13-Year NFL Vet Brandon Marshall Spills All On His New Health & Wellness Venture, House Of Athlete

Brandon MarshallPhoto Credit: Will Stitt

It’s been two years since Brandon Marshall retired from the NFL after 13 years playing pro football that included a record 21 receptions in a game and becoming one of only six players in NFL history to catch at least 100 passes in three consecutive seasons. But just because he’s no longer on the gridiron doesn’t mean that the 36-year-old has given up on the health and wellness of his NFL heyday. Quite the opposite, in fact. His personal physical, mental and spiritual wellness manifested into the House of Athlete, a uniquely positioned lifestyle wellness brand that will help people understand what it means to be a modern-day athlete. Here, he speaks to Haute Living about his new business venture.

Brandon MarshallPhoto Credit: Will Stitt

So let’s talk about House of Athlete and what inspired you to start it.

It all goes back to my love and passion and purpose around mental health. There’s a lot of people walking around unhealthy and just trying to find a way to talk about this and will impact as many people as possible. When you think about mental health, it’s so clinical and so dry and then when you talk about health and wellness, people just want to get in shape take care of themselves. My passion comes from my time in McLean Hospital. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder back in 2011. I spent three months in an outpatient program diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, the best way to describe it was emotional disorder. So I had to sit in group therapy for three months where the dialectical behavior therapy, self-assessment therapy, mentalization therapy and I had to learn those skills and tools just to cope. But what made my stay so successful is that every day I was working out, I was tracking my macronutrients. I was supplementing. It was a whole holistic lifestyle, and that’s what house of that athlete is is like, how do we use the athletic performance world to help GenPop just be better.

What do you think people don’t really understand about being a modern athlete?

I love that you said modern athlete. Like, you know, when you think about just an athlete, you think about someone who’s physically gifted, you know, their bodies are amazing. They do amazing things, they’re fast, they’re strong, they’re agile. But the modern athlete — people like LeBron James — is actually telling us like look you could be more, you know, health is important, not just for your sport but long-term. Are you an artist? Are you an entrepreneur? Do you love tech? What do you love? Do you want to talk about politics? So the modern athlete to me is is a world of people that is more dynamic and know who they are and are using health and wellness to continue to optimize exactly what that is. So for me, you know right now I transitioned from a 13-year NFL veteran to now I’m a full-blown entrepreneur and talent on a TV show. So me taking care of myself makes me better at that. So I think that people can learn from the modern athlete.

Can you walk me what House of Athlete does for the modern athlete?

So for me, I look at, ‘How do I help?’ and again, it goes back to mental health. My goal is to help people optimize their performance optimize their health and it needs to be a holistic approach. That’s what house of athlete is. All I did is took my 13 years of playing in the National Football League and infused it into this concept. When I walked into the New York Giants and New York Jets facility, I had everything there for me. All the guesswork was taken out of it for me.How to get in shape, how to eat better, mentally how to perform better. I’m stressed right now, my relationships suck, you know, I’m in a slump right now. What do I do? Everything was there for me and that’s what I believe we need moving forward when it comes to health and wellness,  is a place that has everything integrated. So that’s what House of Athlete is. You can come in, you workout, we help you track your macronutrients, teach you what a healthy veggie carb is, etc. etc. Supplementing. We have mental health practitioners on site. So it’s a cool boutique fitness vibe, but it’s so much more integrated. You know, we’re taking on what Barry’s Bootcamp took on years ago and Orange Theory and SoulCycle, you know, we’re going to be the first to scale athletic performance for the Gen-Pop.

And you’re expanding? Because right now you’re in Florida and I think I saw you’re going to a bunch of other cities. Tell me about that.

Yeah, we’ll go to the biggest economies in the world. We feel that we have an opportunity to be global, open up forty three locations. We’re talking about Paris, London, Dubai. We’re going to start here domestically in South Florida, LA, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Houston Dallas; we’re starting with the warm weather places because that’s where the professional athletes train. That’s also where we started training athletes back in the day when I was playing for the Miami Dolphins, so we feel like we’ve got a win on the field first. So we’ll open up in LA, we’ll open up Dallas, Houston, South Florida first and then we’ll start scaling from there because we have to have the professional athlete adopt this lifestyle. So then the story is just that much more organic.

