Former Colorado Mesa running back rehabs knee with intense workouts

CMU FB player Zach Adair rehabs his ACL with lunges at the Jamie Hamilton Rec Center at CMU.

Football is a tough, physical sport and for Zach Adair it has defined much of his life.

Weight training has been at the heart of Adair’s fitness regimen since he first walked into Palisade High School eight years ago.

“They started me lifting on Day One,” he said. “I actually started lifting even before I started classes.”

As a little guy, “maybe 100 pounds,” when he first strolled onto the Palisade football practice field, Adair worked his tail off to get bigger, stronger and better. All football players know the foundation of success starts in the weight room.

Now, 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, Adair just finished his collegiate playing career as a running back with the Colorado Mesa University football team.

It was a tough final two years for Adair and he found himself in the gym far more than on the field. When he suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year, his 2012 season was over before it even started. This year he tore up his knee again in September and again saw his season over too soon.

Two devastating ACL injuries led to hours, days, and months and months of rehabilitation.

Adair’s life is all about CMU and the gym is a huge part of his life. Besides his intense workouts, Adair, 22, also works at the front desk of the campus recreation center.

“Yeah, I’m there a lot,” he said.

Majoring in mathematics with a statistics concentration, Adair will graduate in the spring. As a student, he says it can be difficult to find a consistent time to get into the gym and he admits that it’s best to get into a routine and work out at the same time of the day.

“It doesn’t always work that way for me,” he said about a consistent routine. “I just go when I can.”

His workouts shift from mornings to afternoons, whenever he has the time, but he always finds the time.

“I feel that it’s an escape from daily life. It’s nice to just go and workout and get away from it all for a little bit,” he said. “It’s a nice stress reliever.”

Weight training will always be part of his routine but now that his football playing days are behind him, he might tweak his fitness routine a little.

“I’ll probably keep a lot of the same stuff but use different methods,” he said.


His intense weight lifting workout is divided into different days for working different body parts.

Since he’s still rehabbing his knee from the torn ACL, his Tuesday and Thursday leg workouts are done as part of his physical therapy. On these days, he works out twice a day. He tries to work his legs in some capacity every day he’s in the gym.

Monday: chest, triceps and a leg workout.

Tuesday: back, biceps and legs.

Wednesday: strictly cardio with no lifting.

Thursday: shoulders and legs.

Friday: This is what he calls his “Hershel Walker day,” after the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL running back. Adair does 275 push-ups, 125 pull-ups, 225 dips, and 500 sit-ups. He ends the workout with 30 minutes of cardio.

Saturday: strictly a cardio day.

Sunday: Rest.

Since he’s recovering from ACL surgery, his cardio work is a mix of biking and running on the elliptical machine along with a casual trip to the gym to shoot hoops.


The diet

As a young, athletic guy, Adair doesn’t stick to much of a strict diet.

He grabs a snack or two during the day and tries to have a piece of fruit before his workout.

With a heavy-lifting fitness regimen, he always tries to fuel up on protein by eating Greek yogurt, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and milk.

Now that football is over, Adair said things aren’t going to change much for him in the gym.

“Just because I’m not playing football anymore that doesn’t mean I will slack off on my workouts. Some things just don’t change,” he said.

He laughs about his fitness goals for the future but has a lofty goal that’s about five decades away.

“It’s important to stay healthy,” he said. “As long as I can move I want to be keeping a workout schedule.

“I want to be a 70-year-old man with a six pack.”

And he’s not talking about a beer-thirsty elderly man.

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