Pro Bowl New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. burst onto the NFL scene in 2014, establishing himself as one of the premier offensive threats on the gridiron.
The 22-year-old LSU grad set numerous Giants’ records in his rookie season, such as most 100-yard games and receiving yards as a first-year player. You can’t fully appreciate those accomplishments until you factor in the fact that he only played 12 of the 16 regular season NFL games.
Beckham, by no means, is as physically-imposing a force as a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. At 5’11” and 200 pounds, his strength is underestimated by opponents.
“I just have a different strength when I’m on the field. I think my size is very underrated in a way,” says Beckham.
His focus now is maintaining the same level of commitment he displayed in his rookie year to score a playoff run with his teammates.
“I think that this year will be a very good year for the Giants,” Beckham says. “I think it could be anything we want it to be.”
Heading into his second campaign in New York, Beckham is hard at work this offseason, readying his body not only on the field and in the weight room, but also in the kitchen.
The Louisiana native has partnered with EXOS, a sports performance and nutrition company. Beckham previously worked out at their Arizona facility prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. EXOS recently released a new supplement line ranging from multi-vitamins to protein powders not only for elites like Beckham, but also for amateur athletes. According to a release, the partnership is a natural fit because of its many products that are NSF Certified for Sport®, a designation recognized by the NFL, MLB, PGA, LPGA, and Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports that ensures that what is on the label is in the bottle, and that the products do not contain unsafe levels of contaminants and are free of more than 200 banned or prohibited substances. “I always shied away from trying any supplements because I didn’t know the results, but I trust EXOS and they’ve been critical in helping me take my nutrition to the next level,” says Beckham.
Beckham spoke exclusively with Men’s Fitness regarding his offseason training regimen, diet, expectations for the 2015 season, and much more. >>>
What kind of emphasis did you place on diet when you were younger?
OBJ: I don’t think I knew as much about nutrition as I do now. We always had a lot of home meals. My mom and pops always cooked at home. I never really was a huge fast food guy, even though, growing up, I did enjoy fast food and eat it. It wasn’t as important to me. On top of that, as I kid I had lots of energy and was always moving. I always played sports. My body had a way of getting out the bad stuff.
When did you start to take your diet more seriously?
OBJ: I think it was in college. After we went through a couple of nutrition classes, they talked to us about it and me being an athlete I figured it can’t hurt and it can help. Why not? The food might not be as good, but it’s not going to hurt you. I kind of took that going into the league my rookie year—just finally understanding that your wealth is your health. You are getting paid to use your body. That’s what you’re there for. Finding ways to ultimately take care of it to the best of your ability; it starts a lot with the nutrition part of it.
Can you talk about the beginning of your relationship with EXOS?
OBJ: It’s kind of like a second home to me. I left college and got away from home for the first time—all the way to another state. I’m kind of thinking at first, ‘I don’t want to go to Arizona, man.’ I just ended up falling in love with it. It’s a place that just felt like home to me. I was taken care of over there from every aspect. It’s a place that I’d definitely go back to.
Which EXOS supplements do you use and why are they important?
OBJ: I use the fish oil, and the AM and the PM [multi-vitamin] supplements provided by EXOS. You can tell the difference from taking them and not taking them; just the way that your body feels. Your body feels fuel. Staying on top of that—along with the vitamins, hydrating and eating right—you give your body a better chance of fighting fatigue, injuries, and anything you can possibly think of.
Now is the period of the offseason where you can’t have contact with coaches. Are you working out with your Giants’ teammates?
OBJ: We’re working out on our own right now. I actually have a workout with Antonio Brown [Steelers receiver] tomorrow and a couple of guys down here in Miami. Just getting down here and really getting some of that heat and you definitely want to put yourself in a condition like this, where it helps training camp time and you’ll be back. You’ll understand how to fight that fatigue and fight that heat.
Can you talk how long your workouts are and what they’re centered on?
OBJ: The workouts are random. They can go for up to three hours or they could be short as 30 minutes to an hour. It depends on the workout you’re doing. I used to do a workout [for] 30 minutes. It’s just non-stop movement. There’s never really a break. You can go that route or you can your take time and take a deep breath. Get the best out of it that way. Working out is something I love to do.
Can you go full-speed at the moment?
OBJ: I’m not full-speed. I haven’t been in a while. It definitely gets frustrating to an extent. It’s not fun when you don’t feel like you can go as hard as you possibly can. I’m the type of person that’s going to be 110 percent into each rep, no matter what kind of rep it is. I’m going to try and put my best foot forward always.
What were those workouts like at Duke back in April with teammates Eli Manning and Victor Cruz?
OBJ: We were running routes. It was Reuben [Randle], Preston [Parker], Victor and myself.
How much do you employ strength training? What are you doing that helps you get off of press coverage?
OBJ: I’m not really weight room strong. I’m not like a guy who’s going to go in there and bench 315 pounds, five times or 225 pounds, 15 times; any crazy numbers like that. I’m pretty average [in] the weight room. I’m pretty decent at Olympic lifts. I just have a different strength when I’m on the field. I think my size is very underrated in a way. I’m not a huge guy. I’m not a big guy by any means. I’m 5’11”, 6’0″. People wouldn’t believe, but I have 200 pounds behind me. It’s a lot more weight than people would think.
Do you work on dexterity and flexibility?
OBJ: [I do] yoga, pilates. Yogilates.
How often do you incorporate it into your training regimen?
OBJ: Every day that I can. Ultimately, you’re just stretching. You’re getting your body stronger, stretched out, and in flexible positions.
Being with EXOS now, how important is it for you to take clean, all-natural supplements?
OBJ: I started to realize the importance of nutrition and the health very early actually and decided to take steps forward, putting myself and my body in the best position to compete.
What was the best piece of advice you received from a coach or teammate in your first season?
OBJ: Just have fun. Be yourself. Those are things that can’t be imitated or duplicated. Those are authentic things. It’s inevitably who you are so be who you are. On top of that, handle what you have to do on the field. If you handle what you need to do on the field, everything off the field will take care of itself.
I see that EXOS has hooked you up with a culinary staff, have they given you any meal plans. Do you cook at all?
OBJ: I do, but I actually have a service of nutritional food that’s delivered to me. A couple of guys on the team use him. Steve Weatherford, our punter, actually has his own food company.
What does the future hold for the New York Giants this season?
OBJ: I think people look at us and they’re going to look back at last year and see the record. I think that this year will be a very good year for the Giants. With Vic returning, Reuben coming back and it’s a big year for him. It’s a big year for Eli. There’s a lot going on, on this team this year. I have a very good feeling about the vibe. I think it could be anything we want it to be.