Quandre Diggs #28 of the Detroit Lions intercepts a pass intended for Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets in the first quarter at Ford Field on September 10, 2018. Diggs, now with the Seahawks, has has to change his normal workout regimen amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Cedric Golden

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Golden: Amid virus concerns, Texas exes are embracing their new workout regimens

Posted April 9th, 2020

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Story highlights
  • Texas exes are figuring a way to stay in shape during their football season offseason amid restrictions to live group workouts.
  • Quandre Diggs, Adrian Colbert and Adrian Phillips meet together for Peloton workouts via the internet.
  • Tim Crowder, a member of the 2005 national championship team, With live workouts not an option, Crowder said he has partnered with Round Rock Parks and Recreation for an soon-to-released instructional workout video aimed at middle school and high school athletes.

Sports may be in a holding pattern, but the responsibilities that come with being a big-time athlete still remain.

There are two only types of shape — in and out — and excuses aren’t viewed very highly at the elite level of the games we love.

So the work has to be done.

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With the optimism floating around the country that football season has a good chance of starting on schedule in the fall, athletes can’t afford to allow the coronavirus pandemic to negatively affect their training regimens with the summer coming up.

While we wait, some notable Texas exes are making the best of the current situation. While a lot of us are working from home these days, these athletes are working out from home.

Gyms are closed down and the smartest of Americans are staying home as much possible to avoid contracting this virus. So, just like people in other vocations, athletes are figuring out a way to get it done in less conventional fashion.

Quandre Diggs, seen here at Texas Pro Day in 2015, is one of many NFL players who have been forced to change their offseason workout regimen due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Along with the people who train them.

None of them really have a choice in the matter, including NFL veterans like Quandre Diggs, Adrian Phillips, Jordan Hicks and other former Longhorns who have spent their offseasons training in Austin over the years.

This isn’t like the old days where stars could show up to training camp fat and work their way into game shape in time for the season. The competition is so fierce now that players who show up not ready to go hard can end up in the unemployment line in quick fashion.

Diggs, Phillips and Colbert are all enjoying nice careers and remain close off the field, but since this pandemic hit, they have all done the smart, sensible thing and gotten in their cardio in at the house.

Each owns a Peloton exercise bike, which, through the marvel of modern technology, brings a group setting into a room of one.

“Well, lately it’s been a garage gym workout,” said Diggs, a starting safety with the Seattle Seahawks who lives here during the offseason. “Me and my girlfriend have some equipment in there, so I put her through my workout with me with lighter bands. Then I usually hit the Peloton for a 30-minute bike ride with Phillips and Colbert.”

It’s making the best out of an unusual situation. The Peloton allows friends to meet in a virtual workout to simulate the feeling of a group workout.

In addition to virtual Peloton sessions with his buddies, Colbert, a starting safety with the Miami Dolphins, also spends time with instructor Alex Toussaint, who hosts daily 30-minute sessions that allow world-class athletes and average Joes alike to work out together.

Toussaint is like a lot of us. He had hoop dreams growing up, but there came a time when he realized that not everyone can make it to that level. So now he’s training great athletes online, like free agent quarterback Cam Newton, who appeared with him in a workout last summer, according to a story on ESPN.com.

“I wasn’t good enough (for the NBA), so for me at Peloton, this is my way of feeling like I’m in the league in a sense,” Toussaint said in the article. “I try to bring that straight athlete approach to my class. I feel like for them it’s super relatable. I think the approach is super relatable. The delivery is super relatable, the music is super relatable. It makes them want to compete and want to continue to show up.”

Former Texas player Tim Crowder, center, who owns the training company Nuclear Athletes, is seen here at Texas Pro Day in 2017,  with fellow Texas exes Quandre Diggs, left, and Michael Griffin, right. Crowder is coming up with new ways to reach his clients amid the pandemic. (Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman)

After his football career ended, Texas ex Tim Crowder found a second passion in the area of athletic training back in 2014.

The owner of Nuclear Athletes has brought his self-described outside-the box training techniques to not only some familiar names in these parts but also to middle school and high school athletes looking to take their performance to the next level.

Diggs and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks are part of a client list that once included his former 2005 national championship teammates Michael Griffin, Jamaal Charles and Tarell Brown before they retired. He also trains younger athletes.

With live workouts not an option, Crowder said he has partnered with the Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department for a soon-to-be-released instructional workout video aimed at middle school and high school athletes.

“Everyone is struggling right now, so I have to step my game up and get this out to the public,” Crowder said. “At the end of the day, you may not be making anything (financially) but it will all come back ten-fold if you treat people right.”

Crowder is doing just that. One of his clients happens to be my cousin. Gary Choice is a father of four. Two of his kids — Darien and Gary III — are in the seventh and ninth grade, respectively, in the Hutto school district. The boys have worked with Crowder for more than a year, but the pandemic halted that momentum. Their current workouts happen in the family backyard with a program.

“He told me not to send him any money,” Choice said. “They’re following the workouts, running around the neighborhood and maintaining a safe social distance from others.”

Like Crowder said, it will all come back eventually.

And hopefully, so will our normal existence. In the meantime, it’s good to see some folks out there taking care of their wellness business in responsible fashion, even if it’s not our old way of doing things.

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