1. What does your training look like off-season compared to on-season?
I like to look at my year as split up into three stages, all having different goals: off-season, pre-season and in-season.
Off-season is when I have no team training commitments, so my goal here is to mentally refresh my mind and body. Each off season I try to have a new cultural experience, so this time around I visited Everest base camp in Nepal. It was really mentally and physically challenging but an awesome experience.
The pre-season is where the focus is on building our fitness levels back up so that we have a solid fitness base going in to the season proper. So here there’s a heavier focus on cardiovascular fitness and resistance training, whereas throughout the season the primary focus is maintenance of those pre-season gains and recovery from the main training stimulus, being the weekly game.
2. Does your diet change during season vs off-season?
My diet also splits up into these same three stages, and naturally the nutrition between the stages varies quite a bit because I’m meeting different goals. One thing that I try and keep consistent is my protein intake. For me, I try to have 1.5 times by body weight (about 160 grams of protein) which is why I eat a lot of Chobani – I’ll chuck it on my cereal in the morning or add it to my post workout smoothie.
The main change between my off and in seasons is my carbohydrate intake. Chobani FiT is perfect for the off and pre-season because of the no added sugar, whereas the regular Chobani is awesome for training and game days when I use the extra carbohydrates to replenish my energy reserves for the next session.
3. How do you recover post-match?
In the 20-minute window post-match I make sure to get a decent protein hit. The body is like a sponge, so I want to be giving it the right fuel to soak up after a game. We’re also really lucky at the club in the sense that we have incredible chefs that provide us with a post-game feed. These feeds are usually high in all of the essential macronutrients.
In terms of physical recovery, I’ve found that the longer you’re in the AFL, the more autonomy and trust the staff and coaches give you. So some of us might go in the spa and stretch, or some might go in the ice baths. Sometimes the best recovery is just getting a good night’s rest.
4. How do find a good balance between life and AFL?
I think it’s important to have a sustainable approach to everything, whether that’s with training, nutrition or just life. Keeping a balanced lifestyle helps to keep my mind fresh which helps me perform to the best of my ability, so I don’t get too caught up in the idea of restricting certain things like chocolate – everything is okay in moderation.
Sleep is another thing I really place value on for a healthy body and mind. There are so many benefits to your body when you have a good night’s sleep so it’s something I stay conscious about and try to get around 8-9 hours a night. I’m also currently studying a Health Science major in Anatomy and Physiology at University and have a set scheduled day that I can dedicate to my degree and personal development.