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Kelly Starrett: On this episode of The Ready State Podcast we have the incomparable Matt Hasselbeck. Now if you’ve been living in a hole, chances are you haven’t heard of the name Matt Hasselbeck but the rest of us that’s an old familiar name when it comes to football. His brother NFL quarterback, his dad played a little football and I think he even has a championship ring, but Matt Hasselbeck has played 18 years in the season. He played for the Colts. He played for the Titans. He’s been to three Pro Bowls. Currently he’s an ESPN analyst on Sunday NFL Countdown and you might even see him on Thursday night college football games. One of the reasons that he’s on today is it turns out, I’m pretty sure he’s the oldest NFL quarterback there ever was.
Kelly Starrett: Matt and I got to know each other, I don’t know, handful of years ago through the family and we got to work together a little bit during those later stages of his career when suddenly it turned out he didn’t have a 22 year old body. We’re excited to talk to him on this episode because I think he can really put into context some of the frustrations and some of the best behaviors and practices where we have to integrate our young savage selves with our more maturing stiff older leopard selves. Matt is a terrific guy. I’m excited to have this conversation. I know you’re going to enjoy it too.
Juliet Starrett: Welcome to the Ready State podcast, Matt, we are so excited to have you.
Matt Hasselbeck: Hi guys. What’s up?
Kelly Starrett: I have to be honest, it feels like sometimes that we had to create this entire podcast season just to be able to hang out with you and your family a little more.
Matt Hasselbeck: I feel like I only call you in like times of crisis actually. Like when I’ve seen every doctor, athletic trainer, talk to every expert and they don’t have answers. What do I do? I call my friends in the Presidio out West and I say, “All right, I need a solution. What do you know?”
Kelly Starrett: Well, that’s very generous of you and we are thrilled to take your perspective today because one of the things that I think we wrap our heads around is, okay, we love professional sports. We are obsessed with human performance as a culture. We’ve professionalized, we’ve commodified, we’ve done all of the things, but it’s sometimes a young person’s game and one of the things clearly, I mean I think you’re younger than I am, which makes you obviously very young, but one of the things that I think is really telling is how your relationship changes for preparation and self care and what you think about and how you manage all this and I just… we really are excited to talk to you about just kind of this perspective of still performing at the highest level ever.
Kelly Starrett: I mean, I think people pretty much try to draft you this summer and here we are again, right, so can you talk… just set us up for a little bit about your history in football just quick. I mean, we talked in our intro about how rad you are, but just give us a quick tour of the places you’ve been because it’s not nothing.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah. I mean I grew up in a football family and my dad played in the NFL for nine years and then ironically wouldn’t let us play football. He had no desire to have his kids play football. We all ended up playing football, but it was mandatory that we played a bunch of sports. I played three sports all the way through high school. Very much a believer in multi-sport athletes. I hate specialization because of my experience, but I was kind of a late bloomer, made it to the NFL surprisingly, wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine. Ended up playing 18 years in the NFL because Andy Reid was the quarterback’s coach with the Green Bay Packers and drafted me and got my start, but one thing I had to do was each and every year I had to find a way to get a competitive advantage to stay in the league at first to make a team, and then by the end of my career, I was starting at 40 years old like I started I think eight or nine games as a 40 year old.
Kelly Starrett: As one does.
Matt Hasselbeck: I had to find ways to improve each and every year. It was the advice that I got from one of my coaches and then we just kind of made it my thing. Every off season I tried to find something new, some competitive advantage, some way to make myself better. Find a weakness and turned it into a strength, stuff like that and that’s summarized, so that’s kind of my journey in football.
Juliet Starrett: How common is it for people to play in the NFL for 18 years?
Matt Hasselbeck: Well, the average career is somewhere around 2.8 years, so it’s not that common. I benefited a little bit that I was a backup most of my life in college, so I didn’t get the crap beat out of me in college the way that some guys do. I only really played two years in college and then I got drafted to the Green Bay Packers in my first three years. I was on the bench backing up this guy named Brett Favre. My health is probably a little bit better than some just because of that experience right there, but in those three years I was training, I was getting stronger. I was sort of growing into my body. I was watching what people did all around me. The guys that lasted were training and working hard a certain way. The guys that weren’t lasting, were doing other things and so those were formative years for me.
Matt Hasselbeck: I also played 18 years in the NFL and then obviously five years in college, I was on the team and have only had one surgery in my life. I’m really fortunate as well. A lot of guys that I’ve played with that played maybe one or two years have had 10 surgeries in two years and so to have just one, I feel really fortunate. That doesn’t mean that I was told to have one. I was told to have surgery many times in my 18 year career, but I looked for other solutions before I went the surgery route and I’m so glad that I did and even the surgery that I had was… I kind of just went for a second opinion.
