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In the National Football League, few names carry as much weight as Aaron Donald's. Widely recognized as one of the most dominant defensive players in history, Donald's success on the field is no accident. Behind his performance lies a disciplined and rigorous approach to training and nutrition.
In this article, we delve into the critical components of Aaron Donald's regimen, breaking down the training and dietary choices that contribute to his success. Donald's program is a blueprint for what it takes to be the best. Whether you are an up-and-coming football player or want to look like one, this is a glimpse into the dedication and commitment required.
Table of Contents:
Here is a typical week of offseason workouts for Aaron Donald.
Aaron starts his week off unconventionally with an ab workout. I say unconventionally because most people start the week with a bigger muscle group like the chest, back, or legs. However, there might be a method to his madness. Since most NFL games are on Sundays, it makes sense for Monday to be an easier workout.
Of course, he wouldn't need to maintain that schedule in the offseason, but for consistency's sake, he might choose to. Another possibility is that he takes his ab work very seriously and wants to prioritize it at the beginning of the week. Either way, this workout will have your core on fire.
The second workout of the week is arguably the most challenging. It's only five exercises, but squats and deadlifts back to back is as hard as it gets. Especially with the amount of weight Donald throws around. Looking at this workout as a whole, it's a typical lower-body workout hitting the quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Everyone admires the work NFL players put in the weight room. However, it's their work on the field that is most important. And I'm not just talking about playing football. Football is a sport that is as much (or more) about speed and agility as it is about strength. As a defensive tackle, Donald's ability to blast off the ball and be agile enough to evade blockers is one of his strengths. Search "agility training Aaron Donald" for a ton of video examples. Here is an example:
45-60 minutes of low to moderate-intensity cardio. He likes to mix it up and use various cardio exercises, including treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, etc.
The ability to be at your best in the fourth quarter in a tight game separates elite players from the rest of the pack. Aaron ensures his cardiovascular system is up for the task by devoting a whole training day to cardio.
Aaron Donald is known for having a jacked upper body. You don't get a big chest, a wide back, and monster traps without some serious upper-body training. Aaron's Friday upper body training session is an old-school iron sesh filled with heavy weights and high volume.
In the last workout of the week, Aaron does a full-body strength training session consisting of a little bit of everything. This workout is ten exercises with high reps and high volume. Good luck moving around the next day if you give this one a go.
Aaron Donald takes one rest day per week. Even the hardest worker in the National Football League needs recovery time.
Born on May 23, 1991, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Aaron Charles Donald rose to fame playing college football at the University of Pittsburgh. After four productive years at Pitt, he entered the NFL in 2014. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams (now the Los Angeles Rams) as the 13th overall pick in the first round.
Donald quickly made a name for himself with his unmatched agility, strength, and relentless pursuit of quarterbacks. He has earned numerous accolades throughout his career, including multiple NFL Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pro awards, solidifying his status as one of the league's premier defensive players. With an impressive combination of speed and power, Aaron Donald has become a household name, leaving an indelible mark on football.
Here is what a typical day of eating looks like for Donald. The dietician for the Los Angeles Rams helps him with his diet, and he also has a personal chef cook his meals.
Breakfast: Breakfast Tacos
Lunch: Baked Chicken
Snack: Protein Smoothie
During Training and Practice
Carbohydrate and Electrolyte Supplement
Dinner: "Dancing Meatballs"
Daily Nutrition Breakdown: 245g of protein, 616g of carbohydrates, 164g of fat, and 4920 calories
Supplements play an integral role in fueling elite athletes. It's challenging for a highly active 285-pound man to consume enough protein, electrolytes, and micronutrients that he needs. After exploring multiple brand deals over the years, in 2019, Aaron partnered with Ready Nutrition, a supplement company from his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa. Ready Nutrition offers a mix of protein powder, sports drinks, and healthy snacks. Here are the supplements Aaron uses.
Protein powder is a quick and easy way to ensure you consume enough protein. Aaron typically has at least one protein drink per day.
We've put together a list of the Best Protein Powders out there today.
Electrolyte drinks help athletes replenish essential minerals lost through sweat during intense activity, preventing dehydration and supporting optimal muscle function, energy levels, and overall performance. Aaron drinks electrolytes during workouts and practices.
If you think Gatorade is the end-all be-all of electrolyte drinks, think again. Check out the Best Electrolyte Supplements.
Multivitamin supplements provide a convenient way to ensure you get all the essential vitamins and minerals for overall health, energy metabolism, and immune function. A well-formulated multivitamin is a nutritional insurance policy.
You see can find our favorite Multivitamins For Men here.
Supplementing with vitamin D is beneficial as it helps support bone health, immune function, and overall well-being, particularly in individuals with limited sun exposure or those at risk of deficiency. Take 2,000 IUs daily.
Looking to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D? Vitamin D Supplements can fill the gap you might be lacking.
Training and eating like Aaron Donald doesn't guarantee you become a future Hall of Fame defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, but these three tips can 100% help you improve your fitness.
For most of us, ab training is an afterthought, if we do it at all. It's the few exercises we throw in at the end of a workout that act as more of a cool-down than anything else. Aaron Donald does core work a little differently.
He starts his week with a complete workout dedicated to abs and sprinkles more direct ab training into Friday and Saturday's workouts. To emulate Aaron Donald's workouts, you must prioritize your abs. Train them two to three times per week, starting your workout with abs at least once.
Aaron is the son of blue-collar workers in Pittsburgh, and he has brought that mindset into his training. We all like to focus on the little details of a workout. We fret over picking the right exercises, training split, and volume to create an optimal program.
There is nothing wrong with this. I do it, too. However, not even the best program in the world will take our execution out of the equation. The only way to ensure you maximize your progress is by giving maximum effort.
You may be surprised that Aaron consumes over 160g of fat daily. It's not an accident that fat makes up 30% of his calories. Eating fat is essential as it is a crucial energy source, aids in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, supports brain function, and optimizes testosterone production.
Part of eating like Aaron Donald is including some higher-fat protein sources in your diet, including eggs, turkey sausage, chicken thighs, and red meat.
Here are a few answers to common questions about Aaron Donald and his workout program.
Aaron maintains a lean physique due to genetics and high energy output. He trains and practices football five or six days per week year-round.
It's reported that Aaron Donald can squat 800lbs and bench press 500lbs.
Aaron Donald's first "personal trainer" was his father. They used to train together in the basement gym of their family home. His father taught him many life lessons in the gym. It turns out they were both cut from the same intense cloth.
At the NFL Combine, Aaron ran a 4.68 40-yard dash.
It takes a lot to stand out in a sport comprised of the best athletes on the planet. Superior genetics might get you to the dance, but it takes more than that to succeed once you are there. For Aaron Donald, it's about more than success; it's about legacy.
The good news is that becoming great is a decision. And it's a decision we all are capable of making every day. Aaron made that decision long ago and has continued to make it throughout his NFL career. The training, the diet, the recovery, and the discipline all play a role.
Now it's our turn. Aaron Donald's workout routine is a template for what greatness looks like. Although he uses it to get better at chasing quarterbacks, we can use it to pursue our own goals.
(All image credit to Aaron Donald's Instagram)
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