Get pumped

College is an important time for growth in all areas of life, but perhaps no other organization on campus embraces the physical aspect of growth more than the USC football team. We asked some members of the team about any tips they might have along with some of the players’ favorite post-workout meals and pump-up songs.


For resilient redshirt sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler, the key to a successful workout is winning the mental battle. “You have to come in with a mindset. A lot of people will say they want to workout and say they want to lift, and there comes that one lift where you feel like you’re too tired and then people quit. You have to be mentally tough,” Kessler says. For post-workout meals, Kessler advises “healthy-fat foods and stacking up on protein.”


Senior offensive guard and 6-foot-6, 300-pound friendly giant Kevin Graf believes balance is key for those with daily workout regimens. “For guys who want to get big, don’t do upper body every day. Do some legs. One day should be upper body, the next day should be lower body,” he says. While working out, Graf’s favorite track is Dada Life’s “Kick Out the Epic Motherf–ker”; for post-workout food, Graf prefers the omelets at Jacks N Joe.


Freshman phenom athlete and running back Justin Davis takes the “pain is gain” route to working out. “You gotta approach it with the mindset to get better. It’s going to be hard but you just gotta work through it ‘cause in the end, it’s going to pay off,”  Davis says. “You want pain when you’re working out, because that pain’s going to get you better.” For post-workout meals, Davis is an unabashed carnivore: “Definitely have to go with tri-tip or steak, with potatoes. A bunch of protein always helps.”


Redshirt junior linebacker Hayes Pullard took a workout cue from a documentary on a former NFL great. “The best thing is to do twenty push-ups each commercial when you’re at home,” Pullard says. “Switch it up with sit-ups. That’s what I watched in the Herschel Walker 30 for 30 [documentary], and that was a big help.” As for post-workout food, Pullard will spoil himself from time to time. “Nachos—with Doritos, though, and ground beef. With extra cheese and extra sour cream. Totally unhealthy. And about ten sugar cookies. And a side order of cheesecake,” Pullard says, laughing. To get ready for games and workouts, Pullard listens to Pastor Troy’s “We Ready.”


The tall, lean freshman quarterback Max Browne has plenty of zip in his throws due in no small part to an incredibly strong core. “For me, size and mass isn’t as big of a deal but making sure your core’s tight, because all lifts, especially Olympic lifts, start and end with your core. So if you build from there out, that’s definitely beneficial,” Browne says. Browne’s favorite post-workout food is a special from a restaurant in his home state of Washington: “fried rice with chicken on top and tons of teriyaki sauce.”


Freshman defensive tackle and five-star recruit Kenny Bigelow stresses that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. “You gotta eat, you know, you can’t just lift all the time. You gotta eat, you gotta run,” Bigelow says. Bigelow gets his post workout protein from Muscle Milk and prefers to eat fruit after a practice or workout. Bigelow also has an appreciation for a wide range of music; his favorite pump-up track is Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”