Professional Football Player (Retired)
James Henry Harrison II was born in Ohio. He initially showed his athletic skills playing Little League baseball where he was chosen for the All Star team. When he took up football in high school, Harrison made an excellent running back and linebacker. He also participated in track & field events like shot put and high jump, and qualified in the statewide 4×100 relay. A couple of things that were missing from Harrison’s tool box were grades and a mature attitude, and he had college scholarship offers from schools like Notre Dame and Ohio State rescinded. He went to Kent State but due to academic probation, only got to play in the last 3 games of his freshman season. Harrison was not picked up in the 2002 NFL Draft, but he signed on with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie. An injury to Clark Haggans in 2004 was Harrison’s lucky break. He went on to win 2 Super Bowls (XL & XLIII) and become a 5-time Pro Bowl selection before retiring in 2018. Harrison also played briefly for the Ravens, the Bengals, NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire, and the Patriots. Harrison also appeared in the tv show Heels. He is currently a football analyst on FS1. Harrison has 2 children. He has over a million followers on social media. Harrison is 6 feet tall and weighs about 240 lbs.
james harrison’s Diet
Diet is an important component of Harrison’s health regimen. He eats natural, healthy, wholesome foods, and organic whenever he can. His fridge and pantry is full of things like oatmeal, eggs, chicken breast, fish, and plenty of veggies. His snacks are healthy too, think fresh fruit, almonds, and salad. To avoid temptation, he does not keep any junk food in his house. He’ll have a protein shake most days as his evening snack. He avoids alcohol and dairy, and drinks lots of water.
- Low Carbs 20% 20%
- Low-Medium Fat 30% 30%
- High Protein 60% 60%
Food Must Work for You
Harrison expects his diet to pull its weight. Everything he eats is nutrient-dense to fuel his grueling work schedule.
Low Carb Life
Harrison avoids gluten, refined sugar, processed foods, and alcohol as part of his plan to be fit and healthy.
No Allergens, Please
Harrison also avoids things like dairy and nightshade plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant because they cause allergic reactions in a lot of people.
Pass the Veg
Harrison has vegetables at every meal: avocados with breakfast, and salad and cooked veggies with lunch and dinner.
Skip the Caffeine
To help keep his energy steady throughout the day, Harrison avoids caffeinated drinks and sticks to good old-fashioned water.
Harrison eats clean even when he snacks. Some of his top picks are almonds and fresh fruit.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.)
Harrison on His Diet
‘Nutrition has…been a primary component of my body maintenance.’
Harrison on What He Eats
‘I mainly eat a low-carb diet, except before a game.’
Harrison on His Kitchen Cupboards
‘People used to come to my house and be upset that there wasn’t any “real” food…They finally realized that if they wanted pizza or pasta or chips or pop or anything like that, they needed to get it before they came.’
Harrison on His Longevity in the NFL
‘The average career is 3 1/2 years, so I feel extremely blessed to be able to continue doing this and to still be as healthy as I am.’
james harrison’s Workout Routine
Harrison played Little League as a kid. But after discovering that he could tackle a kid and not get whipped by his parents for it, he was hooked on football. It took some convincing for his mom to let him play, but he became an immediate star on the field.
Be a Beast
Harrison is a beast on the field and in the gym. He can press a 135-lb. barbell single-handedly and push an 1,800-lb. sled.
One aspect of Harrison’s routine that he credits his longevity to is self-care. He would have regular massages, chiropractic and acupuncture amongst other treatments. He got so many, his teammates called him a ‘massage whore.’
Harrison worked out virtually every day that he was in the NFL, in-season and out. His off-season workouts were even more intense because he was serious about staying fit.
Harrison runs outdoors and works out on the elliptical. He’ll do about 1 hour of cardio every day. He will also do sprints.
Harrison hits the weights hard, working out about 2 hours each day. He’ll do a mix of machines, free weights and bodyweight exercises.
To increase difficulty (and result), Harrison will add resistance bands to any workout. He’ll do squats, kettlebell swings, push-ups, bench press, etc., all with bands.
Serious Power House
Harrison also builds strength by doing sled drags and pulls, sledgehammer slams, tire flips, and so on.
A James Harrison Off-Season Routine
Do 8-15 reps x 4-5 sets of each of the following ex-ercises with a 1 minute rest between sets:
Incline bench press
Resistance band flat bench press
Cable pec flys
Dumbbell military press
Single-arm dumbbell press
Rear delt flys
Single-arm dumbbell rows
Triceps bench press
Harrison on His Younger Self
‘When I was in my early 20s…I felt like I was invincible…I thankfully realized that wasn’t gonna work.’
Harrison on His Commitment to Fitness
‘Since…around 2006, my complete focus has been on consistent body maintenance.’
Harrison on His Workout Plan
‘I started working out almost daily, all year round, with heavier training during the off-season.’
Harrison on Recovery
‘In addition to my work schedule with the team, my daily schedule includes a visit from at least 1 of my bodywork specialists.’
Harrison on Massage
‘Being a massage whore isn’t the worst thing in the world.’
james harrison’s Supplements
When it comes to his supplement choices, all Harrison will say is that his picks are all ‘natural’ and ‘pure.’ So below are options that can benefit anyone following a similar diet plan.
Anyone who made it 14 years in the NFL is doing something right. Muscle is essential for those who are serious about playing football, making protein a no-brainer.
james harrison’s Lifestyle
Million Dollar Body
Harrison is serious about caring for his moneymaker and spent in the region of $350K on bodywork in 2017, including acupuncture, dry needling, a personal trainer, a doctor, 3 massage therapists, and 2 chiropractors.
Harrison is 1 of 14 kids, evenly split between boys and girls. His parents were strict and saw all of their children successfully graduate high school and then go to college or into stable jobs.
Harrison knew how to make magic on the football field, but he struggled with academics and behavior. He was suspended twice as a high school senior for challenging a coach to a fight. He also found himself in court after shooting a BB gun in the locker room at another coach.
Calling It Quits
After being released from the Steelers multiple times, Harrison considered quitting football to become a veterinarian. He also got a commercial driver’s license, which he still has. It was Clark Haggan’s fateful injury that turned things around for Harrison.
How Do You Like Them Apples?
Harrison is the only undrafted player to be named Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press.
Harrison was inducted into Kent State’s Varsity K Hall of Fame along with the Chargers’ Antonio Gates in 2010. The school also retired his jersey number 16. Harrison donated $100K to the college, which in turn named a field house in his honor.
Harrison on his Upbringing
‘My mom would come to school and whip us in class.’
Harrison on How To Be Successful in Football
‘You’re fully present in the meetings and practice. You don’t skimp on your workouts. You study film. You know the playbook inside and out.’
Harrison on Being An Older Player in The NFL
‘Being in the game this long keeps you young, just from being around these guys in their 20s.’
Harrison on the Expense Of Keeping his Body in Top Shape
‘’The problem is going to be trying to keep that up when I’m done playing so I can still feel that good.’
Harrison on Finally Taking Retirement
‘I’ve missed way too much for way too long…I’m done.’