“Even when I was still playing, I noticed some former player struggles were prevalent, and I knew I would be a former player soon," he said. "After retirement, reaching out to The Trust was really just the next natural progression for me.”
Ben Hartsock’s NFL career began in 2004 when he was drafted in the 3rd Round of the NFL Draft to the Indianapolis Colts. After a solid college career at The Ohio State University, that included a championship win in 2002, Hartsock was seemingly ready for whatever a career in the NFL might hold. 10 years later, as he faced retirement, Hartsock knew his best plan was being as prepared as possible.
For Hartsock, there wasn’t an individual tangible need that brought him to The Trust.
“It was maybe a year or more [after retirement] before I started to really dig into the programs The Trust offers. It all stemmed out of a little frustration from seeing and reading about the struggles of former players and feeling a little bit arrogant about my situation," Hartsock described. I was thinking, ‘I’m doing ok, but all these other guys aren’t, what’s the deal?’ I realized there are all these programs out there former players and myself weren’t participating in. I made a conscious choice to participate. Even if I didn’t feel like I necessarily needed the program, I wanted to participate.”
“ I made a conscious choice to participate. ”
His conscious choice to participate in available resources first led him to the Brain and Body Assessment through UNC, where he had a great experience.
“For me, it’s all about the quality of care they provided. It was all-inclusive. Look at all the areas they examined and assessed, from nutrition to body composition, to orthopedics, to mental health examinations, to cognitive and general wellness assessments," he raved. "I felt very secure having had such a thorough physical.”
Among all the information he received from Brain & Body, it was the results of his nutrition assessment that gave him his next steps.
“As athletes or as ‘driven people,’ we all crave a focus, challenge, or the pursuit of something. You can never get too much of that,” he explained.
“ As athletes or as ‘driven people,’ we all crave a focus, challenge, or the pursuit of something. ”
Using his nutrition assessment results as a stepping stone, Hartsock decided to try a Breakfast Club workout in his local city with the trained staff from EXOS. Taking advantage of the nutrition consultations available through the Breakfast Club workouts, he started to uncover a better plan for getting his eating back on track.
“As a former player, you can’t possibly keep up with the training regimen or what it took to be a pro-athlete, because life goes in different directions.”
While the Breakfast Club workout location turned out to be too far away for him to attend regularly, his new focus on the nutritional side of things directly pointed him toward attending a week at an EXOS facility. Going to EXOS in Florida gave him all the tools he was looking for to maintain his health post-career.
“EXOS is wellness, nutrition, body comp, etc - all the physical aspects. It was a great ice bath type of moment – it just shocks you. I felt good heading into the program with my own at-home fitness regimen. To go there and jump into their program for a week was a great 30,000-foot view to reevaluate and take stock," Hartsock said. "It gave me the opportunity to say, ‘What I am doing well and what am I not doing well at home?’ To have coaches, nutritionists, and therapists at your beck and call, to help you tweak what you’re doing, is great. If you had no program, they’ll help you build one. If you had a plan of your own, they’ll help you tweak it. If you think you’re doing well, they’ll help you fine tune it. It was great to be back around people who are at the top of their game.”
“ To have coaches, nutritionists, and therapists at your beck and call, to help you tweak what you’re doing, is great. ”
The best part of his experience with EXOS was the multi-faceted plan he brought back home to use in his everyday life. These plans are individually crafted to ensure continued success once you’ve left the EXOS facility.
“They do a great job of giving you a plan to take home. It’s kind of a three-prong approach. They give you a whole plan nutritionally, including the things to work on, and I’ve been able to make changes by using that plan. Through the sports performance side, they gave me a multi-week and multi-month training regimen. It almost feels like being back in the old days, where you don’t even have to think about it, because it’s all provided for you. The last part was on the physical therapy side they were able to give me a list of the pre-hab or rehab types of corrective exercises they think would help best for my unique circumstance.”
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