Matt Hasselbeck: If I’m being completely honest with you, I went down for a second opinion, went out to dinner, shared a bottle of wine with the people that I went to dinner with and took a phone call from Drew Brees and Drew Brees was like, hey man, I just want to call you back, give you a recommendation. I had the same injury, you should do the surgery and it’s only because Drew Brees after I had had like a glass of wine or two sort of talked me into it. Did I end up having the surgery. I was in Alabama on my way to fly home to Seattle the next day. I’m like, somehow Drew Brees talked me into it. I called the doctor back. I’m like, sure, let’s do surgery tomorrow and that’s really the only reason I even had that surgery so-
Kelly Starrett: Do you think it’s because Drew Brees is such an amazing competitor that he was trying to sabotage you?
Matt Hasselbeck: No.
Kelly Starrett: He is the most amazing kind person ever, comma , also competitor.
Matt Hasselbeck: Drew Brees had a really, really nasty, nasty shoulder injury to his throwing shoulder when he was the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers. That’s why no one wanted him. The Miami Dolphins didn’t want him. I think the New Orleans Saints were like, you know what, we’ll take your damaged goods, your damaged shoulder, we’ll do it but he had torn his labrum.
Juliet Starrett: That was obviously a good bet.
Matt Hasselbeck: He had torn his labrum. He had torn his rotator cuff. He had done all this stuff in his throwing shoulder and Dr. James Andrews did this surgery. This guy, I believe his name’s Kevin Wilk, Lenny Macrina. Those guys did his rehab and basically he came back better than he was before he was healthy. It was remarkable. I mean it was really something to admire and so a year later I in my left shoulder, my non throwing shoulder, I’m going for a second opinion and I just have the labrum part, I don’t even have the rotator cuff.
Matt Hasselbeck: They had actually told me that I needed the surgery four years earlier. It was right before sort of a free agent year type thing and they probably were just trying to make sure I was not going to be a liability injury wise down the road and somehow Drew just was like, hey man, this is so great. I’m going to tell you what, my shoulder’s never felt so good. I got more pop. My core stronger, like everything’s better. I’m doing these exercises. I learn new exercises for shoulder stability. My posterior delt is better than it ever was.
Matt Hasselbeck: And he just kind of talked me into it. Almost got me excited for surgery and so I was really appreciative. I was really thankful. I do the surgery, I wake up the next morning, I’m in so much pain. I hate Drew Brees. I hate him. I’m like, damn, you Drew Brees. This is a terrible decision. I feel awful and then I sort of felt that way for the next few months rehabbing but once I got through it, I understood what he was saying and I really was thankful, and I’ll always be appreciative to Drew for the advice he kind of gave me then and then other times he’s given me advice but yeah, that was it. I do feel fortunate to obviously have played a long time, but to sort of escaped without the injuries that some guys have had.
Kelly Starrett: So luck aside, I mean, I have watched Drew warm up. I have been in the same weight room as Drew. He is kind of meticulous. He knows that you can’t skimp on some of the basics. He just has a routine. He knows how it feels. He’s tuned in with himself. Do you remember who the people were that sort of gave you that glimpse of what it was going to take to become and take care of yourself, those older players? And do you remember sort of some of those behaviors?
Matt Hasselbeck: For sure. Drew ironically is younger than me and he just was kind of a leader in that space. There was a bunch of guys like I would call it the San Diego guys and this happened when I was even in college, but there was a group of guys in San Diego that were just getting after it in different ways than everybody else in terms of training and Drew was really the first guy, like when all these quarterbacks were doing the workout that the rest of the team was doing. Like pretty much every football team, I shouldn’t say every, but a lot of football teams, they do great exercises. It’s power cleans, it’s squats, it’s deadlifts, it’s pull ups, it’s inclined bench. They’re good exercises. There’s nothing at all wrong with the exercises, but they’re probably more suited for guys that are possibly like linebackers or people that are tackling or blocking.
Matt Hasselbeck: Sometimes with a quarterback, even though that stuff is very important, and that needs to be a part of the equation for sure, some of the stuff that you do as a quarterback, you’re a side to side athlete. You’re almost more like a tennis player sometimes than you are like a linebacker and so Drew was one of the first guys that really was aggressive that I remember being aggressive with band work, being aggressive with different forms of shoulder stability type stuff like… shoulder stability in the weight rooms that I was growing up in were like, hey, we’re going to do a snatch.
Matt Hasselbeck: We’re going to snatch, we’re going to get good at shoulder stability and that is probably true, but like for us as throwers was a little bit different and so Drew was one of those first guys but other than that, like the guys ahead of me, guys older than me, it just really wasn’t a thing. It was really like after practice you might sit in the cold tub and then you’re going to go have a couple of cold beers and you’re going to like ice yourself from the inside out and the recovery wasn’t a part of it.
Matt Hasselbeck: Even like at the beginning of my NFL career, like every pregame, every pregame there’d be like a pregame meal and the meal would be like spaghetti, hamburgers, maybe Lasagna, beer, light beer and then I like an ice cream sundae bar. Like that’s what they were feeding guys the night before the game and even the day of the game you eat four hours before the game and then you don’t eat again until after the game and at half time there’ll be some orange slices, literally orange slices like you had when you were like in fifth grade at soccer practice-
Juliet Starrett: Right, fifth grade soccer.
