging-sister Christa to the Suite at Dolphin Stadium (I still call it Dolphin Stadium) to watch the AFC take on the NFC. Thankfully, my rival D'Brickashaw Ferguson was actually playing in the game that night, so I hoped he would be tuckered out. Meanwhile, I continued the prep with more highly caloric junk food and two cans of Bud Light -- each followed by a G2 beverage, figuring I was keeping myself properly hydrated. I did have to fast four hours before the test, so we headed home for a good night's sleep. However, getting lost for over an hour in the Pro Bowl parking lot, followed by partying neighbors up until 3AM at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, ensured that I was not fully rested either. That's OK. No excuses, right? NO EXCUSES. D'Brickashaw better not have any either.
THE BIG FACE-OFF:
Exhausted and groggy (but looking good in my new Puma), I arrived at the Performance Lab -- which was tricked out with two specially ordered XL-sized stationary bikes, lots of wires, tubes, computers and scientists with clipboards. Pretty intimidating. But not as intimidating as actually seeing your 6'6" 310-pound arch nemesis standing in front of you.
"Are you tired from the game last night?" I asked. "Nope," D'Brickashaw said, smiling. (I overheard someone ask him, "On a scale of one to ten, how much did you exert yourself last night?" He answered, "Less than one." Which begs the question, why does anyone give a hoot about the Pro Bowl anyway, but that is a different topic for a different post.)
I then told D'Brickashaw, as I craned my neck to look up at him, that it was on ... that he was going down. He looked down and laughed. I flashed my Game Face at him. He laughed harder. But before the trash talking could continue, we both had to face the public humiliation part of the process -- one that involved swim caps and peeing in a cup. Oh and the scuba mask.
First, we each had to weigh in nude. (Not together, of course.) Then we each had to pee in a cup. (Not together, of course.) Next, we each had to put on a red swim cap and get into what the Gatorade folks call a Bod Pod -- basically a "Mork calling Orson, come in Orson" egg that measures your body fat and volume. I sat through two, minute-long sessions in the Bod Pod, with cameras rolling and D'Brickashaw looking on, laughing. I will give him this, the man looks better in a swimming cap than I do. ADVANTAGE D'BRICKASHAW.
Gatorade Scientist Kim was assigned to me. She was very patient. She was very kind when she told me my body fat percentage. She told me that I was very, very close to average. And she told me that it was probably my big chest that was throwing things off, since they are all fat anyway. I heart Scientist Kim. I then asked her why, if Gatorade was all about innovation, they didn't invent sweat-proof makeup (she told me it already exists and that she thinks Clinique makes it.) I then asked her why they didn't invent a pill so you could eat quesadillas all day and not have to work out. She laughed and did not answer. I was serious, though. Gatorade, get on it!
NEXT STOP, SCUBA MASK:
Before rigging us up to the scuba mask, they had us each drink a packet of Gatorade Prime, a thick and slightly gel-like substance that is high in carbs, to make your workout more efficient. Since I had been fasting, it was great to have something in my stomach, but not have anything too liquidy sloshing around. Next, they put us on the XL-sized bikes, hooked us up to the scuba-like breathing tube and put plugs on our noses, forcing us to breathe out of our mouths into the tube. That thing was heavy. I started sweating immediately, with the pressure and bright lights. My sister-blogger told me I had a small, gymnast's head and the headgear kept sliding down. Scientist Kim turned on a very strong fan to help me out. "What have I gotten myself into?" I asked, through my scuba mask.
THE AMAZING RACE:
Next, the race is on! (Please note that it's really not a race at all, but I keep pretending it is. D'Brickashaw plays along.) His legs are really long. One revolution on that bike for him, is like five revolutions for me. Sister-blogger says, "Look how fast you are pedaling and how red and sweaty you are getting ... he's hardy pedaling and looks like he's ready for a nap."
