Q&A: Meet the man with the key to Combine preparation

Travelle Gaines knows what it takes to prepare an NFL player.

William Bradley

Travelle Gaines owns and operates Athletic Gaines, a first-class gym that attracts NFL veterans and incoming rookies preparing for the NFL Combine. Gaines, who has trained the likes of Andrew Luck, Reggie Bush and Jamaal Charles, has created a special atmosphere inside his facility and has his staff of trainers highly motivated to get every ounce of effort out of the athletes. FOXSports.com sat down with the celebrity trainer to discuss his six-week training program, designed to maximize each player’s potential:

Which players are you looking forward to watching most at the NFL Combine?

Definitely UCLA’s Anthony Barr and Cassius Marsh, Ohio State’s Bradley Roby and Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk because those guys have a chance to do something very special. I think they all have a chance to run in the upper tier of their positions. I think they’ll do great in their shuttles and their height/weight body composition is going to be through the roof. I’m really looking forward to watching them put it together on the big stage.

Which player has made the biggest gains during his time training here?

It has to be USC’s Devon Kennard. I say that because he was coming off a torn pectoral muscle last year so he hasn’t really benched in the last two years. To take someone who hasn’t really benched that much in the past two years and now his upper body strength is where it’s at, is impressive. He’s benching in the 25 to 30 range at 225. To see him put it all together and clean up his movements has been awesome. He’s been fun to watch.

How is the program designed to maximize each player’s potential?

We take their body composition, injuries, movements and put that all together to create a plan to enhance their strengths and increase their weaknesses. We have 12 guys here in the Combine program, but we have six coaches. We’re able to give them a lot of specialized attention with a two to one coaching ratio. We’re able to hone in on any deficiencies that need to be addressed. We have a daily meeting at 6 a.m. with our chefs, physical therapist and position coaches. We all work as one team to put together the perfect program for the guys.

Why do you think athletes come here to train?

I really don’t know. I think because of the culture and the results. For example, Ron Brooks from the Buffalo Bills is here. He heard of us because Stevie Johnson came here and got really good results. I think when their peers show up and they’re some of the best conditioned guys on their team, they tend to want to go to that place.

Who is the greatest pure athlete you have ever trained?

It’s a tie: Reggie Bush, Lamarr Houston and Anthony Barr. Reggie is a genetic freak. He’s fast twitch and (a) very explosive athlete. He’s just a complete athlete because of the combination of his strength and speed. Lamarr is 6-foot-4 and he’s ripped. He’s very strong. Very athletic and fast. Same thing with Anthony Barr. He’s 6-4, 255 pounds and can move and bend unlike a lot of athletes.

What are the meal plans like while the players are training with you?

The meal plans are based off each player’s individual body composition. If they have to gain weight, lose weight or maintain weight. What will happen is we’ll get with their agents and we’ll collaborate on where they want their player at. The No. 1 goal is to always decrease each player’s body fat. We’ll get them a lot of lean proteins, vegetables, salads and fruit. We’ll feed them six meals a day. It gets their metabolism going and it helps us control what’s going on inside of them. If we know what’s going on inside of them then we know what we can get out of them. If they go east fast food it defeats the purpose for us. By making the meals pretty tasty it helps us out a lot.

What’s one piece of advice anyone can apply to their daily routine to get more fitness friendly?

Have working out be the first thing that you do every day. As you put it off, the day gets longer and you have to go to work and you have the stress of taking care of the kids, then fitness gets thrown to the wayside. Most successful people get up and go work out. Make time for yourself in the morning.

Do you coach them off the field with the interview room?

Yes, we do coach them for their interviews, media prep and board work. Definitely.

How big is your staff and how do they support your vision?

We have six coaches and they do an amazing job. All of them have a tremendous skillset and special talent. They all really want to be here. They’re highly motivated and self-driven. I can’t say it’s my vision, it’s more of our vision. All we really want is what’s best for the athletes. That’s what we’re driven by. We want all of the athletes here to reach their goals.