Matt Hasselbeck: And that’s it, and then after a game, like after an away game, no food, none. Like you get on the plane, like you would get your food when you get on the plane and so you’d be waiting that whole time to get like food back in your body. There was no such thing as like recovery. No one was getting in the ice tub after an away game. Like none of that stuff was happening and so I think about it even… I’ll tell you this, when you got on the plane, you had a burger. That’s what you get. You would get a hamburger or a cheeseburger and you’d have two Miller Lites and that was what they gave you on the… that was it.
Matt Hasselbeck: Now obviously times have changed. There’s no alcohol anymore, pregame or post game. Teams have gotten a little bit smarter, you still have orange slices in every NFL locker room, I can promise you that but there is also other things. Like there might be like a little protein thing or there might be peanut butter and jelly, but I just really think like there’s a… we have a long way to go in football in terms of hitting some of the other things, whether it’s nutrition, whether it’s recovery and I think some teams are way ahead of the curve on it but not everybody.
Kelly Starrett: We’d like to say your sort of positional competency, your ability to hit shapes. It’s like a credit score. It’s a dynamic living document. When you got in, started paying attention to some of the things the guys were doing, you had that incredible experience with Andrews who isn’t in his staff and they’re just amazing down there but do you feel like there was a change in the amount and kinds of preparation things you did? I mean, like you’re like, okay, I’m strong enough and when I started I did these things and as I finished my career I really had to focus on some other things slightly more important. Kind of talk about that for a second.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah, I can remember talking to different guys and when I was younger and immature, like I would ask people for advice. Like I had good strength coaches. It wasn’t that. I had asked them for their advice. I’d say, “Hey, what supplements should I be on?” And they would say, “Well, before we talk about that, are you getting enough sleep?” And I’d be like, alright, forget you man. I’ll go talk to somebody else. Like, that’s not the answer I wanted to hear, but I kept getting that answer over and over again and I remember I was with this guy, Ken Verstegen, who owns and runs Exos and like he… I asked him that question and he had a way of like sort of like looking right through me and I was just like… he asked me the sleep thing and I was like, really?… I’m sorry, Mark Verstegen, why’d I say Ken.
Matt Hasselbeck: I said, Mark Verstegen. I said Mark, really like sleep. Like seriously? Like that’s your one thing. Like, look at you. You’re totally fit, you’re in shape and he’s like, I’m telling you right now, this is the most under appreciated and underrated thing that NFL football players are doing in terms of recovery. You need to get on board and so when he said it to me, even though all my strength coaches and my team had said it to me, but when this, like when Mark this like third party, like wasn’t my boss said it to me, I absolutely was in on it and there’s ways that you can kind of learn about better ways to get deep sleep. And like for a few off seasons, that’s what I attacked. Like I attacked that as a thing and then there needed to be other things, but that was the one that just shocked me like in a day and age when I thought it was all about supplements and exercises and all this other stuff. There’s actually something to recovery.
Matt Hasselbeck: Like recovery is just as important as how you train and that blew my mind from the first time I realized it.
Juliet Starrett: Can you tell us a little bit more about what actual things you were doing in that time you were trying to improve your sleep?
Matt Hasselbeck: Well, at the time there was a company and I’m going to screw up the name of it, but it was like Zeo or something like that but you wore this headband. You literally wore this headband with sensors and it would train you and give you a score, like in shoot out on your smartphone or whatever, like how you slept. I think there’s this perception like at least there was in football that like, oh the best thing to do before you sleep is like have a couple beers and you’ll sleep better, have a glass of wine and you’ll sleep better or, some people say, oh you shouldn’t watch TV or be on your screen, on your laptop or your phone right before bed because of this and that and it’s kind of like, well you don’t really know. That’s just sort of anecdotal. Did you have a good night of sleep or not?
Matt Hasselbeck: This, I don’t know headband thing. It would give you a score and you would get competitive with the other people that you were training with. Like what did you score last night? Well I scored an 85. What’d you score? Well, I scored a 95. Well what’d you do? Well I did this, I did that and it was like you would train yourself and you would realize that you were not hitting this deep sleep from two Bud Lights before bed. You really weren’t and so it was fascinating. Now that company ended up going under, like for whatever. Sometimes a great idea is not a successful business the first time out, right, and so that went under but since then, obviously there’s many more apps and things and you don’t have to wear a headband that can kind of track your sleep and so that was… I knew, it’s kind of funny because you’d go to sleep with the thing on and then you wake up somewhere around your ankle, you have no idea how but-
Kelly Starrett: The score is slipping away. Where’s my score? Okay, here we’re talking-
Matt Hasselbeck: You actually you wake up super disappointed when you didn’t get an accurate reading. You’re like, dang. I’m mad about this.
Kelly Starrett: Yeah, because you took so much ribbing from the person sharing the bed with you about your dorky headband.
