Victor Cruz is a wide receiver for the New York Giants and really, really good-looking. Maybe you’ve witnessed one of his trademark touchdown salsa dances, a ritual, he says, that was inspired by his late grandmother. In addition to being a 28-year-old Super Bowl champion, he’s the spokesman for Hugo Boss colognes, so he always smells like sexy man musk. The Cut caught up with Cruz just before the football season began to talk about his fitness routine, his favorite candle scents, and that time his daughter found his gummy-bear stash.
How I start my day: Usually my daughter wakes me up by jumping on my face around 6:30 or 7 a.m. I’m an early riser, so whether I am doing something at noon or 8 a.m., I’m always up at 7 a.m. If I have nothing to do, I’ll crawl back in bed for another hour or two, but for the most part, my body is just awake. I go take a shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, put astringent, moisturizer, and cologne on, and after I put on lotion and my clothes, I’m ready to start my day. Depending on how late I’m running, I may just eat a bowl of Raisin Bran or it might be a full-fledged eggs, bacon, toast kind of thing.
How I like to sweat: To be at my peak performance I do a ton of different things. Mondays are usually an upper-body day, so I do dumbbell bench presses with 80-pound dumbbells. I also do bicep curls for my arms and shrugs for my shoulders. I do some type of core workout every single day. Tuesdays are my my lower-body day, so I do squats, lunges, single-leg squats, box jumps, a ton of different things. I do weighted RDLs [Romanian Deadlifts], things like that. Wednesday is a day off to let my body recover. Thursday is upper body again and Friday is lower body. Saturday and Sunday during the off-season I rest, and then Monday I start all over again. That’s the off-season workout program. In season, we work out twice a week. You don’t want to be too tight or too stiff once game time comes around. I still do yoga now and then. Yoga’s great; it’s a good way to keep your muscles limber and fluid. Once your muscles get tight, that’s when injuries occur.
Wellness means to me: You’re just taking care of yourself in all facets, whether it’s eating right, being fit, taking a walk, or waking up early to get your full meals in. I think wellness just entails everything that involves you being healthy.
How wellness has changed for me: Wellness for me, when I was younger, was eating candy or eating French fries. I thought that was wellness because it made me feel good. But as I got more into sports and understanding how my body works, that’s when the healthier foods came about and that’s when I realized that wellness is actually being fit and being healthy.
My biggest wellness struggle is: Obviously the temptation. Playing in New York City, you get invited to a lot of events, a lot of dinner parties and things like that, and you want to maintain your diet and regimen. But it’s hard when you have desserts in front of you when you’re out and all of these different treats and cakes. It’s hard to say no to those.
How I eat when I’m alone: Gummy bears. They’re kind of secretly stashed all over the house — hopefully no one finds them. Although I saw my daughter one day chewing something and I was like, “What are you eating?” She was like, Nothing. And again I said, “What are you eating?” and she opened her mouth and there were three gummy bears in there. So I guess she found my stash. But gummy bears are definitely my guilty pleasure. Once you have one or two, you got to keep eating them. And then after a while, you get nauseous and have to put them down.
My wellness shortcut is: Protein shakes. When you live a lifestyle where you’re always on the go, you’re not always able to get those full meals with broccoli, grains, proteins, and stuff like that. The best shortcut for me is having a protein drink.
My wellness advice is: Be active. You don’t have to go to the gym and do 100 reps on the bench press. Whether it’s taking a jog around the block or walking your dog for a mile, be active, be fit, do something that keeps you healthy every day. That can go a long way in life. My grandparents lived until they were 80, 85 years old and they took a walk every single day. It works!
How I like to smell: I wear cologne pretty much every day. Even if I’m going to practice with a bunch of guys, I kind of just put one spray on because even though I know I’m going to sweat it out, I’ll be able to smell it on my clothes when I put them back on. I also wear cologne during game day. It’s become such a habit that I put it on before I head over to the stadium. Bottled Intense is my favorite. It stays and has a great scent. It’s strong and masculine, and whenever you step into a room, people can smell it.
How I like my house to smell: In my house, every room has a huge wicker candle and they’re all lit. I want to walk into different rooms and get different scents. It keeps me up and my senses aware. I have small candles in the bathroom and big candles in the living room, sitting room, and dining room. It depends on which room, but when I first walk in, I love a good smoky, fiery, woody scent, especially with fall coming around. It gives you that homey kind of feel. It makes you feel like you can grab a blanket and sit down somewhere and watch TV. In my bathroom, I like a floral, brighter scent, so when you’re taking a bath or shower, when you get out, it smells refreshing and you feel good while you put your clothes and lotion on.
This interview has been edited and condensed.