After running back Rashad Jennings was selected in the 2009 NFL draft, he — not unlike other rookies — dropped a chunk of cash on a fancy new toy.
But his fancy purchase wasn’t a souped-up Bentley or a diamond-encrusted timepiece.
It was a hyperbaric chamber, which increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream.
“I use it to rejuvenate and energize,” says Jennings, who shelled out $18,000 for the cylinder-shaped capsule. “Even on a cognitive level it helps out.”
The 30-year-old New York Giants star naps in it for at least an hour daily. Though he also has a Tempur-Pedic mattress, he’ll sleep in the chamber overnight if his gridiron-battered body needs a little extra care. He spends anywhere from seven to 20 hours a week in it, which is affectionately nicknamed “the coffin” by his mother.
“I sleep in it every night in [preseason training] camp. I don’t bring it on road trips, but during camp I do. When you wake up, you feel the difference,” he says.
Jennings is known for his monastic devotion to fitness and nutrition. He’s never had alcohol and travels with healthy fare prepared by his personal chef, Mark Longo.
He was turned on to the chamber by physician Julie Buckley. Once the chamber is inflated and zipped up, Jennings breathes pure oxygen under pressure up to three times higher than normal. Hyperbaric therapy boosts the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, which helps repair damaged muscle tissue.
And yes, the single Jennings will forgo cuddle time for health benefits.
“It’s always hilarious to see [when] anybody, whether it’s a girl or a friend, comes over. They are always flipping out,” he says.
Fitness wasn’t always a priority for the Virginia native. “When I was 15 or 16, my coach told me I was too fat and too slow,” says Jennings. So he went on a mission to shed weight.
He did an experiment in his kitchen. On one side of the counter he placed a McDonald’s hamburger, cheese, bread and milk — and on the other, a head of lettuce, chicken, a banana and water.
“My mom’s a neat freak, so she wasn’t happy,” he says.
Three days later, the McDonald’s was congealed and hard, and he could imagine it clogging his arteries. The natural grub had began to decompose, mimicking what food is supposed to do when you digest it. “If this is what’s happening on the outside,” he thought, “I can imagine what’s going on inside.”
He immediately adopted a gluten- and casein-free diet and started running all over town, losing 30 pounds in a month.
Now, his chef prepares his meals for the week, and he doesn’t touch the grub at Giants facilities.
“I work too hard to show up one day and have something that I can’t eat,” he says.
He starts his days with a breakfast shake and eats four-course lunches and dinners, like pan-seared red snapper and steamed beets. When he does eat out, he’ll hit sushi spots like Blue Ribbon.
Jennings’ clean-living ways have rubbed off on G-Men like Orleans Darkwa, who sometimes drops by Jennings’ Secaucus, NJ, home to nap in the chamber. “In the locker room, it starts off like, ‘What the heck are you doing?’” he says. “In the middle of the season, it changes to, ‘Show me how to do it.’”
original article posted here: http://nypost.com/2015/12/01/why-this-new-york-giant-sleeps-in-an-18k-hyperbaric-chamber/