Time and timing are huge in the life of a pro athlete, and when you've had a career as impressive and extensive as Aaron Rodgers has, the words themselves can mean so many things. There's the appreciation of sustaining success for nearly two decades. There's the understanding of synchronicities between yourself and your teammates. There's the challenge of making the most of opportunities, coming up big when the numbers on the clock are small.

Considering some of the accolades Rodgers has racked up over the course of his 18-year NFL career, it's safe to say he has risen to that challenge. After all, we’re talking about a Super Bowl champ and Super Bowl MVP, four-time league MVP, 10-time Pro Bowler and four-time NFL passer rating leader — not to mention the king of epic Hail Mary heaves. Perhaps even more remarkable, he's won two of those MVP awards past the age of 35, a time when most QBs not named Tom Brady are pretty close to hanging it up.

That’s no accident: Through regular maintenance, both physical and mental, as well as in-season and offseason workouts, the 38-year-old QB has found a way to live in harmony with the ticking clock. And as the team charges heavily into the playoff picture after a miraculous midseason turnaround, now’s not the time to bet against #12.

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I was fortunate enough to sit down with Rodgers in Green Bay, Wisconsin to discuss timing, training, transcendental meditation and more, thanks to his watch sponsor, Zenith. It's fitting that the two team up, as both Rodgers and the Zenith brand have enjoyed crowd-pleasing "careers."

"When [Rodgers] came to Switzerland in June, I was amazed by how much time he spent in the workshop," says Zenith CEO Julien Tornare. "He talked to everyone, he wanted to understand how we do the polishing, the history, why it happened like that ... He gave us a huge amount of time over a few days, and that, for me, is a successful partnership."

With my questions dialed in, I was eager to catch up with the Packers legend. So, as the team prepares for a huge Sunday night matchup against the Detroit Lions, here are the highlights of our wide-ranging chat.

Editor's Note: Time plays a role in all our lives, but it can be threatened in an instant. Our thoughts and prayers are with Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin, his family and the entire football community in these unprecedented times.

aaron rodgers in a photo studio wearing all black and a zenith watch

Starting broadly, what is your relationship with timing and how does it play into your life, both from an on-field perspective as well the day-to-day?

I do actually care about timing quite a lot. It’s an interesting question because timing has a lot of different meanings. Obviously, the offense I grew up in — the West Coast Offense — is predicated on timing. Everything is about timing and rhythm and balance and accuracy in order to be efficient.

"Everything is about timing and rhythm and balance and accuracy in order to be efficient."

Timing, on a broader scale, is fascinating to me, because if you trust the universal signs and synchronicities, then divine timing is always going to work out, as it should.

It’s very difficult to trust that at times, because I think we all want to control our destiny and fate and have things happen exactly when we want them to happen, as we should, but a majority of the time, when we look back on our life, we can see that either things weren’t aligned or the divine timing wasn’t right in those moments for things to come together.

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aaron rodgers at zenith manufacturer

You toured the Zenith facilities in Switzerland this past June. What was the most interesting part, and do you think you’d ever try your own hand at watchmaking?

I had a little dose of it, and the answer is, “No.” But, so many of the jobs that go into it are very similar each day. Each watch is intricately made and unique, but there is kind of a standard [to] the process of it that I really appreciate.

people watch making at the zenith watch factory

There’s an assembly line of people who all have their own job, basically. It might be one piece of this watch, or one specific thing, and they have to get that part right in order for the next person to time it up to all work in a synergy, much like a team where we all have to be on the same page. When that doesn’t happen, you get your ass whooped and in the watchmaking business, if you’re not synced up, you’re not going to have a uniquely excellent timepiece that can stand out from your competitors.

Which watch do you find yourself wearing most often?

