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Athletes Outdoors » Hoover To Embark On Ambitious Elite Support Tour


Hoover To Embark On Ambitious Elite Support Tour

(Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a 2-part story about a new trend on tour – training and nutrition. Part 1 provided an overview with pro John Crews. Part 2, below, is a Q&A with program creator and professional trainer Ken Hoover.)BassFan: Ken, can you explain for BassFans why you started to monitor the heart-rates of pro anglers?

Hoover: The reason I began the process last year of gathering data was to verify what John (Crews) and several of the other athletes out there know – that there’s an athletic element to what’s being done in the boats.

And you didn’t come out of nowhere, in terms of your interest in fishing. You’re a lifelong angler, right?

I was taken fishing before I could walk on Clarks Hill. I was my grandfather’s excuse to go fishing. So I’m a lifelong angler. I used to live in East Texas and fished Toledo Bend, Palestine, Sam Rayburn, and I ended up inshore guiding at South Padre Island in the late-’70s.

But I recognize that although I may be competitive with the guy in the other end of the boat, I’m a recreational angler. The pros do this at a level most of us will never understand.

How many people were part of the study last year?

We set out last year to monitor a bunch of the athletes. We had 15 people wearing heart-rate telemetry, and John was one of the earliest.

I work with NBA athletes, Olympic competitors, I’ve trained loads of world-champion bodybuilders, models, actresses. Regardless of what sport it was, I had to do some development work to find out what I could do to provide value to these athletes.

So we started with the monitors (on bass pros) last year. Basically, we wired the guys up to get as big (a sample) as we could. We had to get a big number to get statistical significance. We had 200 days monitored.

And what did you find?

Last year, the guys averaged just a shade over 3,600 calories a day in a boat. If you translated that into a jog, that’s a 23-mile jog at 12-minute miles. So you get a good idea now of why the buzz has come from this.

What’s the root of such a high calorie burn? It can’t be just standing and casting, although that’s beyond grueling at a pro’s pace.

It’s two parts. One is athletic. The other, mental engagement, is much harder to quantify. What you see in the mental engagement is intensity, anger, and the other things involved. These guys fish under a microscope with a gun to their heads. In reality, that’s how it plays out.

But I don’t want to mislead anyone. Joe Public will never go through the same thing fishing in the boat. But we learned a lot about pro fishing.

And that led to an analysis of nutrition, right? A look at whether the pros were eating enough of the right things?

Last year that was the effort – to get heart-rate data and determine the fuel to appropriately cover that. First of all we had to quantify the need for fuel that the activity created. Once having done that, we then tried to cover that activity with fuel, which would be food and water.

That having been done, we began to apply that food, or fuel, in the boat. And we tried not to take the food for a boat ride, but to eat it in the boat. As that process played out, the guys had a lot more energy.

“This year, we have our ducks in a row to make a big splash. This will be a hot topic.”

Peter Thliveros had one of the best quotes. He said you may be able to block out that you’re hungry, but you’ll not be capable of focusing (on fishing) in the same way.So the goal from the beginning has been to be able to provide these athletes with the same type of metabolic and nutrition coach that the same elite athletes in other sports have.

What’s been some of your experience with “elite” athletes in other sports?

I was involved with the company that did the San Antonio Spurs assessment. They did exactly what we did (with the bass pros). One of the strength and conditioning coaches sat in the stands and recorded heart-rates with an antenna during practice. He did that for 2 weeks. Then he did the same thing during pre-season games. So they had data built up for practice days and game days.

What was different in that case was the coaches and chef travel with the team and could put snacks on the table that the athletes had to show up and eat.

In the case of what we’re doing this year, the spouses will be administering the food, and logging and balancing (the pros’) activity with their fuel.

I have 20 (Elite Series) families subscribed to this year’s programming. So last year was just a blip on the screen. This year, we’ll be taking a physical-support trailer the pros can use to receive therapy on-site.

What’s your main goal for the program?

I’m interested in helping people prepare for that activity that they love. In my case, that activity happens to be hunting and fishing. I work with the Elite Series pros, and Realtree.

This year, we have our ducks in a row to make a big splash. This will be a hot topic.

And you’ll have a ProFlex stretch-therapy device along at each event, right?

Do you know anybody else who goes into an athletic endeavor that doesn’t stretch out? Have you ever seen anybody stretch in a bass boat? The idea is to help these guys understand that they’ve been saying it, but they have to be in shape to be an athlete. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of talk.

What I’m talking about is being more prepared, and more focused, to have better results and more energy left for their families at the end of the day. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.

I’ve put stretch-therapy devices behind the PGA Tour, and worked with athletes in every sport. I’m just really excited about being able to put (forward) valuable info and useful terms for the athletes on this tour over the next season.

Photo: ESPN Outdoors (permission to Ken Hoover)

Hoover tosses a bag of “fuel” to Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle.

And a lot of people should be thanked for getting it this far. All the pros, all the families, and ESPN Outdoors, who gave me credentials and great access to the anglers.The support trailer you’re bringing on tour this year – can you detail that a little more?

It’s really an education vehicle as well as a support vehicle we’re taking out this year. We’re looking for sponsors to help share this story, for the simple reason we’d like to get to follow these athletes and help them understand there’s a physical element to preparation.

We’ll be setting up equipment (at events) either in the support area, or campground, or hotel – wherever the women want to be.

And what type of equipment will be onboard?

The same that I use to train NBA athletes, and (what’s) at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It’s as good as it gets. There are only about 150 out of 15,000 clubs in the U.S. that have such equipment installed. In 30 minutes you’ll get strength and cardio work done.

And I’m bringing equipment so all the women can train each day if they choose. And the kids will have a stationary bike that lets them play video games. If they stop pedaling, it goes dark. There’ll be four game pads, and an activity sport where kids can move from one spot to another. There’s reaction time and movement involved, and it’ll keep four kids active while the women get workouts.

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