Picture football, remain calm: Yoga a part of MNF production crew’s fitness regimen

Thirty-three cameras? Check.
Eighteen replay machines? Check.
30,000 feet of cable? Check.

Forty yoga mats?

Yes, that list is correct. When ESPN’s Monday Night Football trucks arrived at LP Field in Nashville to prepare for tonight’s Pittsburgh Steelers-Tennessee Titans game (8:15 p.m. ET), the cargo included more than just television production equipment.

This season, MNF’s producer Jay Rothman and director Chip Dean launched a health and wellness initiative to help traveling crew members feel their best – mentally and physically – throughout the 20-week tour.

“The stress on our bodies and minds from week to week is grueling,” Rothman said. “The goal is to feel good, put ourselves in position to win, and be razor sharp at game time. What we eat, how we sleep, and how we take care of our bodies is critically important.”

To accomplish this goal, Rothman enlisted the help of experts Anita Barbero, from ESPN’s Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness team, and Carol Pandiscia, both of whom specialize in yoga and personal well-being.

In addition to facilitating exercise, stretching and meditation classes, Barbero and Pandiscia offer one-on-one workouts and prepare weekly wellness guides unique to each MNF city. Materials include lists of local gyms and nearby grocery stores and restaurants offering healthy food options.

“Like any football team, we, too, strive for tangible results. Our win column includes crew members embracing healthy mindsets, eating healthier snacks on site and learning how to work their bodies and rest their minds,” Pandiscia explains. “Some even say they think this program has done wonders for morale.”

Entering Week 11, the learnings and success stories continue.

“Wellness is possible on the road even with intense work/travel schedules,” Barbero said. “When leaders lead with real purpose and care and then commit 100 percent, things not only work – they soar. That is what is happening on MNF.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Learn more about the MNF production crew’s thoughts on their fitness by visiting the Front Row Facebook page.

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