James Conner Workout and DIET
Professional Football Player
James Conner grew up in Erie, PA. He was a high school football star. In his first year at the University of Pittsburgh (2013), Conner was named Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl MVP. As a sophomore, he earned All American honors and was named ACC Player of the Year. 2015 was Conner’s annus horribilis: he tore a knee ligament in the first game of the season and then was diagnosed with cancer. Nonetheless, he was declared cancer-free in 2016 and went straight back to football. He wrote a memoir about his experience called Fear Is a Choice. Conner decided to forego his senior year of college and entered the NFL Draft in 2017 where he was picked up by the Steelers. He currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals. Conner has several endorsement deals including with Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, and Adidas. He has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Conner is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs about235 lbs.
James Conner’s Diet
Diet is an important part of any athlete’s life, but for Conner who also dealt with cancer, food took on extra importance. He eats clean to fuel his recovery. Oatmeal is a staple, along with classics with a twist, such as chicken and chickpeas over pasta and honey-glazed mashed potatoes. His trainer Aaron Sain prepares his meals and also works with him in the gym. Conner’s intake is impressive, sometimes going over 4,000 calories, but that’s what he needs to keep himself fueled for his lengthy workouts. He also takes in plenty of water.
- Medium Fat 30% 30%
- Medium Carb 30% 30%
- High Protein 60% 60%
Rise & Shine
Conner’s breakfast go-to is oatmeal, which he has more or less every day at 8 am.
Conner doesn’t mess around with his food. He eats a lot, and it’s all delicious. His trainer/chef makes him fancy stuff like Cajun-baked salmon and asparagus.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Conner on His Cancer Recovery Eating Plan
‘I’m being strict with the diet.’
Conner on Cancer
‘That [cancer] was my biggest opponent.’
Conner on Recovering From Cancer
‘Once you go through something…of this magnitude, no other human…can stop me. That’s the edge I have.’
Conner on Well-being
‘I do all the right things, try to be a good person, eat healthy.’
James Conner’s Workout Routine
Conner works out with his chef/bodybuilder/trainer Aaron Sain who has incorporated bodybuilding-type moves into his workout routine.
Conner says he refused to use cancer as an excuse not to be as his best. He worked out on his own and with teammates, both in the weight room and on the field.
Get in the Zone
Before working out, Conner likes to do a little light meditation to get himself focused on his goals.
Mega Daily Dose
Conner hits the gym or the field or both every day. Even when he was undergoing chemotherapy, he did his best to work out every day. Now that he’s cancer-free, he works out up to 3 times a day.
Part of Conner’s routine to prevent injury and warm up his muscles is some light stretching and ankle and hip drills using resistance bands.
After breakfast, Conner is out on the field performing his running back drills.
Conner hits the weight room almost every day around the middle of the day, then heads home for lunch around 2:30.
Conner’s final workout of the day takes place in the weight room around 5:30 pm. He does a high-rep, medium-weight routine.
A James Conner Routine
Ankle/hip drills w/ resistance bands
Weight training: high-rep, medium-weight
Dumbbell lateral raise superset with dumbbell over-head press: 15 reps x 4 sets
Front plate raise superset with upright row: 15 reps x 4 sets
Rear dumbbell fly superset with cable face pull: 15 reps x 4 sets
Machine shoulder press: 25 reps x 3 sets
Reverse fly machine: 25 reps x 3 sets
Conner on his Cancer-recovery Exercise Plan
‘I’m being focused in the weight room.’
Conner on Post-cancer Body
‘I feel like I got it all back.’
Conner’s Coach on His Comeback
‘This guy didn’t look like he has cancer or just underwent treatment yesterday.’
Conner on his Lockdown Routine
‘I…did a lot of bodyweight stuff. I just did what I could to make it work.’
James Conner’s Supplements
Conner is keeping any supplements he might take on the down low. So, below are options that may benefit anyone following a similar diet plan.
For those going through chemotherapy, a fiber supplement can help prevent constipation.
James Conner’s Lifestyle
Before getting a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s cancer, Conner suffered from night sweats and was having trouble breathing and sleeping. He visited several doctors to try to figure out what his problem was. An ENT recommended a chest x-ray which led to the right diagnosis.
Another Good Call
Another pro-footballer who had Hodgkin’s disease, beat it and came back to football is Eric Berry. Berry called Conner to offer advice on how to handle the symptoms and treatment.
Conner’s 3-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals is for a cool $21 million, with a guaranteed minimum of $13.5M that could go as high as $25.5M based on how well the team does.
As part of embracing the Yinzer (Pittsburgh) culture, Conner grew a mullet in 2018. It was very popular with Steelers fans.
Conner says he tries not to get sucked into the fantasy football world, but sometimes he takes a peek when he’s scrolling online.
It Runs in the Family
Conner is one of 5 boys. His brother Glen Jr. also plays football as a defensive lineman with the Erie Express pro team of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL).
Conner on his Health, Pre-diagnosis
‘I couldn’t sleep at night and was having night sweats.’
Conner on Berry’s Help
‘I hung up the phone with a brand-new sense of empowerment. Someone else who had walked this same road reached back to coach me through it.’
Conner on the Competition
‘The biggest competition is just me and myself.’
Conner on Self-improvement
‘I try and dig a little deeper every year, work a little harder.’
Conner on Recovering From Cancer
‘We just keep continuing to stack on good days on top of good days.’
Conner On The Mind
‘The mind is way more powerful than you could think of.’
Conner on Fantasy Football
‘I kind of stay away from the mock drafts and stuff. It’s hard, obvioulsy, in this day and age with social media…so I might look at it for a quick second.’