CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- He's transformed himself from one of football's elite prospects into a perennial All-Pro in fewer than five seasons in the NFL.
Kuechly's first tip? Skip the Pre-Party.
"The evening before Thanksgiving is known as a time for getting together with old friends, and celebrating the holiday – and let's face it, things can get pretty rowdy," Kuechly said. "If you really want to be in top condition for the next day, pack it in early so you're ready to dominate the next day. A good night's sleep is essential."
Kuechly has 63 tackles, an interception, and two sacks in nine games this season for the 3-6 Panthers. He has been chosen as an All-Pro for three consecutive years.
He also suggested that Turkey Bowl athletes "fuel up" before the big game.
"Giving your body lean, clean fuel is always important, but particularly so when you're gearing up for a big game," Kuechly said. "Try loading up on healthy complex carbs like sweet potatoes and whole grain breads. For protein, stick to turkey, chicken, fish and lean cuts of beef. Protein Shakes are great as well, just make sure that you're choosing a lean, clean source."
"My favorite is Eat the Bear," said Kuechly, who has an ownership stake in the Charlotte, NC. based supplement company. "Their ingredients are lean and clean, plus they come in some awesome flavors like Ice Cream Sandwich and Cinnamon Bun."
Lastly, Kuechly suggested that you need to stretch and warm-up, be ready to play, and enjoy the postgame festivities.
"This may sound simple, but I can't stress how important it is to take 10-15 minutes to stretch your muscles, and warm up your body," Kuechly said. "Jumping right into the game without doing so can lead to injuries, and it's hard to become the MVP when you're sidelined on the bench."
"Go into the game with a few tricks up your sleeve. Some of the plays I recommend are the "hook and ladder" and the "flea flicker. These will help lead your team to victory!"
"Now that you've laid it all on the line and hopefully not pulled a muscle or two, it's time to settle in with friends and family, watch football, enjoy a great feast, and be thankful for all that's good in your life."
The Panthers battle the New Orleans Saints at 8:25 p.m. Thursday at Bank of America Stadium.
Kuechly has been somewhat hampered by a groin injury this season, but has yet to miss a game in his NFL career. The 25-year-old was the 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and won the 2014 Butkus Award.