"My “Y” will always be my loved ones, especially those who cannot be here today." ~Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State University

What's Your "Y"

Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State University

Give us a brief background of how your fitness/sport journey has evolved?

I learned how to be extremely self-motivated and resilient over the past year and half. Covid brought many challenged to collegiate athletics and because of that I’ve built my own garage gym from the ground up. I do workouts and lifts with our athletic trainers and then come back to my garage for rehab/prehab, and more work.

No excuses.

What (or who) has been your main source of motivation?

My motivation is my mother. She has had it tougher than most after losing my father in 2013. Everyday puts a smile on her face for her three boys.

Where do you find more motivation: doubters or supporters?

I found that the more you just act like yourself, people will either take you for your true form or distance themselves. As long as you are accomplishing the goals you set forth no one else’s opinion should matter.

What is the biggest mental challenge you've had to face in your sport and how have you conquered that?

My biggest mental challenge was overcoming my self-doubt. I came from a very small town in rural South Dakota and played 9-man football. My first year playing college football and adjusting to a new extremely competitive environment against guys that have been playing 11-man since peewee was mentally taxing. I almost lost my love for the game.

After fighting for each rep and prioritizing health and wellness I found myself as a starting tight end for a D1 FCS Powerhouse and national champion contenders.

What do you do to make sure you're physically and mentally prepared for competition?

To ensure game readiness I listen to our team’s mental strength coach about visualization and controlling what I can control on the field. Any bad play is a learning moment that you immediately must move on from.

Physically, I prioritize my hydration and macros before a game.

Eat to win.

Describe your recovery strategies. 

My recovery strategies are simple. Your typical 5-minute rollout after a lift, mobility/stretching before bed to ensure full body flexibility, and Team YOLKED supplementation post workout.

I eat a lot of lean meat and eggs daily to supplement as much protein into my diet as possible.

What's Your "Y"? What keeps you going and training as hard as you do?

My “Y” will always be my loved ones, especially those who cannot be here today.

As a 12-year-old I lost my father in a work-related incident and a few years later my mom was diagnosed with an extreme auto immune disease. As a 16/17 year old I was spending weeks at a time alone in our house, feeding myself every night, taking care of pets, and trying not to burn our home down all while being a 3 sport student athlete.

Where do you see yourself as an athlete in 5 years?

In five years I see myself still living an active lifestyle. If not in the NFL, then coaching and educating. I want to be a superintendent of schools while coaching basketball or football.

Favorite motivational song.

A song that will always pump me up is “Know Your Enemy” by Rage Against the Machine.