By Nikolai Jackson, VCG Sports Communications
When you're in the offseason, you tend to lack the motivation to keep your body up to the physicality that the NFL demands. Training to play in the NFL takes a lot more than lifting weights and cardio. You have to be well rounded in all aspects. When you're a former athlete, you know how your body should be going to training camp and organized team activities. Ike Igbinosun, (Ike short for Ikponmwosa) now retired, started a sports training company to help with athletes who wanted to learn from an athlete who has the experience of what it takes.
Ike was born in Elizabeth, NJ. In a family with 7 siblings who played sports themselves, he knew the path he would initially go down. Going to Southern Connecticut State University, he eventually made it to the NFL. Playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars. He soon retired after 3 seasons but not before realizing another path he could embark on.
Igbinosun wanted to do something positive and he is doing just that by starting this business called Pro Limit Athletes. Officially becoming a Limited Liability Company or LLC in November of 2017, Ike mentors and trains with athletes who are trying to stay in NFL shape and ready for the next season. By focusing on 7 key areas, Speed, Strength, Power, Flexibility, Conditioning, and Mental Toughness, Ike believes that you will begin to play at the highest level in the NFL.
"This is the stuff that I came up that I figured if an athlete has a good balance of all 7 of these tools, then that will help them play at the highest level. So strength is the basics. Can you lift stuff, pick it up, be a strong person. Power is more like explosive. We're focusing on how high can you jump; how fast can you get out of your stance? Agility is how fast you can cut. Speed; how quick you can go. Flexibility is one of the most slept on aspects. It's really important because that's what going to combat injury and make you more mobile. You don't reach your maximum speed until you reach flexibility. With the Conditioning, people get weak when they get tired. Mentally. You first get mentally weak and then your whole body gives out."
As for mental toughness, Ike says that playing football is at least 70% mental toughness and in order to go up against guys who are bigger, you have you have the mindset of being better than your opposition. All 7 of these core values, Ike has come up with and has applied what he has learned from coaches and applied it to his business. He was told to do what makes you happy and to do something that doesn't feel like work. A very important key to running a business and something that seems to be a common theme. Run a business that is fun, doesn't feels like work, and try to have a positive output at the end of the day.
While his company is geared more towards athletes, Ike says he does have clients who aren't athletes at all, but they choose to use his program as a way to have an athletic build. "Most people aspire to have a body like an athlete and I think it's it's the best body you can achieve." Healthy living is something that with the right person to train and guide them is very important. "A lot of people don't have the guidance to get where they need to get."
Ike knows that he's not the first former player to attempt to train athletes to play in the NFL. It hasn't deterred him from making a successful business. He says he runs his training like they do training camp in the NFL. "World class, top of the art stuff. We're doing drills that are going to make you excel specifically on the football field." He knows what it takes because he trained himself to play at the highest level and he wants to implement what he has learned to future athletes. "That's what I bring that's different to the game. There's no one in my area mainly doing that."
So far his business has been a success, according to Ike. His clientele has grown in the 4 and a half months and he feels it will continue to grow.
"The thing I've learned about the business is really focusing on the people you've got, giving them all your energy and it will naturally grow that way. People will come in and see that energy, feel that energy, they will see the athletes that you work with, do better on the field and become stronger. It's growing naturally and at a great rate."
Some of the clientele Ike has worked with include student-athletes from high school, prep school, and Yale University. He says the students under his program will perform at the highest level in their respective positions. Ike says professional football players have used his program as well. Stefan Charles, defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, and wide receiver Marcus Easley, who played on the Buffalo Bills, who is currently a free agent have all used his training programs. "In the little time that we've been up, we've had a lot of great athletes stop by... we're expecting more great athletes to come in the door."
About VCG Sports
VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports.