Training with the Focus of a Fierce Defensive Backer

Training with the Focus of a Fierce Defensive Backer

- Rachel Sovka

“You’ve got to go the extra mile and do the things no one else is doing if you want to get ahead.”

That’s what third year SMU defense backer Kanaar Bell does when he hits the gym with a focus you wouldn’t believe.

While the rest of the team is chatting about the weekend, Kanaar is intensely focussed on pushing himself.

“I don’t like talking or idling, or anything like that, I like to get in and put in work, pushing myself, and others, to get better.”

Kanaar trains four times a week but still says that getting to a peak performance level is always a challenge.

For him and his football team, hard conditioning of the core involves running, lifting weights, and building stamina to sprint in short powerful bursts. Right now they’re in a hypertrophy phase paired with scheduled running twice per week.

Like most great athletes, Kanaar’s training schedule begins by waking up early and getting a head start on the day.

“Being a full-time athlete means I need to start early if I want to get anything else done in my day,” he explains, “and I always feel better physically when I know I’ve been motivated and awake for as long as possible.”

For Kanaar, the average day looks like this:

“I wake up at 6:30am, shower, eat breakfast, pack meals and do all that stuff then catch the bus at 8:04am to go to my 8:30am class. On a day where I start at 8:30am, I have classes back to back until 12:45pm. So, if that’s the case, I eat quickly and head over to the gym for my 1:20pm scheduled lift. Finish lifting around 2:30pm, (if it’s not a conditioning day) head home or to the library to take care of any extracurricular things and homework. If I’m home, I’ll be eating something before dinner most times but after I finish working on some stuff, I’ll make dinner and call it a night.”

In addition to his personal schedule and the team training regimen, during the summer in the off-season, a couple of the guys get together and train with the track coach of SMU as well.

But no matter who he’s with, by himself or with a group, Kanaar is known for his focus in training. It’s what Kanaar says most improves his speed, quickness, and strength over time.

When he’s in especially good form, his workout of choice is the bench press which he likes to destroy to build confidence and focus.

That, as well as re-watching footage of old football games with his teammates to strategize.

“You’ve got to study the other positions so you know how to take them on,” he says.

Kanaar also recommends home workouts to capitalize on time spent off the field or out of the gym. If he’s got the TV on he’ll drop into push-ups or a plank and hold it while he’s doing something else.

“In order to make the most of your time, the other thing that’s really important is core, and rehab,” he says.

Since training is like a full-time job for Kanaar and his teammates, rehab is essential for him and other athletes who need their tools in working order to go to work.

“You’ve got to nurture your injuries, and do smart rehab,” he says, “I’ve been blessed without many injuries but I once had a hip impingement, so I had to watch it for a while and adjust to the kind of work-outs I could do without aggravating it. I did that for a while, and it was worth it cause now I can still dance!”.

Dancing, and training with great concentration, Kanaar is charging into the season and onto the field with focus and determination, inspiring athletes of all stripes.