CALGARY — This morning, Stampeders quarterback Drew Tate was busy flipping tires and hitting them with a sledgehammer. Tomorrow, he’ll be kickboxing. This doesn’t sound like the way a quarterback would typically spend his free time, but it’s all part of Tate’s new MMA-style training regimen at Guy Mezger’s Combat Sports Club in Dallas.
Drew decided to try mixed martial arts workouts this off-season when his agent connected him with UFC 13 lightweight tournament champion Mezger.
Five days a week, you’ll find Tate at the gym training. His current schedule includes two-a-day workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and one workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each session lasts about an hour. The overall objective is to get the most out of a workout in a short amount of time.
“He’s all about recovery,” says Tate of Mezger. “It’s a different way of training and I really like it because I stay real fresh. My body feels good all the time. The idea is to not overload your system and to use recovery. It’s been crazy because I’ve really gotten stronger and my body has transformed.” The 2012 football season looked promising for Tate, who earned the starting quarterback job coming out of training camp. But in the first quarter of just the second game of the season, he suffered a dislocated left shoulder and required surgery. The injury forced him out of the lineup for 10 weeks and he didn’t start another game until the final week of the regular season.
His bad luck continued a week later when he broke a bone in his right forearm during the third quarter of the West semifinal. Although he finished the game and led the Stamps to victory with a 68-yard touchdown pass in dying seconds, he was not able to play in the Western Final or Grey Cup.
The Texas native anticipates the MMA drills will make him more durable and he’ll be able to better tolerate unexpected hits.
“Hopefully it will make me stronger to withstanding blows.,” he says. “It’s just about strengthening my body in vulnerable areas and withstanding blows where I’m vulnerable. That’s what it’s all about.”
Using his MMA training strictly for endurance and conditioning, the 28-year-old isn’t doing any mat grappling or sparring with anyone.
“No, I’m not hitting or anything like that because that’s not good on my shoulder,” he says. “It’s just the training philosophy with the recovery, with how quick we train and mostly it’s body weights and that sort of thing.”
Tate has taken a liking to his new training program, but that doesn’t mean you’ll see him climbing into the octagon with his name on a fight card any time soon.
“I’m not taking any hits to my head that I don’t have to take unnecessarily,” he laughs.