*With the holiday season in full swing, San Francisco 49ers team captain and tight end Vernon Davis is keeping fit and focused and thinking about more than the usual holiday faire.

The DC native and eldest of seven siblings, who last season tied the NFL record for the most touch downs from a tight end, emanates a ferocity that makes him a force to be reckoned with on the field.

With only 3.5% body fat and a workout regimen that spans everything from daily weight lifting to a weekend session of Bikram Yoga in a heated room in excess of 100 degrees, Davis remains passionate about football and his team.

We recently caught up with Davis as he was preparing for Sunday’s (12-26-10) game against the St. Louis Rams. He shared his plans for the holidays, why he has a passion for painting, even gave us a peek at his self-portrait, and opened up about what matters most.

Vernon Davis' self portrait

1. With the football season in full swing, how do you stay fit?

I’m serious about staying in tip-top shape so I‘ve committed to very strict eating habits which is tough sometimes, but I made it happen by giving up some of my favorite foods.  I’ve also been eating a lot leaner and laying off some of the sugar.

2. What keeps you inspired in the game of football?

My love for the game.  I do it simply because I love it.  It’s who I am. My little brother Vontae who plays for the Dolphins also inspires me.  I’m really proud of the heart he brings to the game.

3. How do you plan to stay in shape during the holidays with all of the enticing foods?

We’re still in season so I have to stay on point with my regimen and keep myself in

check even during the holidays. I’ll allow myself to have a little of what I enjoy,

brownies are my all-time favorite, but I’m pretty good about not overdoing it on

the sweets and sticking to my plan.

4. What was your holiday splurge this year?

It’s always bananas shopping this time of the year, but I did manage to stop by the Gucci store and pick up a little something.  I also got some IPADS as gifts for a few people who’ve been good to me.

5. What was one of the best books you’ve read this year?

Of course my playbook is at the top of my reading list. I also enjoyed The 40 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Josst Elffers. I highly recommend it.

6. What are your plans for the off-season?

I’m still focused on the current season and our team ending on the best possible note.  I do however have plans to continue doing my art and hope to get some overseas traveling in too.

7. How did you get into painting? It seems like a unique pastime for a football player?

I was a criminal justice major at the University of Maryland and I took a painting class and discovered I really loved it.  I changed my major to fine arts and the rest is history.

8. Who are some of your favorite artists?

I have two favorite artists. I love the great masters, especially Michelangelo and I’m looking forward to traveling to Rome to see the Sistine Chapel one of these days.  I also love the work of the late, great Claude Clark. He was definitely the man. His work is amazing and moves me.

9. What are some of your favorite charities?

There is such a need out there, so I try to support different ones. I’m definitely going to continue my work with art and kids this summer including hosting the 2nd annual Vernon Davis Visual Arts Scholarship Fund and also awarding a check to the first scholarship winner. My brother Vontae and I also have some plans in the works to try to make a difference here in the states through The Davis Family Foundation which we started together to benefit the Arts, mothers and fathers battling addiction and to help children understand the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.  We’re also finalizing plans to travel to Africa in March with the non-profit organization Pros For Africa.  I‘m sure it’ll be a life changing experience and I’m really looking forward to helping out there in anyway I can. So be on the lookout for updates on that that real soon.

10. With Christmas only days away, how to you plan to spend it?

We have a game Christmas weekend, so I’ll split the day between working and having a little down time.  It’s always fun to be in Santa Claus mode for my three year-old son Jianni – seeing his face light up makes it all worthwhile.


Photo Credit: Michael Collopy