Guest Spotlight: Jeff Byers
Posted: February 22nd, 2018
Growing Up With Sports
I was always into being an outdoor kid. My parents would probably say I had too much energy and they needed me to get out of the house and do something. I remember playing every sport from gymnastics at the YMCA, to roller hockey…you name and I probably played it. I even ran cross country in 7th grade. Growing up in a family that loved the outdoors and loved activity was critical too. If we weren’t studying we were adventuring outside or playing an organized team sport.
Like many young kids, I did grow up dreaming to be a professional athlete in one sport or another, but not football, specifically, until mid-way through high school. I honestly had no idea it was even an option until I started getting recruited. I was lucky enough to be the #1 recruit in the nation for football and once that first scholarship offer came, it hit me—the professional sports dream could be a reality. About that time I really started to love the game of football as a whole. It’s as much a physical feat as a mental challenge. Every day you can be thrown outside your comfort zone; you can win or loose the day. Football was the sport that I was built for and gravitated towards as I grew up.
Jeff’s Relationship with Food in the NFL
I look at food differently than most people. I was always small for guys at my position in the NFL (offensive line). I ate so much that eating became a second job just to maintain weight, let alone gain any. It was a struggle from high school on. My engine burned so fast, oftentimes eating felt like a chore that I hated doing. It was this constant battle because I could only throw so much into my body at one time.
I don’t eat as much, but I do really enjoy eating now that I’ve retired, and I’m lucky that I cut 80 pounds in only a matter of months. I still eat what I want, when I want it! I walk, hike, cycle and on conference calls I’m always moving around too. I say that I’m really good at burning calories dumbly because I’m rarely not moving.
Jeff on Cycling
I always loved riding, but never owned a road bike. Growing up in Colorado, we mountain biked a fair amount. My dad had a road bike, but I never got into it. Once I retired, I started riding my wife’s steel frame road bike, but I didn’t stick with it initially. However, I’ve always loved the bike because of the ability to challenge myself I’m really just a glutton for punishment and suffering. Regardless of how talented you are, you can always make yourself suffer more. Something about pushing myself to the edge is actually a very comfortable feeling for me.
I truly picked up a bike when we started to take a shot at launching Topical Edge. We knew we were going to launch into endurance sports and cycling specifically, so it just made sense for me to start riding more; I needed to be in the community. I bought my first road bike in January 2017 and just dove in head first. The enjoyment level over the past 12 months has been incredible. I can do a ton on a bike: work, socialize and exercise all mixed into one. It’s a sport you can do wherever you are just about. The other great thing about gravitating towards the bike is that it’s been a great opportunity for me to call riding a bike “work”. I can do Gran Fondos, ride trails on Tuesday mornings with a new shop or group….I feel honored to call time spent on my bike “work” these days.