Healthy Living at the Speed of NASCARAuto Smarts
Welcome to the Inside Track, where Farmers comes together with NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Farmers Insurance team at Hendrick Motorsports, to give you their professional advice on everything from auto maintenance to healthy living tips.
For members of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance team at Hendrick Motorsports, staying in top physical shape, eating right, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are all key to running at top speed on the track and at home.
To succeed on Kasey Kahne’s pit crew, or in your own life off the track, you need a healthy dose of physicality, strength, and conditioning. Matt Skeen, one of the strength and conditioning coaches at Hendrick Motorsports, explains why.
“Our race season is 38 weeks long, and our pit crews need to be fit to make it through the entire season,” said Skeen. “It’s important to stay healthy from the first race at Daytona in February, to the last race in Miami in November.”
Customize Your Exercise Schedule
Skeen explains that due to the weight of the equipment the pit crew works with each week (like a 65 lb. Sunoco fuel can) they work out to withstand moving objects while in different positions.
Each week they follow a set schedule to get the most out of their work outs:
- Monday: “Recovery day”; active stretching, yoga, lightweight training or light cardio sessions.
- Tuesday: “Heavier day”; weight training and more intense cardio.
- Wednesday: “Heaver day”; weight training and intense cardio.
- Thursday: “Cool down day”; round out the week with any areas not worked on.
- Friday – Sunday: “Action days”; use the workout from the week and put your body to work.
In addition to the weekly regiment, each member on the pit crew has a workout plan specific to their position on the team.
“All our pit crew members need to have strength,” said Skeen. “They need to have strong legs, strong cores, and a strong upper body. Additionally, we have training plans for specific positions, like our tire changers. For each position, common injuries can occur, so we look at those areas and try to target them to prevent injuries from happening.”
Landon Walker, the back-up gas man on the No. 5 Farmers Insurance team, knows how critical staying well-conditioned is for his role on the team.
“It’s important to stay in shape and fit for my position on the team,” said Walker. “Being a gas man, there’s not as much agility and running around the car required like some of the other positions, but there’s a lot of strength involved. Four days a week, we do heavy lifting, and no matter what job you have on the team, you have to keep your strength up.”
While maintaining their strength, the team also focuses on proper nutrition in their diet.
“We have a dietician and a nutritionist on call that come in and give the guys nutrition information at the beginning of the year,” said Skeen. “If any one of them need weight management or a certain diet to help them gain or lose weight, we will schedule one-on-one consultations with the outsourced dieticians and nutritionists.”
Avoiding temptation is the hardest part of a healthy lifestyle, and that’s especially true if, like the No. 5 Farmers Insurance team, you’re on the road a lot. Walker knows just how difficult that can be though.
“Making sure I get enough protein and maintaining a healthy balance is important when I’m on the road,” said Walker. “It can be hard traveling because it’s easy to make a bad decision, so you just have to stick to your plan and maintain during the week to prepare for the weekend.”
Design a Realistic Plan
For the best results, it’s important to identify your goals and consult a nutritionist or doctor to help you get started with a nutrition plan and your fitness plan. That’s just as true for the pit crew as it is for fans off the track.
“We’ve seen a lot of benefits over the years by promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said Skeen. “We’ve had guys come from other race teams that may have been a little overweight or maybe didn’t have the optimal strength that they could have had and we’ve been able to get them stronger. Doing this helps them increase their muscle mass and prolong their careers.”
With 11 Sprint Cup Championships, Hendrick Motorsports is the most successful racing organization in NASCAR history. Kasey Kahne's No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS is supported by some of the most talented engineers, mechanics and race strategists.
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