Matt Hasselbeck: No, I would say this, my wife-
Kelly Starrett: That would never happen to me.
Matt Hasselbeck: One of the reasons that I was successful though, my wife was all in on it. Like everything that we would do, like everything. I remember Kelly, I went and saw you and you were talking about NormaTec boots and NormaTec boots were something that I saw in our athletic training rooms all the time. It was what the injured guys had. I never saw healthy guys doing it though and you were like, hey listen, you need to stop getting in the cold tub. You need to hop in these NormaTec boots. You need to use a Marc Pro, you need to do all this stuff.
Matt Hasselbeck: Well, NormaTec boots are awesome, but like they’re not exactly awesome when the person next to you is trying to sleep and you forgot to do it all day and then you do it at night but my wife would be… we get in bed and be like, I should NormaTec and she’s like… I’d say, oh, I should NormaTec. Oh well I’ll just do it tomorrow and she’d be like, lights would be out. She was like, no, get up right now. Get in the NormaTec and I’m like, all right, here we go. I was like, “mmmeerrrrhhhh, mmmeerrrrhhhh” and just… she was super supportive and that makes a huge difference.
Matt Hasselbeck: Like it’s one of those things, it’s almost like exercise where you’re like, I don’t know if I’m up for this right now. I don’t know if I have the energy and then you do it. You’re like, oh man, this is the greatest thing I ever did. Like, I’m so happy I did it.
Kelly Starrett: Here we are talking to… I love this, we’re talking to like a hall of fame quarterback. You are talking about nerding out with your all American wife about sleep and here you are now sort of a busy guy. I’m going to have to put retired in quotation marks. You’re on Sunday night football, the Countdown. You’re covering all the college stuff. Are you doing good job still protecting your sleep now because we believe sort of fundamentally that like sports are important because they tell us how to live when we’re not doing sports, right, so pressure test. Do you feel like some of these behaviors are sticking around? And I also happen to know you have kids. Tell me how that’s working on them?
Juliet Starrett: And we know you’re traveling a ton. How are you managing your sleep around all this through your life?
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah. Travel is brutal. I mean, anybody that travels for a living, they know how brutal that is and the challenges that come with that. I don’t think sleep… so the sleep thing for me was probably 10, 15 years ago that that was like the mountain that I climbed so to speak. My eyes were open to that. Since that time there’ve been so many different things. Like for me it turned into like training type stuff. Getting out of some of the stuff that I was doing and getting… attacking exercises that I didn’t love to do. My favorite exercise, my absolute favorite exercise as a 40 year old in the weight room in the NFL was a hex bar deadlift. Like I didn’t deadlift when I was 25 to 30. Then all of a sudden when I’m 35 to 40, the deadlift is my favorite exercise and the one that I can’t live without and the one that I knew that I needed.
Matt Hasselbeck: I think with me right now where I’m at finding… being intentional about having a plan like this… when you’re in the NFL, it’s actually easier because you just go to bed, you wake up, you show up at work and there’s a team of people that tell you exactly what to do. I walk into the weight room. My last team was the Indianapolis Colts. I walk into the weight room and on the whiteboard is a workout written out for me. That two or three professional strength coaches stayed up all night or thought about or I’ve done this and like they wrote my workout out thinking about me. What kind of Tuesday do I need to have? What does he need to do Wednesday, they have a plan.
Matt Hasselbeck: Now you’re retired from playing in the NFL and now you’re talking about football on ESPN. No one cares about that. No one’s looking out for you. They don’t even… you show up, you’re in like a hotel, you’re in a like a DoubleTree with like three treadmills and maybe an elliptical and then a dumbbell rack, like no one cares. You have to be really intentional about how you’re going to get your workouts in, what you’re going to do. For me, when I travel, compression socks are something that I absolutely love.
Matt Hasselbeck: I have found dress sock, compression socks, which have changed my life when I travel. Flying across country, taking red eyes, all that kind of stuff. I have found that to be an important thing for me. Another thing that I do, like if I’m calling, I would call Thursday night college football games this year. A lot of studying goes in, like you memorize two rosters and then you purge it, move on to the next week. You memorize two rosters an offense, a defense for both schools.
Matt Hasselbeck: Instead of sitting around like studying, I would go on walks in whatever city we’re in with my partner in crime that I’m studying with. Like my… call it stats guy or whoever it might be. Instead of having like a 45 minute meeting, we’re going to go on a 45 minute walk in Memphis-
Kelly Starrett: So good.
Matt Hasselbeck: …talking about the Houston Cougars versus the Memphis Tigers and he’s quizzing me on the third string running back and what happens? Who’s the left handed wide receiver we might see a double pass from tonight? And just finding ways to not be sitting. Kelly, I think you were the person who told me sitting is the new smoking and I thought about it and like, man, I am sitting all the time. Finding ways where I can do something where I’m not just stationary like that has definitely been helpful. One of the things that’s been helpful,
Kelly Starrett: I remember-
Juliet Starrett: I imagine you probably do a better job remembering those rosters while you’re actually walking as well because your brain is turned on.
