Skip to main content
Original Issue

Never Flagging

At 55 veteran official Ed Hochuli is so fit he could get away with horizontal stripes

ED HOCHULI is one of the most respected officials in the NFL, and not just because he has been in the league for 16 years and worked 15 playoff games and two Super Bowls. "You look at him and it looks like he needs to be on our side of the ball, or on defense," says Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. "He stands on the sidelines looking like one of the linebackers." The 6'1", 215-pound Hochuli was a linebacker, at UTEP from 1969 to '72, before beginning a career in law. (The married father of six is a partner in a Phoenix firm that specializes in civil litigation.) "I never had a great deal of athletic talent, but I worked hard at it," says Hochuli. "The NFL was not an option. I'm small and I'm slow." He is also very fit. Hochuli, who officiated college games for years before joining the NFL, has run 12 marathons. Though he's given up long-distance running because he found it too time consuming, he still does an hour of cardiovascular training (usually on a stair machine or treadmill) each day. Four days a week he lifts weights as well. "It's something I need to do as a release," Hochuli says. "Something that gets me through the day." Here's his routine.


Barbell flat bench (below)

• Three sets of 10 reps at 225 pounds or "pyramid" sets of 12 reps (185 pounds); 10 (205); eight (215); six (225); 12 (185)

• Ten sets of 10 at 205 pounds

Dumbbell flat bench

• Three sets of 10 reps, at 90 pounds each arm, or five sets of 12 (80 pounds); 10 (85); eight (90); six (95); 12 (75). "Then I'll do a burnout set [to failure] of incline flies" (35-pound dumbbells)

Incline press (right)

• Three sets of 10 reps (165-pound bar or 75-pound dumbbell)

• Dumbbell sets of 12 reps (70 pounds); 10 (75); eight (80); six (15); 12 (65)

Flies (cable machine)

• Three to five sets of 10 reps, facing machine pulling across his body at chest height. At number 9.

•Three to five sets of 10 reps pulling down from shoulder to his waist. At number 7.

Decline bench (dumbbells)

• Three sets of 10 (55 pounds)

"I end on the bench or incline-bench machine and do two burnout sets of 15-20 reps at 135 pounds"


Military bar press (seated)

• Three sets of 10 (165 pounds)

Military dumbbell press (seated)

• Three sets of 10 (70 pounds)

• Ten sets. Varying weight, varying reps. "I start at about 50 pounds, go up in five-pound increments to about 75, then work down in five-pound increments"

Lateral deltoid raises (dumbbells) Standing, hold weight at waist and, with elbows slightly bent, raise to shoulder height

• Three sets of 10 (30 pounds), or three drop-down (no rest) sets of 10 at 25, 20 and 15 pounds

Shoulder shrugs

• Three sets of 12 (90--100 pound dumbbells)

Chin-ups (shoulder-width grip)

• Three sets of 10


"I use machines, pulling to my chest at different angles."

Rows (right)

• Three sets of 10 (75 pounds)

Cable pull-downs (using a bar)

• Three sets of 10. (At number 12, the full stack, on the machine)



Close grip bench (with bar)

• Three sets of 10 reps (190 pounds)

Triceps curls

Lying on back, hold curlbar with a close grip, arms overhead; lower weight behind head

• Three sets of 10 (90 pounds)

"Then I do a variety of tricep curls at the cable machine [full stack]."


Bar curls

• Three sets of 10 reps (80 pounds)

Dumbbell curls

• Three sets of 10 (40 pounds)

Machine curls or hammer curls

• Three sets of 10 (35 pounds)

Concentration curls

• Three sets of 10 (25 pounds)

"On some days I will superset the arm workout, alternating between a biceps and triceps lift with no rest in between"


For breakfast I'll have instant oatmeal and then as a mid-morning snack, a banana. Lunch will be chicken salad or canned chicken and instant rice, and for dinner, three nights a week I have sushi. I love sushi. Three nights a week I have chicken noodle soup--I eat a lot of chicken because it's protein without too many calories. The soup is my own recipe, something I made up over the years. Once a week I'll have a big salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and broccoli.

I don't eat red meat, but I love snack food. I'll have Cheetos when I'm feeling sorry for myself. Cheetos and chocolate kisses are my weakness. The only supplement I take is whey protein. I have a protein drink with about 40 grams of protein, almost every day. On lifting days, I might have two.


photographs by nick cardillicchio