TRAIN caught up with the NFL baller, Kenny Stills of the Miami Dolphins for a chat about all things training.


Kenny Stills on his NFL training

The thing that’s really changed my career has been doing Pilates. I’ve been doing Pilates for, like, two years. Just the core strength that you get from that really just helps you balance you’re body. We’ve been taught for so long with, you know, these Olympic lifts, you’re looking outside in. You want to be buff and look strong, and I think it’s kind of backwards.

When you start inside out, you work with your core and you work your way out. It’s a lot more balanced so you find less injuries and you find everything working together. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about Pilates. I know it’s tough.

A lot of guys don’t like it and stay away from it because it’s tough; it’s really challenging because you’re putting your body in a position that you’re not used to being in. I really try and get the younger guys working on it because the earlier you start, the easier it becomes. That’s something that I would really stress to everyone – really start looking inside out instead of outside in.


Kenny on training for his position with the Miami Dolphins

On a daily basis for us, being receivers, conditioning is really important. We do a lot of long distance training.

I kind of got that from Jerry Rice – obviously one of the best receivers to play – every off-season he talked about running these hills and mountains and stuff, so I just thought that I could be in better shape by conditioning myself to run long distances and then from there, once I’d got in shape from that, so train sprints.


Kenny Stills interview


I found that the more sprints I did before, I’d still be more tired as each game went on, but if I worked on my stamina first, then did sprints I found myself less tired. I don’t know the scientific words behind it but it works for me.


The training that he doesn’t enjoy

Things that I don’t like? I couldn’t tell you. I like it all and I know that it’s good for me. I know that exercise benefits my career but I know that, once I’m done playing I probably won’t do as much of it. I’ll stick with the Pilates and just do sports – playing basketball, playing tennis (US tennis star and friend CoCo Vandeweghe trains at the same facility as Kenny), playing golf.

Those things and less in the weights room. I like the weights and I love working out, but once my time is done playing football it’s not going to be as important to me.

Pretty much everything we do, we’re going to be challenged. I think that something that you have to learn to do is just get comfortable being uncomfortable – we talk about that all the time. We’re challenged every day. There’s little things when you’re a professional and you want to be the best that you can train to get better at.


What areas does the Dolphins receiver work on improving?

For me at the receiver position, we’re always looking at our releases; we’re always looking at getting separation, you know? We’re going up and attacking the ball in the air – there are always so many little details in our position that you can improve.

Being that I’m getting higher status in the league, I’m really trying to go back and fine tune those basics and really lead the younger group of guys and show them the right things to do as a receiver. If you can be technically sound and you can do the basic things really well, you’ll be good at our position.


Kenny Stills on his goals in the NFL

The ultimate goal is always to win the Superbowl. We’ve got a young, hungry and special team, and we’ve got the right coaches leading us in the right direction. That’s the goal for us. I think that’s an attainable goal for us.

Obviously we’ve got a tough team in our division in the Patriots, and there are 31 other teams out there with the same goal every season, but if we can take care of our business and continue to just work hard and get our noses down, then we know it’s an attainable goal.


What a pro footballer’s diet and nutrition looks like

For me, my diet is really different honestly because I can really eat pretty much whatever I want to. I really don’t like sweets and snacks. I don’t have chips and I don’t have soda. That’s just stuff that I stay away from.

For the most part, I can eat whatever I want to. I stay away from fast food because I don’t like how it makes my body feel. I eat about five or six meals a day. I love my fruits, vegetables and pasta, chicken, fish… I mix it up because I have to eat so much just to keep my weight.


Kenny Stills NFL


As for calories, I’m on about 3000 or 4000 just to maintain weight, not even to gain, so it gets kind of old, eating all the time. I love food, though, so I’m open to trying new things and that keeps it fun. When I’m not playing or training, I lose 10 pounds. There’s no reason for me to be walking around 10 pounds heavier than my body is actually.

My diet is really important to me. It keeps me healthy – it keeps me on the field and it keeps my body feeling right. I think a lot of people are starting to realize that now, so they’re taking it a bit more seriously. My diet, the Pilates and my conditioning are the top things for my career and longevity playing in the NFL.


Kenny Stills’ top tip for aspiring NFL footballers

If there’s something that people can do to take the next step in any sport, I would encourage them to do Pilates. I was having really bad back issues for a long time. For the most part, I don’t have any issues with it any more.

Really smart physiotherapists and strength coaches are pretty open-minded when it comes to trying new things. It’s one of those things that’s a process, right? Your first couple of times are going to be tough and you may not get anything from it, but two years down the line it’s something that I will always bring up with anyone. If someone has any kind of physical issue, I’ll say “try Pilates”.

Some of our younger guys that can’t afford to do it, I’ll pay for them because I know how it can change their life and change their body. It’s something I stand by and I can’t wait to get back into it – I’ve been out for two weeks and I need to get back.

When you have that core strength you really take a lot of pressure off your back. Now we’ve been doing a lot of travelling and sitting down, I need to get back and get my core going.


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