Kelly Starrett: Fact.
Matt Hasselbeck: I hope that’s true.
Kelly Starrett: This was a conversation you and I actually had about being woken up for… you and Andrew Luck sort of in one of your sort of last seasons where you guys were in the playoffs and you were just saying, hey, how can we kind of get prepped a little bit better and just getting your body moving instead of just being in that hotel room kind of freaking out.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah. That was fascinating. Some of this stuff that you had told Andrew and myself and some of the other guys we had come out to see you actually and we had said, all right, here’s our schedule, here’s what we do. Where do you see some weaknesses? Like where do you see some blind spots and that’s one of the hard things, especially when you play a night game is like the coaching staff is… they’ve kind of lock you in the hotel because they don’t want you to be distracted or they don’t want you to… I don’t know. I can’t tell like there’s-
Kelly Starrett: Be distracted. I think that’s a nice way of saying that.
Matt Hasselbeck: Well, here’s the thing. In the NFL, like when you stay at a hotel, you’re all on the same floor and there’s police officers on your floor so that no one can come up and bother you. Although like the more I think about it, it might be so that you can’t leave. It’s like both, it’s like a both and, but it’s important to try to find a way to get everything moving and I don’t know, like whatever. You had talked to us and that Andrew Luck really adopted that into one of his things. Like he went for a really strenuous walk in the mornings of big games that we had that night and I think that was something that was important to me.
Matt Hasselbeck: I know… probably it was like when we learned that he was the starting quarterback and I was the backup quarterback so it was great for me because I was just going to be standing on the sidelines for those two years watching him play but there was stuff like that. I think you taught me too something about a cold shower. What was that one?
Kelly Starrett: I think it’s just about trying to get yourself spun up in the morning because I… what I appreciate about your experience was that you always felt like you are still a family person. You did such a good job I feel like of managing work life balance and so one of the things that you did an amazing job especially as you became a more elderly athlete was that you integrate-
Juliet Starrett: Elderly.
Kelly Starrett: You integrated a lot of practices. You didn’t just add a bunch of more noise to the system. You kind of work these things in and getting ready for the day after a long trip or a big event. I mean, I think it’s a testament sort of… I just saw this quote by Moshé Feldenkrais and he is a… Feldenkrais is a movement restoration program. It kind of came up with Ida Rolf and he was like, the measurement of your health is the ability to take a huge sort of hit to the system and still remain unchanged, right, and that could be sickness, that could be injury and I really felt like, wow, that’s a really nice way of thinking about health.
Kelly Starrett: One of the things that I think you did such a good job of in that year when you said at age 40, you started eight games is you were ready to go and I think sometimes as we’re working with corporations and businesses and trying to help people solve is that we’re really living on the margins and the edge of capacity and you had already sort of had these things just built into your life that really made you resilient. We are not doing a good job in our lives of just having enough slack so that you can sort of turn on and ready to go.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah, that’s a great point. There were years where I was able to work incredibly, incredibly hard in the off season and I felt like I was sort of making deposits in the bank and as the season went you were able to like say you break a couple ribs, you have enough like in the bank-
Kelly Starrett: As one does.
Matt Hasselbeck: …to like get through it and there were one or two years where just if I’m being really critical of myself, the plan that I picked for the off season wasn’t enough. It wasn’t gritty enough. It wasn’t hard enough. I didn’t put enough investment into my bank account to like pull from once the season came but one thing that I… you said something there that this was something that I did that I am so glad that I did it and it was fun to do. In our warmup preparation before every practice. Say practice starts at one o’clock.
Matt Hasselbeck: A lot of players show up at like 12:30, 12:45. You’re on the field and like you’re kind of getting ready for practice, just kind of sort of and then like practice starts at one o’clock and you’re still kind of just feeling your way into it. You’re getting loose or whatever. I was encouraged by this guy in Canada that I worked with that I absolutely loved. He see… he like looked me dead in the eyes and he was like, what time does practice start? I’m like, one o’clock, you? No, not for you. I’m like, what do you mean? And so he just flipped my mind and he was like, I want you to basically do everything you need to do and be done with it before that one o’clock practice starts and it just flipped my mind.
Matt Hasselbeck: I was looking for all these exercises. You see all these quarterbacks pregame doing all their exercises. We have all those exercises, but what I did, I tried to pull exercises from other sports. I would work out and talk to hockey players and be like, all right, what are your three favorite warmup exercises? What are your best exercises? Talk to baseball players. What are your favorite exercises? What do you do? Andrew Luck and I were doing Alex Morgan women’s soccer exercises to get us going. I saw it on like Instagram. I saw like a left foot like skip, skip, skip, skip, sprint, skip, skip, skip, skip, sprint like single leg and I’m like… ran into Alex Morgan at one time and I’m like, hey, can you tell me about this exercise?
