Editor's Note: DenverBroncos.com's Stuart Zaas is in New Orleans working for the NFL during Super Bowl week. He will check in from time to time with updates leading up to the game on Sunday.
NEW ORLEANS -- Broncos linebacker
“Guys are always looking for the edge to get faster, stronger to stay at a high level and perform at a high level,” Miller said. “The edge for me is always nutrition. I feel like especially at my young age I can just roll out of bed and do some of the stuff that I do. But after a long season in the NFL it really starts to wear down your body. You really have to take the time to stay hydrated and refuel your body.”
Miller, who became the first Bronco to be named to back-to-back Pro Bowls to open his career, talked about how he’s learned about taking care of his body through his first two NFL seasons.
The biggest eye-opener about nutrition for Miller was how preparing for a game nutritionally can begin early in the week, the same way on-field and classroom preparation do.
“I’ve always known that you had to put fluid in your body and stay hydrated before games," he said. "But I didn’t know what the window was. I always thought the day before, but you learn, it’s really throughout the week. I just didn’t know how long before you had to start.”
Prior to entering the NFL, Miller said while he understood the importance of hydration and basic nutrition, the resources that he’s been exposed to in the NFL were not as readily available in college.
“It’s certainly something that’s needed – especially at the college level.” Miller said about nutritional education. “I’ve learned a little about nutritional aspects about my game from working with Gatorade. I know the importance of getting the fuel in before being active.”
Miller said while his diet has changed, it hasn’t been a matter of giving up entire food groups.
Instead, it’s about focusing on getting his body ready for the long-term grind of an NFL season as well as the shorter-term burst of energy he needs for a workout, practice or game.
“It’s more things that have evolved with being an athlete at this level,” he said. “You have to step up the nutritional part of things, get enough sleep at night to pay attention in meetings and be alert on the field. I think working with Gatorade and getting my pre nutrition under control before workouts and games. It’s about keeping fluids in my body, even during cold games. It works pretty well. I’ve definitely been on top of my nutrition before workouts.”
When asked about his favorite pregame meal, Miller said that he’ll eat whatever Team Nutritionist Brian Snyder has available, but did add there is one type of food he keeps part of his routine.
“When I can, I always like to get a cup of noodles that I can heat up in the microwave just to have something in my stomach before games,” Miller said. “A football game is long. After a while your stomach will start to growl."
Snyder, who also presented on behalf of Gatorade, said that many players like Miller like to have the same type of pregame meal.
“Typically, at the hotel I usually don’t vary the menu up too much because guys like consistency,” Snyder said. “We usually have a pretty good variety of pastas, proteins, cornbread, starches – it’s very carbohydrate focused with lean sources of protein and then at the stadium I have my normal snack table full of Gatorade bars. Guys like their routine. During the week I’ll change up the menu quite a bit but pregame I try to keep it consistent.”
Two years into what he hopes will be a long playing career, Miller has learned that taking care of his body is a key to longevity in the NFL.
“I think it’s a great thing that Gatorade is doing,” Miller said. “I’m all in.”