I have to say that I'm getting nervous. Sure I work out a couple times a week (if I'm lucky) on the elliptical, but I'm sitting here next to an NFL athlete trying to keep up. I'm on level 5, he's on level 15. I keep looking over and trying to talk through the scuba mask, "Ish he shweating yet? Ish he even moving over there?" I mumble through my tubes. "You're both doing great," says the kindly Gatorade Scientist Kim. "How ish my hair?" Sister-blogger comes over and helps fix my bangs. I have to be honest and tell you that I'm kind of struggling here. We're supposed to go for 30 minutes on the bike, and I was probably trying to go really fast to show off in front of D'Brickashaw. "Ish my facshe purple"? I ask. "Yes," reports Sister-blogger. My mouth is dry and I can't even drink the Gatorade Performance drink sitting in front of me, taunting me. I motion to Scientist Kim to give me a Gatorade dunk and pour it over my head. She refuses.
I'm starting to get tired, but I can't quit. I can't slow down. I ask for some music to be turned on so I can pretend I'm at the gym. I keep looking over to see how my nemesis is doing. On a scale of one to ten, I would say he's less than one. I'm at maybe 9.5. "When ish thish thing coming to an end?" I ask myself. "Well, I'll tell you one thing," says Scientist Kim. "You sure are drooling a lot less than D'Brickashaw." Wait. "Are you sherioush?" I ask, feeling a sudden burst of energy (is it my new-found confidence, or that carbo burst I got from the Prime packet?!) ADVANTAGE ERICA.
Finally, the clock is ticking down. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The mask is finally off and I guzzle my Gatorade Performance drink. Ahhhhh. I had actually started pedaling a little before D'Brickashaw, so I finish before him and start gloating, pretending that I won the "race." I told him he drooled too much, and he really should get it checked out. But the real test is when our test results come in to see how many calories we burned and how our bodies performed. I think we all know where this is headed: ADVANTAGE D'BRICKASHAW.
The Gatorade folks gave us both a post-workout Recover drink to help our bodies recuperate. Some of us need more recuperation than others. Some of us are not purple-faced and drenched in sweat. (ADVANTAGE YOU-KNOW-WHO.) The Recover drink is high in protein to help your muscles recover, but doesn't taste chalky like those post-workout shakes everyone seems to drink. It's exactly what the doctor (or the Gatorade Scientist) ordered.
Finally, D'Brickashaw and I do a post-"race" nude weigh in (Together. Just kidding.) This is how the scientists will determine how much liquid we lost during the workout. (Hint: if you weigh yourself before and after you workout and you "lose" a few pounds, it means you lost water weight. And it means you were not hydrated enough. Time for more Gatorade, people!)
After the workout, I got to spend a little time with D'Brickashaw in the Recovery room for an interview. Sister-blogger shot video and we'll post it later this week. But here are a few highlights of the D'Brickashaw interview.
➢ D'Brickashaw was named after a character from The Thorn Birds
➢ His other nicknames are Montgomery (his middle name), Brickaliss, and now, D'Brick House (I asked if I could call him that, he agreed)
➢ He doesn't really watch reality shows, but if he could, he would be on something along the lines of Dirty Jobs or a show that involves traveling and trying out different various jobs and/or food
➢ He had heart surgery when he was nine, and we both decided that's probably why he drooled more than me during the test.
See below for the video of the Gatorade Performance Lab on uStream.tv.
Want to see other athletes train in the Gatorade Performance Lab? Go to uStream.tv/GStream watch the following athletes in action:
Wednesday, February 3
Sam Bradford - 7:10AM
Vincent Jackson - 11:10AM
Thursday, February 4
Eli Manning - 9:10AM
Miles Austin - 11:10AM
Friday, February 5
Matthew Stafford - 7:10AM
Derrelle Revis - 11:10AM
Tim Tebow - 2:10PM
And stay tuned for the video of my interview with D'Brick House from the Recovery Room -- plus more highlights from my Super Bowl week antics with Sister-blogger. You can also visit GoGameFace.com for more sports adventures, podcasts, interviews and beyond!