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Q & A With Pittsburgh Steelers Retired Defensive End, Nolan Harrison.

Nolan shares with us some of the things he is currently living out as a retired NFL Football Defensive End. He also shares some important information for up and coming athletes. Read below to see what he has to say.

Vital Stats:

    Nolan Harrison
    Defensive End - Retired
    6'5" / 291 Lbs.
    Chicago, IL

[ Q ] You have been retired since the 2001 season, what have you been keeping busy with?

    A: I am a business owner and a father. Both keep me very busy. Right after I retired from the National Football League I purchased a GNC store in Southern California. I have always had a strong interest in health and fitness products and supplements.

    The experience of starting and running GNC business has been great.

[ Q ] What workout program did you follow prior to your last season, and what program do you follow now?

    A: As a player, I was trying to increase my strength and power. I was also trying to increase my endurance to stay healthy over the course of a very long NFL season.

    Now, it's all about a healthy, fit lifestyle since I'm no longer battling with 320 pound offensive linemen!

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[ Q ] What are some foods, and habits that the readers should avoid?

    A: Definitely stay away from processed carbohydrates, excess sugars and trans fatty acids. There is nothing good to come from any of those!

What Are Trans Fatty Acids?
Most trans fatty acids are the result of industrial hydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Basically manufacturers partially hydrogenate to get fats that are easier to cook with and spoil less than naturally occurring oils.

The problem with trans fatty acids, unlike saturated fats, is that they cause reductions in your HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

[ Q ] What are your most effective methods of injury prevention?

[ Q ] Do you have a personal trainer, and how important are personal trainers?

    A: At this stage, there is not really a need for a personal trainer. My 14 years of organized sports at the highest levels (4 playing division I football; 10 in the NFL) have given me a wealth of knowledge about training which I can put into practice for the rest of my life.

[ Q ] If personal trainers are unavailable, what are some effective alternatives?

    A: For the novice, trainers are a good resource. Learn all you can then put what you learned to good use.

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[ Q ] What's your outlook on the recent accusations by Jose Canseco, and the allegations against Balco?

    A: Steroids are a bad stain on all professional and amateur sports and should be stamped out.

[ Q ] Do you think sport specific training is an effective method for high school athletes?

    A: No, I think high school athletes should, if they can, experience as many sports as they can. This will enable them to develop alternate skills which may prove valuable down the road of life.

    The benefits of cross-training also make for a better overall athlete as many skill sets transfer and compliment one another from sport to sport.

[ Q ] Do you think that modern sports teach kids the discipline and teamwork that it once did?

    A: It depends on the coach and the environment. More often than not, today's athletes are too coddled and develop a "the world is mine" mentality. This is fostered by coaches and parents.

    If the concepts of "sport" and "team" became more of a national focus then this mentality would be eliminated.

[ Q ] How important is nutrition, and what program do you have to keep gas in the tank?

    A: Nutrition is probably the greatest variable in athletic performance but far too often overlooked. If you don't put the right things into your body then it will not perform at peak performance levels. It's as simple as that.

    Also, Check Out Conditioning & Nutrition For Football.

[ Q ] Who was the toughest player that you competed against? Anyone that talked serious trash?

    A: The toughest player I played against was my teammate for six years with the Raiders, Steve Wisniewski. Wiz did not talk trash - he just beat you down.

[ Q ] Have you ever used plyometrics, if so, what kind did you use?

    A: Plyometrics are an essential part of training for football players because it increases your explosiveness. I used things such as bounders, box jumps, resist band drills medicine balls and upper body plyometrics using ground striking techniques.

    Dozens Of Plyometric Related Articles...

[ Q ] Supplements are a valuable tool in personal fitness, what supplements did you use during the season?

[ Q ] What recovery tactics would ensure your body was ready for practice on Monday?

    A: Ice and rest! And lots of them!

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[ Q ] What are some words of encouragement for the hopeful athletes of tomorrow?

    A: Get your grades right first. Sports are not a guarantee and even if you are lucky and talented enough to play professionally, that opportunity ends before you realize it. Knowledge is for life.