After graduating from River Falls High School he enrolled at UW-River Falls and made the UWRF football team.
After almost a full year of being on the roster of 101 UWRF football players, freshman quarterback Ryan Kusilek said, “the only thing that connects the two are football and the fact it’s in River Falls.”
The UWRF football team is currently in their off-season, which means different training than during the season.
During the season, weight room training “basically revolves around keeping our athletes healthy,” said Strength and Conditioning Coach Carmen Pata.
Then during the off-season, “it’s a lot more intense. You can get a lot more into it because you don’t have to worry about practice,” Kusilek said.
Pata said during the off-season he pushes all the athletes he works with to get “bigger, stronger, faster” so when their season begins, they are at their best.
“Off-season training is more of the developmental part where we’re looking to make any body composition changes,” Pata said. “[This includes] gain size, loss of weight, developing strength and work capacity.”
At the same time, even though the athletes are building muscle or body mass, “if they can’t move [quickly] then we’re not in a good situation to win,” he said.
Kusilek said this was something he noticed while he was in high school. When he worked out, he noticed many of his peers doing “nothing to really get better. They just want to get big and strong.”
Here, being fast is just as important as being big and strong, as Pata said. One way he implements this is telling athletes, “you got three reps, get it done as fast as you can.”
The fitness the athletes achieve in the weight room is supplemented through healthy eating habits as well.
Kusilek said that Pata “preaches” good eating habits and is always telling them things that they should be eating in the off-season to stay in shape.
“I know I try to follow it as much as I can,” Kusilek said. “The better you eat the better your lifts are, the more you can get out of it, and it shows. If you spend a weekend trashing your body you can feel it in your body the next couple days.”
During the off-season, Kusilek said he noticed he had better eating habits than when he was in season. Pata said this was common among athletes.
Because the athletes are working so hard, “They think they can eat whatever they want and get away with it, which is a poor way of going about it,” he said.
The time that athletes spend training out of season is what Kusilek would equate to a part time job.
“It’s kind of like balancing school and having a small part-time job, and in season it’s like balancing school and pretty much a full-time job,” he said.
In the off-season he said he normally spends around two to three hours in the weight room on a daily basis, but then he said once you figure in the walk to and from the gym and showering you cannot really plan anything during the afternoon. He added that some of his teammates also do other things to reinforce their skills as well, like throwing.
Once the football season starts again, he said he has to balance the meetings, practices, weight lifting and games among other things in addition to school.
“I wish people would realize how much time we’ve put in and what it actually takes to be in it,” said Kusilek.