While teams are constructed in training camp and game plans are forged during the week, championships are built in the offseason.
Going into his fourth NFL offseason, Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen said he makes leaps and bounds of progress away from football where no one is watching.
"In the offseason it's about getting your body back to square one," he said. "You've spent however many weeks breaking it down; you're getting your platform back to zero.
"It's about getting all the muscle soreness out, getting all the muscle imbalances out so you can start at a good base level and work from there."
The human body is equipped with matching muscles that expand and contract to allow human movement. When one side of the pair becomes significantly stronger than the other, imbalances and injuries can occur.
"It's very critical to correct those, so they have a test called a Functional Movement Screening (FMS). It's something like 90 percent accurate with predicting injuries," he explained. "It's really hard to work out your muscle imbalances because it's usually something that your body isn't very good at doing.
"I have poor shoulder flexibility so any time I do shoulder flexibility; it's always very uncomfortable, very painful because my body doesn't like that. You kind of just got to grind and work at it."
Paulsen also carries good habits through the offseason, sticking to a set routine of exercise, rest, nutrition and a lot of water.
"In college, you throw that stuff by the wayside because you're young and you can just bounce back whenever you want, and I think that's something I really didn't do effectively," he said.
Here are Logan's tips on lifting weight:
"When you work out, making sure you lift correctly. So many times when you're working out you could say 'Screw it, I'm just going to get a lot of weight on the bar.' In reality, that's hurting you long-term. That's not helping your body develop."
Here are Logan's tips on nutrition:
"I started off with rules for myself:
- "When I buy food, nothing above 3.5 percent saturated fat per serving. It's really difficult.
- "I don't really drink that much Gatorade, no soda, and no sugary drink. You don't want to drink your calories so I drink a lot of water basically.
- "As time has gone on I've focused on leaner proteins, more fibrous vegetables and different types of grains.
"It's really just as my life goes on and as I've grown my knowledge of nutrition, I've added little things. Now I've got a whole bunch of rules and it has become a lifestyle."
Here are Logan's tips on moderation:
"When I was here by myself I took all my own meals, I kind of took it to the extreme. But when my wife moved out here, I kind of had to live in a more moderate world.
"I think in some ways that's healthy for me mentally because it's so easy for me to be like 'oh my God I had half a cookie.' She's taught me that it's ok to occasionally splurge and have whatever once in a while.
"I can be a bit more sane, having her presence here; she cooks and does a great job making sure that my meals are really healthy and lean and all the things that I like."
Paulsen said that like all things in football, he has sought balance in his workouts in nutrition and learned to keep focus from turning to obsession.
"With this healthier lifestyle I've embraced, if I'm tired at a certain point in the day I know I haven't eaten enough carbohydrate in the morning so I need to make sure I'm on top of that the next day," he said. "It's gradual but I've seen changes long-term.
"That's one of things that great about having my wife here is that it was kind of an obsession and that's not healthy. While it is insane, it's a lot of self focus and it's also bad if you do too much of it."