We recently had the chance to speak with PGA Tour member Ian Poulter. The 36-year-old Englishman is a one-time winner on the Tour (the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship) and a 15-time winner worldwide.
Poulter has a unique personality and style. His willingness to interact with fans has resulted in his Twitter account, @IanJamesPoulter, having nearly as many followers (1.25 million) as Tiger Woods' account (1.88 million). Poulter also owns a clothing label, IJP Design.
During a recent media event sponsored by Oakley Golf, we spoke with Poulter about his clothing line and training regimen.
STACK: What sorts of workouts do you perform to stay in shape during the season?
Ian Poulter: I've worked harder in the past five months than I ever have worked. It wasn't in my background, being an assistant golf pro. Working in the pro shop 10, 11 hours a day is not conducive to spending time at the gym and training your body to be fit. I guess over the years that's changed. It's become apparent, certainly in the last five years, that everyone is training more. So, with that in mind, I'm doing more work than I ever have.
In the off-season, I do lift weights. I go through a testing procedure to see where my body is at, to see where we feel we can strengthen, what areas are weaker than others. From that, we change the program according to [our desired results]. We change it again to view how the body is reacting to those kinds of weights. It's just trying to keep the whole body symmetrical.
STACK: What areas of your body have you focused on in the past six months?
IP: Legs, glutes, shoulders. I've had tiny, little—not injuries, but—things along the way. I guess it's trying to strengthen those areas to make sure they don't come back and affect me further down the line.
VO2 Max, I tested that two months ago. I've got another test in two weeks time, so I'll be interested to see the work I've done in the last couple months, to see if that's changed in any way, shape or form. My water-salient count needs to be up more versus what it was two months ago. So, I'm taking more water. The water level in my body is slightly lower than what we need it to be. I've got to get my body used to drinking more water.
STACK: Is that during your golf rounds or throughout the whole day?
IP: The whole day. It's just for your body to be able to be slightly heavier but more hydrated. There are little bits and pieces we've been testing.
STACK: Overuse injuries must always be a concern, especially for golfers. And particularly in your shoulder because of all the shots you're hitting every day.
IP: That's why most guys generally [lift weights] in the off-season. When it gets into season, it's just maintaining exactly what it is they've tried to build up in that off-season. If you get that couple-week window or three-week window, you can get some good work in that time. Often, we don't get that three-week window. It's two weeks. There's a fine balance of pushing yourself too hard, therefore dropping your immune system and then feeling ill.
STACK: You seem to have been interested in fashion most of your life. What influence has Oakley had on your viewpoint of fashion?
IP: In terms of fashion, as an eyewear section, Oakley does change every year. They come out with new stuff to keep testing the boundaries of whatever it is they're pushing to make them as good as they possibly can.
What I think has changed from a fashion standpoint is giving the customer options to choose whatever colorway he wants. If he wants orange and bright yellow, then he can get orange and bright yellow. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's an option.
STACK: Why do you think more players don't wear shades when they play?
IP: Probably because they haven't tried it enough and they haven't got comfortable in [them].
STACK: Is it stubbornness to not want to try them more?
IP: Probably. If they've had success without them and they feel that if they put them on ... it's going to change that success. [Wearing sunglasses] should benefit [golfers]. Your eyes will be more relaxed in bright sunlight. Therefore you have less stress on your eyes at the end of the day. [And the shades are] obviously UV-protected.
STACK: Why did you start wearing shades?
IP: I used to wear contact lenses, so for me, if I ever get sand in my eye or something like that, then it's an issue. And to have protection on your eyes anyway—we're in the sun more often than not. To have that protection, to me, was a huge bonus.
STACK: Do you design some of the products in your clothing line?
IP: Yeah, I had a hand in the early stages and development of the IJP Design stuff. We're at a stage now where I have a design team, and they go ahead and do the design work. I don't need to do any of that kind of stuff. They're busy enough. I'm busy enough. I'll let them do what they're qualified to do, and I'll have a look in to make sure that I'm happy with everything they're doing.
Kyle Stack is a New York-based writer/reporter who covers health, technology, business and media in sports. He also writes for SLAM, Wired and ESPN. His work can be found at kylestack.com.
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