“Health is important at every age.” That was the center of the message delivered by San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon to BlueCrossBlueShield of South Carolina employees Friday.
Gordon’s visit was part of his role as a Rally ambassador. Rally is an independent company which offers a digital health platform on behalf of BlueCross, with the goal of helping BlueCross members statewide make healthy lifestyle choices. He spoke about the importance of those choices Friday, while also coaching and cheering on BlueCross employees as they took part in NFL combine events like the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump and push-ups.
“Health is a big thing with me and what I do,” said Gordon, who added that he sees sharing the importance of healthy choices as his responsibility as a role model. “People look up to us, kids, you know, even adults sometimes. So when they see us out here preaching health, that only makes them want to go out there and better themselves.”
Gordon, 23, is an athlete in his prime, but encouraged those of all ages to eat healthy diets and exercise as they can. “There’s always a way to work out and do something,” he said, giving the example of his 65-year-old grandmother, who still, as he put it, “works out like a 25-year-old.”
He said for his grandmother and many who cannot work out like an NFL player, diet is the key. “She cooks us soul food, but she’s eating raisins, grapes and fruit,” he said. “She doesn’t have cheat meals.”
Gordon said while he worked out hard in college, he ate whatever he wanted with little regard for health, but changed that after arriving in the NFL and hearing from coaches and veteran players. He’s been impressed with the results. “You can really feel it,” he said. “You really feel the difference with the energy and how long you can go out there and really perform.”
A look at Gordon makes it obvious that he spends time weightlifting, but he also spends time running and riding bikes, whether mobile or stationary. “You don’t have to be a professional athlete to go out there and do that,” he said.
Gordon watches his diet carefully now, working with a chef who prepares food for many professional athletes to make sure he’s eating healthy, except for one meal on Fridays. “I have one cheat day,” he said with a laugh. “There’s nothing wrong with that.” For those wondering: Gordon’s “cheat meal” usually comes from Jack in the Box.
The former Heisman Trophy finalist said he realizes it isn’t easy to make the right decisions, but offered motivation which he said was also inspired by his grandmother. “Just think about your sons, daughters, grandchildren when you don’t feel like eating healthy or something,” he said. “Sometimes that’s all it takes.”
More photos from Gordon’s visit are posted on the Midlands Anchor Facebook page.
Pictured: Melvin Gordon laughs with BlueCross employees during Friday’s event (photo by Allen Wallace)