Amani Toomer played 13 seasons in the NFL, all with the New York Giants. He overcame an injury in his rookie season to become a fixture in a franchise that rebuilt itself, found a franchise quarterback, and won a Super Bowl. When Toomer’s career ended in 2008, the former wideout went on a long path to find a physical activity that matched the intensity and focus that football provided. The long fitness road eventually lead to cycling, which he’s enthusiastically persued while continuing his connection to football through the Giants postgame show and on his radio program.
Toomer talked to Uproxx while he was on the bike in his home a few days before joining his family on vacation in Denmark. Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds during his playing days, post-football life was a new world for the former wideout. He said it took a long time to figure out how he wanted to train and what was best for him to get the body he wanted.
The Super Bowl champion talked about his fitness routine after football, why players struggle after they leave the game, and how to repair the relationship between players and the media. We also discussed college football and the coldest game he ever played.
Like a lot of athletes, you have certainly not stopped working out since retirement. What kind of class were you doing this morning?
I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu now. When I first stopped playing, I didn’t do anything. And I gained, I want to say, like 30 pounds. And then after that, I signed on to run the New York Marathon and I think I was down to 200 pounds. So I went from 240 to 200 and then I was trying to run it for the second year.
But you didn’t run it again, right? It seems like that was working well as far as weight loss. Why did you stop running?
Let’s say my wife wasn’t supportive of me running it for a second year. (Laughs)
So I started just going to the local gym and doing running and lifting by myself. And I thought it was the most boring thing in the world. So then there was a guy there who taught me boxing, so I’d go box with him. And he’d work me out and I’d go boxing, and that was fun for about a year. Then after that, I started doing Orange Theory Fitness workouts because they reminded me of football workouts. They were quick, in and out, high interval training.
And then I got into cycling and cycling has been the best. It’s been something that I can do every day. I don’t have to worry about beating myself up. I don’t have to worry about beating my joints up or my back up or anything like that. I rode the Gran Fondo New York, it’s a 100-mile bike race, in 2015, 2016, and this year. I’ve been riding 10 hours a week.
And then cycling started getting a little… like I started getting repetitive injury stuff and I think my body got used to cycling and I was starting to put on weight again — I was like 220 — so now I’m starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and that’s kind of getting the physical aspect of it, the boxing, the football, and stuff that I need.
I need the balance of everything. The cardio, which I love, and the physicality, which is why I do the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I got my first strike today, so I was really excited.