Jay Schulz is in his 13th AFL season. That’s a lot of training sessions.
He has done hundreds of punishing pre-season running sessions, countless hours in the gym, and worked tirelessly to get the best out of himself across 177 games with Richmond and Port Adelaide.
The 30-year-old sharpshooter could be forgiven if the desire to push his body to the limit in the twilight of his career was waning.
“I love training, I love pushing my body to the limit. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that I have played my best when I have been able to train hard and get my body best prepared. ” – Jay schulz
But, as his career-best form over the past couple of seasons indicates, he’s more motivated than ever before.
“I love training, I love pushing my body to the limit,” Schulz told aflplayers.com.au.
“It’s been an education process for me. I have continually learned more about the lengths you can push yourself to in training.
“As you get older and train more you get to know the extremes you can go to.
“Since ‘Burgo’ (high performance manager Darren Burgess) started at Port Adelaide I have certainly continued that and enjoyed the science behind it.
“I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that I have played my best when I have been able to train hard and get my body best prepared.”
Schulz’s passion for fitness and football connections has led to the formation of The Final Goal – online training programs designed by elite athletes for every man.
Burgess has offered his expertise in the creation of the 12-week fitness programs for those struggling to find motivation, time or keen on a hefty gym membership.
Schulz’s former Richmond teammate Jake King is also involved.
“The most common thing I am asked (by fans), apart from what sort of bloke Kingy was, is training and fitness advice,” Schulz said.
“People are fascinated with the amount of training or the type of training elite footballers do.
“With the experience of myself, Kingy and Burgo we are able to offer that sort of training to everyday people.
“The best part about it is that it has been designed for everyone. We want the 17-year-old who have hopes of being drafted to follow the program and improve, or the tradie who has put on some weight and is keen to get active again.
“There are three training sessions per week and they run no longer than 40 minutes each. You only need three pieces of equipment to do them all. It’s about making it simple, easy to follow, and getting results.
“What we are able to do is teach the guys that if you train the right way, you don’t have to train for hours at a time.
“A lot of people struggle to find the time to get in the gym and do all the hours they think they need to. What we can do is show them that training smarter, not harder and longer, will get results.”
Schulz ran a pilot program for The Final Goal during his own pre-season campaign for six men of varying fitness levels.
Each of them followed a 12-week program under his watch.
“They all lost weight. One of them lost 11 kilograms and another lost eight kilos. But the most pleasing thing for me was when it came to the running test we do once a month over the plan, they all saw massive improvement.
“These guys weren’t elite athletes. They were ordinary blokes who were at different stages of life. They loved it because they ended up working better, sleeping better, and feeling better because they had more energy.”
Schulz, who has 24 goals from 10 games this year, is now focused on Port Adelaide’s much-lauded fitness helping them climb the ladder and back into premiership calculations.
“We’ve been a little bit inconsistent and had some key players out at different times but in the past fortnight we have run out games really well,” Schulz said.
“Friday night against the Cats will be another good test and we’re really looking forward to it.”