Chronomaster Sport. I’m wearing a black face now; I have the white face as well. But, I went to London and I was a little discombobulated and I searched all the places I thought it would be, so I will have to re-search my house when I get back to make sure I find that thing because it’s usually my everyday watch.

aaron rodgers sitting on a stool wearing a zenith watch and holding a football

Not many people wear watches anymore, as we learned from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, “Yea, my cell phone has a clock on it, so I don't really need it.” But, it’s a classy thing to wear a watch and I enjoy wearing mine and getting a lot of compliments about it, too. I’ve been fortunate enough to gift some to my linemen as well over the past few years, and that’s a cool thing to do as well.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport


How important is the aspect of recovery and listening to your body, especially as you've progressed and maintained success throughout your extended career?

There’s two things that have allowed me to play my best as my career’s gone on and that’s recovery and diet. The correlation between diet and performance is very strong, and I didn’t realize that when I was a younger player. I ate whatever the hell I wanted and was able to kind of get away with it.

"As you get a little bit older, you realize how important sleep and rest and recovery is."

The older you get, you can’t do that. Same with recovery, I burned the candle at both ends. It was awesome when you were younger, but as you get a little bit older, you realize how important sleep and rest and recovery is.

Having a routine that allows me to get my body back each week is really, really important. That involves a number of modalities from cold plunge, hot tub, massage, Graston, cupping, dry needling, acupuncture — a lot of different things that I’ve kind of worked into my overall weekly recovery plan.

Is there one modality in particular that you specifically enjoy?

Therabody makes incredible massage guns, I love those, so I have the big version, the small version ... you’re laying on the couch and doing that to your legs and arms, that’s fantastic. And then, acupuncture, I really believe in acupuncture. It’s been around for thousands of years, and it has incredible firsthand accounts of healing and energy rejuvenation, cell rejuvenation, stabilization of hormones, sleep aid and I’ve had a couple incredible acupuncturists work on me over the years, It’s something that I really believe in.

How much does your workout routine change in-season as opposed to the offseason?

In-season, I have a routine of certain muscle groups that I work in certain weeks. It’s always core and shoulder stability — on my Tuesdays, especially — and squatting. Squatting changed my body completely, gave me increased flexibility and strength in some of those positions, gave my legs back really after a really bad injury in 2018 to my knee, so I’m thankful for that.

"In-season is all maintenance. Out of season is muscle building."

When it comes to offseason, it’s much heavier training than in-season — in-season is all maintenance. Out of season is muscle building, but in order to start that, I need to take a month to six weeks off to let my body rest and relax. In that time the last couple of years, I’ve paired that with an Ayurvedic cleanse. [It's] a total shift of your body composition, your gut lining and a reset for your body that has been really amazing for me the last two offseasons.

Maintenance is not only physical, but mental as well. Have you carried any practices into your in-season routine?

There’s two things that I’ve really worked into my daily routine that I take with me on game day. One is meditation and the other is breath work. So, I’ll do it before the game and on the sidelines, sometimes right before the game, sometimes before the first drive, sometimes before the two-minute drive. I like to do box breathing, that’s a way to kind of settle my body, calm my nerves, slow my heart rate. That’s a skill that I’ve been working on and cultivated over the years.

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I [also] recently got into transcendental meditation, which changed the entire game for me on meditation. For the longest time, I felt that I had a problem that I couldn’t quiet my mind, which is, actually, normal because you have 50,000 to 90,000 thoughts in any given day. But in TM, you embrace those thoughts, and the more you embrace those thoughts and give energy to those thoughts and let those thoughts actually dissipate, it’s been a really beautiful practice to cultivate and try and master, and something I do on game days as well.

Do you have a set of books that you’d recommend to any athlete or any fan that's interested in expanding their knowledge on mindfulness or cognitive function?

I mean, the book I had last week, How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan, is a fascinating one because it talks about not just mindfulness, but the use of psychedelics and the research behind it, which I think is really fascinating.

There’s other really good books about leadership. I like some of the older ones, like The Art of War. I think it's a fascinating book for any leader to read. That’s also in my book club. I don’t want to just pick from that but... I think those are two really good ones to get started.

There’s some good meditating books [as well] but to me, it’s more about the practice of it, finding a meditation style that works for you. It can be just as simple as going on YouTube or downloading a meditation app and repeating that.