Houston Texans Star J.J. Watt on Fueling His Training and Making Every Ounce of Energy Count on the Field

JJ Watt does a workout with a 1,000 pound tire
Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

J.J. Watt leaves it all on the field.
The Houston Texans superstar knows what it takes to dominate on the gridiron and the importance of putting in the extra effort to stay in shape and train all year round.
Watt and Gatorade have come together for the “Every Ounce Counts” campaign, showing athletes that an extra ounce of effort can help determine a win or loss. Watt uses Gatorade to fuel his training and to replace what is lost in sweat.
Here’s a look at the new Gatorade spot featuring Watt:


(Read below for a Q & A with Watt)

J.J. Watt is ready for a big 2017 season.

After undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated disk that sidelined him for all but the first three games of 2016, Watt has completed rehab and is on track to participate in training camp. He’s also been firing up Instagram with his workouts. It seems the defensive end is nearly back to his usual box-jumping, super-shredded self.

In fact, even though Watt recorded just 1.5 sacks and eight total tackles last year, he thinks he can return to the same form that helped him win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award three times.

“I got a little bit more of a jump on the offseason because I didn’t play, so I’m stronger at this point than I’ve been before,” Watt told Men’s Fitness. “I obviously had a difficult year last year, but I’m back into a regular training program and regular off-season program. It’s very good to be back in the gym just working.”

When Watt’s healthy, he’s one of the most physically dominating players in the NFL.

Case in point: Watt’s personal box-jump record is 61″ (a little over 5′), he uses 1,000-lb tires in his workout routines, and in 2014 he became the only player in league history to record two separate seasons with at least 20 sacks. 

❄️❄️❄️ Tonight at Midnight. Reebok.com

A post shared by JJ Watt (@jjwatt) on

“Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I feel stronger than I’ve felt at this point in the offseason before in my career,” Watt said. His long-time trainer, Brad Arnett, helped him through an extensive rehab program. “To stay versatile and explosive, you have to bounce around. I do long, extensive workouts and we go all over the place—from the field, to the weight room, to different surfaces. It all plays a part.”

Watt’s also been working with Gatorade on a new campaign, “Every Ounce Counts,” centered around how athletes fuel their workouts and stay properly hydrated. While shooting for Gatorade, Watt spoke with Men’s Fitness about coming back from his injury, his off-season training, and why he’s confident 2017 could be his best season yet.

What has your training been like this offseason? How did your rehab factor into things?

“Last year things were difficult, but it’s been good. I’m back into a regular training program, and being in a regular off-season program has me energized. I feel like I’m back in my element, and I’m really enjoying it.”

How has your training been different than in years past?

“I went through the rehab program and did everything the doctors had me do, but once I was through all that I got to begin my off-season program earlier.”

What type of workouts did you do coming back from your injury?

“It was core work—building up to make sure my body could handle the workouts again. And now I’m back into a full, regular off-season mode. My regular training program has slight modifications. But, there aren’t a whole lot of things I can’t do. And, if there’s something I’m not technically allowed to do, there’s always a way to work [the same] muscles without putting yourself at risk.”

What’s a typical J.J. Watt workout like?  

“It’s a long, extensive, and very fast-paced workout with a lot of different moving parts. It covers everything from flexibility to power, speed to agility. So, I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s very comprehensive, including all the little muscles an athlete needs to work on, not necessarily all the main things everybody thinks, like a bench or squat.”

What do you think this new Gatorade campaign can do to help athletes?

“I’ve been working with Gatorade since my rookie year, and I think over that time period I’ve learned a lot about hydration, nutrition, and how to properly take care of my body. The “Every Ounce Counts” campaign is all about how every single ounce counts to make sure your game is taken to the next level. I mean, everybody talks about the effort and the reps, and the work you put in. But, I think, hydration, fueling, and making sure your body is ready for every workout is very important.”

What are some of your favorite moments from your work with Gatorade over the years?

“I enjoy not only working with some of the finest nutritionists and sports science people in the world, but also working with other Gatorade athletes. It’s great to know that I’ve got a partner in Gatorade, who’s fueled some of the best athletes ever—like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, and Usain Bolt.”

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