Madison Magazine

Athletic Edge

A former football player helps other get fit

By Derrell Connor 

One of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to become healthier. The goal, while critical and essential, can be very difficult to maintain, even just a month or two in.

Haywood Simmons is determined to change that.

Simmons, a former University of Wisconsin and NFL football player, created Phitness Plus in 2010 to encourage and educate people of all ages and athletic backgrounds to get in the best shape possible, and to change their lives in a positive manner. His mission is to help build healthy and happy lifestyles through proper exercise and informed nutritional counseling, one person at a time. And he has built up an impressive clientele, which includes former UW and professional athletes, plus the Madison Blaze women's football team, for which he serves as conditioning coach.

The key to his success, Simmons believes, is a holistic approach to fitness. "If the mind, food and heart are not right, your fitness program will not work," he says. "There has to be a mind and body connection."

Simmons believes that the more you educate yourself on what you put into your body and exercise regularly, the healthier you will become. That means all meals must reflect the four basic food groups—and the less meat, processed food and food with additives, the better.

But developing a healthy diet can be difficult. "I've had many people ask me what types of foods I should eat, or what meals to prepare," Simmons says. "So I created the Group Plus nutrition system to give our customers a guide and the education that they need to eat good, healthy food on a daily basis."

The ultimate achievement is developing the right diet and exercise plan—and then sticking to it.

"At Phitness Plus our goal is to also make exercise a part of your daily routine. We do that by helping you to change the way that all of your muscles perform all over your body, not just a particular area. It's good for you not only physically, but mentally as well. That way, it becomes part of who you are, every day, all year round."

Photo by Lesia Witkowsky.

Derrell Connor hosts "Outreach" on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA, pens a column for Channel3000 and freelances for Madison Magazine.

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