We sat down with Junior Turner, a defensive linesman for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. The Toronto native has called Calgary home for over seven seasons.

At WATCH IT! we say “time matters more.” As a defensive linesman, how is timing important in your position?

While playing defensive line, timing is an essential part of what I do. I have an internal clock in my head at all times. I know I only have a few seconds to get to the quarterback on the opposing team or it smells trouble for ours. I and my teammates know we have to execute certain techniques and assignments on the field in a matter of seconds. Our day-to-day is all about time: How can we squeeze every second to maximize our time together on the field?

We know living an active, clean lifestyle is important to you. What are your favourite workouts? How do you stay in such great shape? What’s your favourite cheat meal?

I love to cook! In my head I believe I’m a wonderful chef and the best on the team. In my particular field of work, having a layout of my meals for the week is essential. I make my meals according to the workload each day, making sure I get the required amount of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Each individual varies in the requirements to fuel their bodies. When I do get a chance to have a cheat meal, it is always oxtail with rice and peas—a Jamaican dish.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve leaned towards more full-body dynamic workouts instead of isolated-area workouts. I enjoy yoga more than lifting weights—it’s become a passion of mine. You have to try various things to continue to challenge your body, for it adapts quicker than you know. Also, there is no substitute for water!

You support a lot of great causes, such as diabetes awareness and PinkPower. Can you tell us what led you to be a spokesperson for those causes?

The PinkPower campaign really touches home because my mother is a breast cancer survivor. Being part of that campaign has been just completely awesome. It’s helped me interact with so many people from various walks of life. Allowed me to understand that physically in certain moments I may not be able to help, but taking that time to share my mother’s story and how it affected me can have a profound impact on someone going through the battle themselves. It allowed my mother and I to become closer and for me to understand her feelings more in depth. As for diabetes awareness, I thought it would be something great to be involved with. I enjoy eating healthy and staying active, so it was the perfect way to use my platform to help bring awareness to many. Especially in children, helping promote living an active lifestyle and making the right health choices. What we put into our bodies is what we get out of our bodies.

You’re originally from Toronto. How difficult is it to be away from family and friends? How do you make up the lost time when you’re home?

During the football season, it can be tough to be away from your family. But that’s what’s beautiful about football—we eventually become a family within the team. We spend so many hours together every single day.

You’ve been with the Calgary Stampeders since 2011, and you’re celebrating your 100th career regular-season game. Congratulations—that’s a big milestone! What are some of your favourite memories with the team?

To be honest I had zero idea that my 100th game is coming up. Thanks for telling me! I’m honoured to be a Calgary Stampeder, especially for these many years. The organization has played a huge role in my maturation of a young boy into a man over the years, and I’m forever grateful. My favourite memory by far was winning the Grey Cup in 2014!

Do you recall a time you felt like giving up? How did you overcome it?

In battling with surgeries, I wouldn’t say there was a time where I wanted to give up, but I had the internal question, “Will I ever be me again?” If you meet my mother, you’re realize that giving up isn’t an option for me. Even now that I’m 30, she still believes she is in charge of me.

You recently turned 30? Happy birthday! Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years in your football career? Do you have any life goals you wish to accomplish before 40?

Gracias, gracias. I did recently turn 30. In the next couple of years I hope to get a couple more Grey Cups. I enjoy coaching little children, so who knows? That may be an option, but as of now I plan to go into nursing after my playing career. If time works in my favour, I would love to go back to school and obtain a psychology degree. I’m fascinated with brain and behaviour.