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Eagles 2001 - Credit AP/Brad C Bower

Featured Article

Staying In Shape After Pro Sports

Isaac Jones stays fit after his time in the NFL

Article by Cheyenne Forbes

Photography by Karin Davidson and Courtesy Unlimited Tennis

Originally published in Media City Lifestyle

Creating and sticking to a workout regimen is not often easy! It takes time, dedication, and sacrifice. Take it from former NFL Wide Receiver Isaac Jones. Isaac has led a very active lifestyle playing football at Strath Haven and Perdue to playing for the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles. 

“Football runs off a calendar,” said Isaac, “You have your training camp, you go into the season, and then you come out of the season and you begin modified training.” OTAs [Organized Team Activities] and mini camps during the off-season are where one’s heaviest lifting is.

He left college doing different types of lifting (heavy and Olympic lifting) as well as unilateral workouts for symmetry and balance – a lot of Bulgarian split squats and low-level plyometrics as well as speed work. In the NFL, he received a lot of technical training - specific and based on player position. 

“It’s the route running, it’s catching the ball. It’s the footwork and agility, those things that help you hone your craft,” explained Isaac.

Jones refers to training camps in Florida, “I became extremely regimented. I was a guy who wasn’t the most talented, just worked hard and knew that there were certain things for me that helped give me a competitive advantage.”

While attending Purdue and in the NFL, Jones credits his competitive advantage to the program, “I played in a really good system in the pros with Peyton Manning. The schemes as well as who you’re playing with matters.” 

When he got to Purdue, Jim Colletto was the head coach. “At that time, the big 10, everyone ran the ball. The running backs - the Ron Daynes, the Tyrone Wheatleys, the Jerome Bettises – were still running the ball in the big 10,” said Isaac, “and then you get my head coach who comes from Wyoming to Purdue, and all of a sudden, now, you start throwing the ball. When’s the last time you’ve seen Wisconsin, a historical running team, lineup with four or five receivers, right? It just wasn’t happening back then. So, I was able to benefit from that.”

It was then that Isaac shifted from second on the team in receptions with 16 to first with 83.

At Purdue, Jones was one of QB Drew Brees’ favorite targets, catching 83 passes for 899 yards and seven touchdowns. Jones thrived in his final two seasons making 154 receptions for 1,332 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Focus, determination, and drive are a few of the key attributes needed in training. Listening to his body is also important when it comes to staying fit. For Isaac, concentrating on what he needed to do to stay healthy was essential in his football career and still is. 

“Let’s say if I came out of the season, and my back was giving me issues,” Isaac explained. “I would work on maybe some flexibility and strengthening the hamstrings, my core and trunk, to make sure that going into the season I was going to be prepared.” 

He didn’t take injuries lightly, so Isaac made sure to give himself time to heal and strengthen his body. “I was someone who had a soft tissue injury in my foot,” said Isaac, “so, strengthening my Achilles and working on that dorsiflexion was really huge.” 

At the pro level, there was a lot of maintenance and structure to keep up with. It included eating well, resting, and massaging the aches and pains from the body. That mindset didn’t stop afterward; he extends the principles with his family, business partners, and daily life. 

“Four days out of the week I get up, I work out, I eat, I rest, I may go get a massage, I come back, I lift… I have the flexibility to do that every day,” Isaac explained. “With an active lifestyle and a family, you have a lot more responsibilities to them. I still have to have that structured mindset and mentality around really prioritizing quiet time, eating correctly, and being consistent with wanting to live a healthy lifestyle.” 

Isaac now focuses on health and wellness differently. Just being able to start his morning with a walk makes Isaac feel as though he's begun the day on a positive note. He also has an at-home gym where he and his two sons, Matthew and Marcus, work out.  

“We built a gym for the boys so that I could watch them work out and lift with proper form and technique, and also to give them more time.” This way, Isaac’s sons have unlimited access to a gym, helping them to expand their skill and athletic ability. It runs in the family. Jones' brother, Mark, played in the NFL, and his father, Harry, earned All-Delco honors and is in the WKU Hall of Fame.

Isaac would also play tennis with a group of friends to stay active. It was how he stumbled onto a path to become lead trainer for Unlimited Tennis Academy in Media. The facility works with children between the ages of 7 to 17. 

Jones also spends time working alongside his students, “I get a chance to train and work with kids. It allows me the opportunity to do some of the same exercises and drills with them.”

Time management is important. Between focusing on his business, family, and his own health, he manages his time properly to ensure balance in his life. He places a time limit on all of the tasks he needs to get done. 

“If I get certain things done, that’s fine. If I don’t get it all in, then that’s fine too. But to me, there’s more important things than wanting to spend 90 minutes a day working out,” Isaac stated. “I give myself a certain time limit that I’m going to commit to and as long as I can spend that same amount of time every week, it sets me up for success.” 

I still have to have that mindset around prioritizing quiet time, eating correctly, and being consistent with a healthy lifestyle.

  • Eagles 2001 - Credit AP/Brad C Bower
  • Crunches at the Gym
  • Unlimited Tennis Academy Lead Trainer
  • At Purdue with QB Drew Brees
  • At Purdue with QB Drew Brees
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Strath Haven: All-State Honors and DelCo Football Player of the Year
  • Squats at the Gym