Matt Hasselbeck: What else do you guys like to do? And like every year, anytime I would see any world class athlete, I would ask them a question like that. Usually they all had something that was like, ah, I don’t know. This is what I love and I just made it like part of our deal and we would spend 30 minutes, 40 minutes, whatever it was doing those exercises. Not only was it fun, but it was so, so helpful.
Juliet Starrett: So you mentioned a little while back in the podcast that when you were 40 your favorite exercise was the hex bar deadlift and I’m wondering what are you into now and sort of what are you thinking that you need to be focused on as you get older?
Matt Hasselbeck: This is funny. Right now because of timing and because of where I am. I am sort of living on the Peloton. On Peloton bike, on Peloton tread and I was really feeling like, oh, this is good, this is all I need. I’m good to go, blah, blah, blah. While I was outside shoveling… I live in Boston now, so I was outside shoveling my driveway for way too long today and then after that I decided to shoot some hoops and what I found was, oh my gosh, I need more cross training in my life.
Matt Hasselbeck: It’s like a use it or lose it. That’s how I felt when I was out there shooting hoops and I can guarantee you I’m going to be way too sore, way more sore than I should be from shoveling tomorrow. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing during the football season, but I need to get back on something that’s probably a little more… makes me a little more well rounded, I would say.
Kelly Starrett: It’s very reasonable that during peak… sometimes we try to help remind people, let’s control, you control, like you’re in a very hard work time now sort of wrapping up a little bit here soon, and then you’re just like, you manage what you can, so you’re like, hey, I’m going to stay cardiovascular fit. You can’t look too fat on TV. It’s kind of a problem. Trust me I know.
Matt Hasselbeck: You know, it’s just a wardrobe, man. The wardrobe. You got to get the buttons to fit.
Kelly Starrett: That’s right. That’s right, and then I think what’s really interesting as you said there is I think a lot of people think that if I run or I bike, I’m going to be fit and that is not the same thing that you just described. The 20 to 30 minutes of play of movement exploration, of moving, of skipping, those are the things I think just gets sucked out of our lives and we think this biking is a thing, right? I mean it’s so easy to get caught up in the metrics of Peloton because it’s so fun and you’re there and you just sweat and felt like you’re an athlete and then you stand up and you realize you’re stiff and your ankle’s not working and you’ve not-
Juliet Starrett: Your butt is flat.
Kelly Starrett: And you’re not springy. You’ve lost your glutes.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah.
Kelly Starrett: It’s true.
Matt Hasselbeck: Well, the hard thing for me, like just the nature of my schedule, what I was doing is calling Thursday night football on the road, going to ESPN for Sunday NFL pregame shows and you’d be in there Sunday and then sometimes doing Monday night football just… and I was teaching a class at Boston College and the class was just Tuesday nights and it’s two and a half hours. Like there’s just not time in the day to always get outside and that’s probably one of the biggest challenges that I have had.
Matt Hasselbeck: That’s why I was saying just really have to be intentional but the one thing that I’ve learned sort of like this, like lately, this is something important for me. With football players there’s a lot of attention brought to CTE and brain injury and all that kind of stuff and that’s a concern for a lot of guys. Fortunately for me, that wasn’t something that I dealt with in my career, but you just never know and it’s something you think about.
Matt Hasselbeck: I have done research and I’ve listened to and heard from people who are into brain health, nothing to do with concussions, just brain health and one of the things that I’ve learned is, it is so, so important to just, for me to just break a sweat every day. Like you just got a break… it doesn’t have to be incredibly strenuous. It doesn’t have to be where you’re like in football, like where you’re working out until you throw up, but breaking a sweat every day is just so good for the brain and that’s something that I struggled with my schedule being on Delta Air Lines four times a week trying to hit my diamond status. Like there’s… something’s got to give, but making sure that I’m trying to break a sweat every day is really important in my mind.
Kelly Starrett: I can really… I feel that. I feel like you start to get into your 40s and 50s and you’re really… I mean you have a pretty good first career. We’ll put it that way. We’ll just put it in quotation marks, but you’re really… I mean, you’re good at your job and really at the peak of your powers and you have kids now and I know that you’re all American and we’re just not throwing that around lightly. Like your wife is actually the real athlete in the family. It’s difficult to keep this all this together, especially when you know what you can do and to try to sort of manage that expectation of what you can do with what you are able to do. I think that idea of one is, I hear you say I have to memorize a ton of rosters every week. I mean, there’s some real brain power going on there and two I think break a sweat is really a big deal.
Matt Hasselbeck: Well-
Juliet Starrett: And also I just would add that one of Kelly’s sayings all the time is “Be consistent before you’re heroic” and I think you’re obviously doing right. If you’re just making an effort to break a sweat every day, you’re maybe not heroic every day but you’re doing something.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah. Well, the Superbowl is coming and once that comes, I get my life back for a little bit and what happens is… like, I’m in an athletic family. I’m the least athletic person in my family right now. I’m married, I have three kids. My wife, her birthday is coming up. I said, “Hey, what do you want for your birthday?” She said, “I want a Versaclimber.” I’m like, you want a Versaclimber? I don’t know if I could do that but like that’s the family that I live in. I’ve got two daughters who are committed to play their sport in college and like in the summers I run with them. I do their conditioning tests with them. They both are playing lacrosse in college. I used to like… it was never even a competition.
