I’m afraid that the career I love might be hazardous to my health. That’s because every year during basketball season I put on 25-30 lbs of extra weight. I’ve always been able to lose most of that extra baggage once the season is over, but each year that scale tips to a slightly higher number and the process of losing it becomes more difficult. So how did I get to this point? The same way everyone else does, poor diet and lack of exercise. However, sportscasting adds some unique challenges to staying fit and the job by nature makes it difficult to be healthy. There are four factors that make a healthy lifestyle difficult for sportscasters:
1) Road Trips: When we’re on the road, the school usually is required to feed both the team and, by extension, the announcer. But unless you’re way up on the sportscasting totem pole, you’re probably stuck with budget-friendly cuisine such as pizza on the bus or a quick McDonalds stop on the way home. I cover 70-80 games per year between football and basketball. Figure that half of those games are on the road, and that’s 35-40 meals that consist of nothing but negative nutritional value. That doesn’t even include the longer road trips with multiple meals and snacks on the bus.
2) Time Management: My job is 3/4 sales and about 1/4 sports. I would prefer that ratio to be flipped, but for now that is what my employer demands. As a result, I have to find a way to meet high sales quotas and find the time to do adequate prep work for my games. We happen to have a Subway about 10 feet from our side door and that leads to frequent sub runs when working through my lunch break. This leads to foot long subs lodged in my midsection when I would usually go home and prepare something healthy or try to get a noon workout.
3) Grocery Shopping Challenges: I’m unmarried and live by myself. Fruits and vegetables have an expiration date and lean meats take a long time to properly thaw. I’m on the road a lot. As a result, I’ll frequently try to buy healthy food only to have stuff spoil before I can eat it. Most radio announcers, myself included, are working on limited budgets. With the price of healthy food being as high as it is, it’s just more feasible to buy cheaper food items full of preservatives that will never go bad.
4) Long Hours: We touched on this earlier, but the long hours make finding time to cook difficult. With my sales responsibilities I generally do my game prep in the evenings. Wanting to get to bed at a reasonable hour, I will often settle for bringing home fast food or having pizza delivered as opposed to taking an hour or more to eat and prepare healthier options. These same hours make it difficult to find time to get in the gym. Certainly I could go early in the morning —and probably should — but with all the late nights I struggle to find the motivation to get up and waste precious hours of sleep.
Judging by the average waistline of sportscasters I know I’m not the only person to have struggles with in season weight gain. The solution to the problem is simple to identify, but difficult to execute. Better meal planning and prep means a healthier diet. Bringing your own meals on road trips solves the problem of bus pizza. Working out early in the AM to burn a few calories. But man, once the grind of the season is in full swing, it’s really hard to follow through with what it takes. I don’t want my passion for sportscasting to take years off my life. It’s going to be important to figure out ways to be disciplined in both my craft and in my eating habits. How do you manage a healthy lifestyle while in season? Comment Below.