BSN Exclusive: Okko Outinen
Many football fans love watching an offensive shootout. They say that games with scores of 10-7 or 7-3 are “boring” to watch. Personally, I prefer to watch two good defenses battle it out on the gridiron. Standout defensive players make a game much more enjoyable for me, and I have had the absolute pleasure of talking to one such defensive standout over the past week, Mr. Okko Outinen.
Over 17 games overall this season, Outinen had 40 tackles, 16 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception. He played ice hockey all throughout his youth, so his football days didn’t begin until adulthood. However, his 6’4”, 260 pound frame lend him well to being a defensive end. Upon asking him what sets him apart from other potential pro players, he said the work ethic he brings to the table is unmatched. He believes that this is his biggest gift and will use it to compete with others vying for a spot on a pro roster.
Outinen is a 6-year veteran of both the Helsinki Roosters (Finland) and Tyresö Royal Crowns (Sweden) and also a Finnish League Champion and a Northern European Football League Champion. A large part of his success is due to a strong fitness and nutrition plan. Outinen, while playing in Sweden, was coached by former NFL defensive tackle Demetrin Veal. Veal introduced Outinen to a new workout plan that he sticks to even today: 3 gym workouts a week (explosion, speed strength and max strength) and 2 DL technique and conditioning workouts a week. He also works on speed/agility 2-3 times a week with a workout designed by the Helsinki Roosters physique coaches. With explosive workouts toward the beginning of the week and max strength towards the end, his overall goal is “to maintain and improve basic techniques and gain max strength, speed and explosiveness”. As for nutrition, he tries to eat a warm meal (pasta and minced meat, rice and chicken) or snack (yogurt, fruit, protein shake) every 2-3 hours and eats 3 warm meals a day. He intakes lots of carbs before and after workouts to stay efficient. He consumes 3-4 whey protein shakes a day on work days and 1 or 2 on recovery days. Even on recovery days, he maintains light activity to maintain an active recovery.
“…instead of naming certain places or positions where I want to be, the bigger goal is to not forget what got me this far and appreciate every opportunity I get”
While Mr. Outinen is an excellent football player, he is a well-educated man as well. He received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science while attending the University of Worcester, UK. Earlier this year, he graduated with his masters in Aquatic Sciences from the University of Helsinki. Already, he has worked alongside the Finnish Transport Safety Agency and the Finnish Environment Institute on the issue of non-indigenous aquatic organisms being transferred around the globe in the ballast water of ships. This is an issue that is certainly important to the world, and is an issue Mr. Outinen would certainly like to study in the future.
Overall, Mr. Outinen’s obvious goals are to land on a pro roster and to be as successful as he can in the sport of football. However, his biggest goal is one that I feel is often overlooked by upper-level athletes. He says that as long as he stays true to himself, life will take him in the right direction. In his own words, “…instead of naming certain places or positions where I want to be, the bigger goal is to not forget what got me this far and appreciate every opportunity I get”. I truly believe that whichever route Mr. Outinen decides to take in his life, he will be successful and will have that same drive to better himself that he found in football.