Doyle continues to preach sleep, nutrition to Hawkeyes

Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle plays a big role in the Hawkeyes’ performance on and off the field.


Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

Before the Iowa football team could take the field for 7-on-7 work, it had to endure the grind of daily workouts without seeing much time on the field.

That’s where a strength coach comes in.

In recent years, Doyle has done everything from helping wideout Ihmir Smith-Marsette reach an acceptable playing weight to getting offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs to go viral on Twitter by lifting a seemingly impossible amount of weight.

Many results fans see in Kinnick Stadium are a result of the work the players have done with Doyle in the weight room.

“Coach Ferentz and Brian Ferentz, they develop your skills on the field and everything, but you’re not going to have any of those if you don’t have a strong foundation, and Coach Doyle just builds that from the ground up,” Wirfs said. “He does some pretty special things.”

There’s much more to Doyle’s impact than building his players’ strength, however.That’s something quarterback Nate Stanley knows very well.

Last season, Stanley said, he got up to nine hours of sleep per night, impressive for any college student. But Stanley being a Big Ten quarterback with an NFL future makes it even more wild.

RELATED: DI Film Room: Breaking down Nate Stanley’s best game of 2018

Maybe that’s part of the reason Stanley has been a solid performer throughout his career in Iowa City. Doyle would certainly be proud.

“[Doyle’s] a big sleep guy,” Wirfs said. “And it’s kind of funny, you don’t really think about it. But say you get eight hours of sleep on a Monday night going into a Tuesday workout and you feel like a million bucks, and then you get five hours of sleep the next night. You wake up, your eyes are burning, and you’re tired, your body hurts. What happened? It’s that difference.

“He said something, I think it was [two weeks ago], and he’s like, ‘Think about one hour of sleep a night, seven extra hours of sleep a week and 30 extra hours of sleep a month.’ ”

The same goes for food. Wirfs said the players aren’t monitored on what it eats as much as its sleep numbers, but it’s still important.

Wirfs said that along with groceries at their houses and apartments, the players get suggested meals at different restaurants downtown.

The food each player chooses, then, plays an important role in workouts the next day.

“[Doyle] says we’re not eating for your taste buds, we’re eating to fuel your bodies, which makes sense,” Wirfs said. “You go out and eat McDonald’s one night, then you come to work out the next day, you’re going to feel pretty bad. But you eat a grilled chicken salad, and you feel pretty good.”

That leaves plenty to focus on before the Hawkeyes take the field. And if things go well, Iowa could have more success on the field, thanks to its off-field habits.