Matt Hasselbeck: Now I can’t even, like, I’m struggling to beat them and I don’t beat them in there sort of speed work, agility work, conditioning work. I’ve got a son who’s in eighth grade who’s playing football and hockey and lacrosse and like just doing the stuff for him. He’s a quarterback, so like running routes for him this fall, like he says alright, let’s go. Can I throw, can we throw. Sure. I’m out running slant routes. I’m running slant and goes, I’m running posts like the whole time, I’m just saying to myself, do not tear your achilles right now. Do not tear your achilles right now.
Matt Hasselbeck: If you want to ask like the real motivation for me as a 44 year old guy who’s out there working out in terms of like pliability and flexibility and recovery and being a Supple Leopard. I’m out there trying to be a Supple Leopard so that I don’t pull anything when I’m running routes for my 14 year old son, and that’s really… like you want to say, why do you train? That’s why I train. I don’t want to lose to my kids anymore and I don’t want to-
Kelly Starrett: That’s pretty… I’m not going to lie, that’s elite fitness right now.
Juliet Starrett: I just want to say how much I relate to your wife because I’m obsessed with this exercise machine called The Gauntlet and I told Kelly I wanted one and the problem is you need like 14 feet of clearance to have one in your garage.
Kelly Starrett: It’s the escalator of StairMasters.
Juliet Starrett: It’s like an escalator of StairMasters where you can put on your weight vest and just walk upstairs and endlessly they’re like rotating stairs.
Matt Hasselbeck: Interesting.
Juliet Starrett: Anyway. You guys should check it out.
Matt Hasselbeck: Very interesting. Well, I’m always open to new exercise equipment. There are certain things that I’ve been on, like a Jacobs Ladder that I… I had the workout of a lifetime that I’ll never get back on them again. There’s a couple of those, but I’m usually very, very agreeable to new things like that. Very much so.
Kelly Starrett: I love that you’re running routes and worried about your achilles. One of the things that… as I’ve done a lot more biking, like, wow, my feet and calves are so tight and I have to stay on this. I’ve really started jumping… I’m a huge fan of jump roping, but I actually jump rope every day these days. I’m going to send you my favorite jump rope and you’re going to have your mind blown because I can do it anywhere. I can do it in the crappy gym hotel with the StairMaster and the sit down exercise bikes. Like it’s definitely changed my life because the Russian say, “when you stop jumping, you start dying.”
Matt Hasselbeck: That’s really fascinating. One of my hardest off seasons that I ever had, I was with this guy in Vancouver named Rick Celebrini and one of the things like, just as a little warmup thing was the jump rope and I’m like, this is not a warmup. This is the workout. Like what… I’m not good at this. I can’t do this for this long. I’m going to pop a calf right here in the warm up, but Kelly, you really are one of the guys, like if you say to do something, I do it. Like you’re one of the people that I trust. You’re one of the people that… anything in recovery, anything at all. Like it’s like I know it’s worthwhile and I give it a shot and I kind of make it my own and I can promise you, you just said that to me about jump rope, this whole household, all five of us we’re going to be jumping more rope than we’ve ever jumped before just because you said that. So count me in.
Kelly Starrett: Love it.
Juliet Starrett: I’ve just got to tell you one quick story though if it makes you feel better. Our kids both play water polo and Kelly and I have this discussion about how we can’t even do the base skill of water polo, which is eggbeater in the water. It’s not like… soccer. We may not play soccer, but we could at least run, but yeah. We obviously have… we can’t even play water polo with our daughters.
Kelly Starrett: Which is actually I think really protective because here’s the issue. This is a story, I don’t know if people know, but president Obama played a lot of basketball when he first got in the White House and he played a lot of basketball and a lot of people came and played basketball with him and there were more torn ACLs and ruptured quad ligaments and torn achilles in like the upper executive branch and one of our friends became the permanent physical therapist to the White House because there were so many middle-aged guys trying to hoop it up and I feel really grateful that I don’t have to run routes for my 14 year old son right now and because I can’t even play water polo, I’m automatically protected. I’m like, ah, I can’t even do it so I’m safe, so I really… Now, I’m going to have to really write you a program so we can keep you running those slants, pop pass.
Matt Hasselbeck: You guys you reminded of something. You reminded me of something. I went to Boston College, that’s where I played. We have 31 varsity sports at BC and we’re in the city kind of a Boston, so there’s not a lot of facilities and you would share weight room. You’d share stuff with people. I remember one time I was trying to do extra stuff. Swimming, football, just training, unloading or whatever and we had a water polo team and one of the kids on the water polo team was like their goalie and I’m swimming in, they’re just treading water. It was like a treading water recovery day and he’s like, hey will you shoot on me? Like you’re a quarterback, you probably have a good arm. Well, one thing in quarterbacking, you want to get your elbow up by your ear when you release the ball.