Has Covid kind of thwarted your expansion plans a little bit as you’re trying to roll out?

No, not at all. Yeah, I mean for me right now, we’re all talking about health and wellness for the very first time — like the entire world is talking about the same thing — and more people are more conscious now and educated. So for us, we look at it as an opportunity to be in the perfect position come post-Covid to be opening up facilities, to be launching new products, to digitally supplement. We feel like we have an answer to a lot of people’s problems when it comes to how do I just feel better? How do I increase my energy? How do I create a better mood? We feel like we have the answer and we’re excited about launching.

House of Athlete -Photo Credit: Seamus Payne

Do you feel better now knowing all the things that you know, and all the things you’ve learned and then you did while you’re playing in the NFL?

Yeah, I mean at this a journey for all of us. Everybody’s health journey is different. And for me, I was paid to take care of myself. Then there became a point halfway through my career where I was like, I literally told myself, ‘When I’m done playing ball, I’m just going to eat as much as I want. I’m not going to work out. I’m just going to enjoy life.’ And then I start reading more and then I started watching documentaries like, ‘Oh wow, like if I don’t eat right continue to eat right if I don’t continue to take care of myself — I don’t have to do anything crazy, but I just need to move consistently — then I could potentially be hit with more sickness, more disease, loss of energy and that’s not what I want. So I just think I’m still learning. We all are, you know, there’s so much more to learn about the brain, the mind. But physically, we all need to find that thing that works for us and do it. You know, we need to be under resistance. So weight training is critical. Mobility is critical, whether you’re doing yoga or FRC. And then obviously cardio — we’ve got to take care of our heart. We have to move and we need to do that consistently, every single week.

You didn’t have that moment at all where you were like, ‘I’m giving myself two weeks. I’m just going to sit on the couch. I’m going to eat tubs of ice cream and loads of brownies.’You didn’t do that at all?

No, I didn’t.  But here’s the thing, there are so many trends and fads in dieting and working out. There are people who literally launch companies like hula hoop fitness and crazy diets that you can follow. For me, I believe in the 80/20 rule, like, I know what a healthy carb is, a healthy veggie, a healthy fat, a healthy protein is and pretty much 80% of my time, I’m eating right and 20% of the time whether that’s on the weekend or week day, where I’m like, ‘Yeah, I want some ice cream.’ I’m not one of those guys that’s like, ‘No, you can never have anything bad.’ I think you just need to be educated — you need to be informed — but for the most part do the right things.

We talked a little bit about the modern athlete and what they need to be well, so in your opinion, who are you most impressed with that’s on the field today?

Yeah, I think you got to start with the the two biggest sports in America and it two biggest athletes, and that’s LeBron James — how he takes care of take care of his body, how he continues to perform at a high level at 36. Tom Brady, who is 42 years of age. I mean, he’s like a dinosaur in the National Football League. Some guys were you know, when he was a rookie there were some guys who weren’t even born yet. So Tom Brady he takes care of himself, he eats right, he sleeps right, his mindset is healthy.It’s a battle every single day. So we’ve got to start with those two guys, but there’s there’s many more that do a great job as well. Russell Wilson‘s another. He spends a million dollars on his body every single year. Some people are like, ‘Wow, that’s ridiculous.’ But I would say this: If you invest a million dollars and you get an RoI or 4550, would you take it?

What are you most grateful for right now at this moment in time?

2020: Racial tensions soaring. Global pandemic. We lost so many lives, so many people, so I’m most grateful for life. You know, just being here today, present, healthy. I think that’s the thing that sticks out the most for me.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life?

The greatest luxury in life is time. It really is. You know, I think we can highlight relationships. We can highlight different things that we love doing, but when you have time, you have time to lean into that. Life is precious. We all talk about it. So be present, be here now and that’s the most powerful place we can be in, is in the present moment.

House of Athlete -Photo Credit: Seamus Payne