After what he calls the worst season of his career, Larry Fitzgerald, one of the NFL's best wide receivers, had a busy off-season. Fitzgerald headed north to Minneapolis, his hometown, with the Cardinals' new quarterback, Carson Palmer, to work on new plays before training camp. Fitzgerald, who doesn't much like losing, financed the whole thing.
With his $5 million base salary about to jump to $13 million, he can afford it. "If I play at my best, I know it gives the team a better chance to succeed," he says.
To that end, he's subjected himself to a routine refined over nine years in the NFL. Here's how Fitzgerald prepared himself – and the Cardinals – for the comeback that seems to be waiting right around the corner.
Stay active, even when you're on vacation.
"The season is long and grueling, so after it's done, I like to shut it down," says Fitzgerald. "I usually travel for a couple months." For a less ambitious man, that might mean lounging on the beach, but Fitzgerald claims to have visited 20 countries this off-season and ticked the last continent off his list with an eight-day cruise along the Antarctica coast.
"Traveling gives you a great perspective on life," he says. "It opens your eyes and makes you less culturally biased."
Even while he's on vacation, Fitzgerald doesn't let go completely. "I'm always doing something to keep the blood pumping," he says. In Nicaragua he hiked a volcano, but most days, he runs or works out in a gym. Even his most restful days involve some form of activity: "If I'm golfing, I walk."
Credit: Rebecca Zenefski