Matt Hasselbeck: A lot of people have a low release and they’re not using the full torque of what they’re throwing mechanics could be and so I’m in the water, treading water and I’m shooting on this goalie, this like kid that just I’m going to school with and it’s good for him. It’s great for me because naturally I had a tendency to kind of dip my elbow. One of the best quarterback drills I know of is to be in water and have to throw a ball because you can’t dip that ball down low.
Kelly Starrett: Genius.
Matt Hasselbeck: You can’t dip that elbow down low. That arm’s got to come up and come up over the top and that’s the best torque and like, whip. You talk about like a whip when you’re throwing the ball, and it was like… and that actually helped me and then in the NFL I would swim a lot. I actually built a pool just for swimming and recovery. During the NFL lockout, I did a form of CrossFit that was like SealFit. There was a lot of swimming in that and I was like, thank God I had done so much swimming. I probably would have drowned in that experience but yeah, water polo was awesome. That was a very helpful thing for me in college.
Juliet Starrett: I cannot wait to tell the two little Starretts that story.
Kelly Starrett: Especially since Georgia probably has the best arm on the team. She just like has a frozen rope from the water and it kind of shocks me sometimes.
Juliet Starrett: Matt. We can’t end this podcast, I have to ask that… I’ve read that you’ve been struck by lightning and so I wanted to hear if that was true and then if you attribute that to your long career in the NFL and general good health.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah. If you look online, it says I’ve been struck by lightning two times. Not true. I’ve only been struck by lightning one time.
Kelly Starrett: The internet is full of lies.
Matt Hasselbeck: My wife and I, we were dating. We were in college and we were at a wedding. This girl that I grew up with, she was marrying a guy. He was a hockey player for the US Olympic team back when amateurs were playing and anyway, we’re at their wedding we get struck by lightning and it was craziness. It hurts by the way, if you didn’t know. It’s like getting electrocuted like in the socket, but times like a billion. It hurts so bad. It goes so quick and my wife has just run the Boston Marathon, so her resting heart rate was so, so low. We all go to the hospital. 16 of us got zapped. We shared the brunt of it, thank goodness and my wife’s resting heart rate is so low that the doctors were nervous. They were like, we’re going to keep you overnight.
Matt Hasselbeck: She was the only person that stayed overnight out of 16 of us. I have to call her dad. First time I ever call her dad and I think that’s my first conversation with him and he’s not happy that she’s staying overnight. He’s like, I don’t like this. I’m going to come get her, and so I say the doctor, I’m like, hey her dad’s a doctor and he doesn’t like this at all and the guy’s like, well, okay, well what kind of doctor is he? Well, he’s a dentist, but he’s still… he’s very unhappy about that, but listen to this, this craziest story. That guy, the wedding that I was at, his name is Peter Laviolette. He is now the head coach of the Nashville Predators.
Matt Hasselbeck: Like talk about just small world and we were playing for the Tennessee Titans there right before they got there. Well, I mentioned my oldest daughter, she’s going to go play lacrosse at Boston College. They’ve got a great lacrosse program there. She’s going to be a freshman next year. Well, the Laviolette’s, their daughter… they live in Nashville. Their daughter’s a really great softball player. She’s committed to play softball at Boston College and as fate would have it next year as freshmen, those two, they don’t know each other. They’ve met each other once this year. Those two are going to be freshman year roommates in college.
Kelly Starrett: No way.
Juliet Starrett: No way. That’s so crazy.
Matt Hasselbeck: It’s crazy, maybe that’s the lightning-
Juliet Starrett: That is crazy.
Matt Hasselbeck: I don’t know.
Juliet Starrett: That’s crazy.
Matt Hasselbeck: Wild.
Kelly Starrett: Joined by lightning.
Matt Hasselbeck: Just glad I survived.
Kelly Starrett: Well, hey, we know you’re on the socials. I follow you on the socials. Where are you?
Juliet Starrett: Where can people find you?
Matt Hasselbeck: I’m on Instagram. I’m on Twitter. It’s my last name. Hasselbeck, H-A-S-S-E-L-B-E-C-K and that’s primarily where I’m at.
Kelly Starrett: Georgia loves to Hasselback her sausages. People don’t know Hasselbacking is actually a thing where you dice. Your name comes up all the time.
Matt Hasselbeck: Yeah. Hasselback potatoes is the big one. That’s the big one.
Kelly Starrett: It is such a pleasure, man. Please.
Juliet Starrett: Thank you.
Kelly Starrett: Best to your whole family. We love them all and thank you so much for chatting us up.
Juliet Starrett: Thank you so much, Matt for being on.
Matt Hasselbeck: Hey, you guys are the absolute best. I’m going to go jump some rope right now.Back to Episode