Preparing for another road trip when you’re a front office executive for the National Football League team may seem like a monotonous task. Pressed shirts, ties that match the suits and polished shoes are the types of items that can be found in his luggage, but a gym bag and a printout of the local fitness centers in the destination city would seem like a rarity. But that is exactly what you would be carrying if you were Shy Anderson, the vice president of business operations with the Dallas Cowboys.
“I travel quite a bit— every other weekend— so before I leave, I look up the hotel I’m staying at online,” Anderson said. “If their workout room doesn’t look good, I find a few different gyms in that neighborhood. The first thing I do when I arrive is get my room key and go to the workout room. If it sucks, then I’ll hop in the car and know where to go.”
Anderson, 48, is also married to the daughter of Jerry Jones, the man who runs the show for “America’s Team.” They have three children, ages 10 to 18, and are quite the “Power Couple,” with Charlotte being the executive vice president of the Cowboys and accurately described by Anderson as “one of the most prolific women in all of sports.”
From the Field to the Gym
Football has always been one of Anderson’s passions and he was lucky enough to play for one of the best college coaches in history. “I was a wide receiver under Lou Holtz at the University of Arkansas, who was the greatest coach that I have ever known.” Anderson suffered a foot injury during his sophomore year and had to stop playing, which he recalls as being “one of the biggest regrets of my life.”
Athletics have always been a part of Anderson’s life, but it came from the field rather than the inside of a gym. “When we were growing up, it was all about playing sports,” he recalled. “I stayed in shape [that way]. When I was 30, I even competed in triathlons. But then I suffered a minor back injury and had to find an alternative to just playing the games to stay in shape.”
What may have seemed like a bad break to Anderson at the time ended up being what he needed to take that next step. He was forced to implement training into his schedule and he hasn’t looked back since.
Although his routine has changed over the years, it has been a steady part of his daily life. “I’ve advanced some since then,” Anderson commented. “I had to undergo a couple of shoulder surgeries from overtraining, but you get older and smarter and realize the proper way of training for you.”
Anderson has adopted circuit set training into his regimen and it has paid off for more than just him. A vacation last spring gave him the opportunity to share some of his knowledge with a group of friends who were also there. “We were away for four days and they joined me in the gym,” he said, “and now they’re in the best shape of their lives. It started hitting me— maybe I’m onto something.”
That was apparent to Brock Travis, a Tier 3 personal trainer at Equinox Gym in Highland Park, Texas. “Shy and I knew one another through a mutual friend,” he said. “He had a very good base for me to start with and didn’t have any bad habits.”