Ascent's General Manager, Paul Vraciu, sat down with Christian McCaffrey to talk life, football and nutrition.
P: Can you talk a little about hard work and what it means to you? And, what it means to you over the years of playing ball?
C: It means a lot to me. Hard work has always been something I pride myself on. Never being outworked and taking that one step extra to be better. Whether it’s doing research on what the next best thing is or whether it’s staying late to try and perfect my craft. Whatever it may be. I learned to fall in love with the process of getting better and the process of trying to be the most complete football player I can be. And, I think the best part of working hard is that there is always work to be done and you are never at a plateau. That is something that I have taken and tried to own my whole life.
P: What drew you to working with Ascent?
C: Well, a lot. I think first off, knowing that it has the Colorado connection and obviously being born and raised here. And then, I looked more into what the brand stands for and I really enjoyed that, “The Official Sponsor of Hard Work.” It’s something I pride myself on; hard work. Even then though, I wasn’t jumping to it. So, I tried Ascent and that’s when I realized that it was a great product, it tastes good and I felt great taking it. After that, it was a no-brainer. Everything I pride myself on Colorado, working as hard as I can and taking care of my body and nutrition. So, it all kind of came into one.
P: Why do you take protein?
C: I take protein because obviously I do a lot of strenuous physical activity, you know my body is always being broken down. I’ve tried doing everything, different diets all that. And, I find that if I take protein, specifically whey protein, after a training session, after a game or even a little bit at half time during a game, I find myself being able to get back to 100% faster. Obviously when your training and getting hit all the time, your muscles break down. And, the quicker I can get those back to 100%, the better I am to operate in my field of work.
P: For you, what makes Ascent different than other options?
C: I feel the results work the best. I’ve tried a whole bunch of different supplements, but when I take the pre-workout, I feel energized, I feel like I can go for longer. Afterwards when I take the whey protein, I just feel like I can continue to train and not get tired. I think that’s been the biggest reason for why I take it and what makes Ascent different. When you look at the clients that they have and the amount of hard work that’s been put in, it shows that they understand that it isn’t just the supplement that’s going make you who you are, it comes with being able to train as hard as you possibly can at whatever field your doing.
P: Can you talk about how critical nutrition and recovery are for your performance?
C: I would say nutrition and recovery are the most important thing in my field. There’s a whole bunch of very talented athletes all over the field and you have to be better than those guys. I’ve found the best way to compete against athletes who are similar to you in speed quickness and strength, is by finding advantages through recovery. Can you be at your best longer than they can? Can you do it consistently throughout a season? The best players stay healthy, and that comes with taking care of your body off the field. When it comes time to compete, there is nothing that is going to hinder you from doing your best.
P: Have you had any nutrition revelations over the past couple years?
C: Yeah, I think when I got out of college I really started to figure it all out. In college, I would eat whatever I could, whatever was available. But when I started taking nutrition seriously, I went and got my blood work done and found out I was allergic to a lot of the stuff I had been eating. And, that was the biggest revelation for me, I realized what I needed to eat and when.
P: Was there a moment that you knew that football was the path you wanted to go down?
C: Yeah, when I was 7 years old I knew that football was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I’ll never forget, it was my first real year of tackle football and we had lost to the Cherry Creek Bruins 33-0 in the regular season. We ended up making it to the super bowl where we played them again. It was a huge blizzard, snow everywhere, you could barley see. You know, at the time when your 7, it looks like the crowd is filled with people, but really it was a few parents and that was it. Ends up being a tied game at the end of regulation, so we go into overtime and the way it works is that we get 4 tries and they get 4 tries. So, we start with it, at the 4th down I ran the ball in and scored a touchdown that gave us the lead. Then it was there turn, and on the 4th down they did a double reverse pass and when they threw it, I batted it down. I remember the play briefly, but I just remember so much emotion coming through me and I just started crying, this was the first time that I really felt emotional towards something. The parents stormed the field, and I remember my mom picking me up and giving me a big hug and I had tears running through my eyes. And, that’s when I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life.
P: I assume you have hard days, when you feel like you’re not quite on it. Is that the case?
C: Definitely. Yeah, there’s always days that you wake up or you start training and you just don’t feel right. Maybe, your feeling down, whatever it is. But, my coaches have always told me that you just need to train through those moments, you just keep training through them and they will eventually go away. Sometimes you got to fake it to make it, maybe turn a song on or take a little more pre-workout, that’s how you push through those. It makes when you do feel good a whole lot better.
P: Do you ever feel like you have something to prove out there on the field?
C: Yeah, I’ve always felt that I’ve had something to prove. My whole life, I’ve kind of been counted out. I’ve had a lot of naysayers and a lot of people that tell me that I can’t do this or can’t do that for whatever reason. I’ve learned throughout my journey that the best way is not to prove people wrong anymore, but to prove myself right, because that’s way harder than proving people wrong. I’ve got goals and aspirations that are higher than they could even think of and that’s made it fun, it’s made me ignore a lot of the negative comments and focus on myself and where I want to be.
P: Can you talk a little about what those goals are?
C: The biggest goal, something that I’ve always wanted to do is win a super bowl. Or, multiple. That’s the ultimate goal for any football player, for any kid growing up wanting to be an NFL player. I obviously have a lot of individual goals that I want to reach. But, you know the biggest one and the one at the top is to win a super bowl. That would be the ultimate measure of a team and the epitome of a beautiful sport and a beautiful team that comes together and does it. So, that’s the dream.