A professional rugby player puts his body through three to four hours of intensive training during the day, combined with skills and player development.
So to keep sharp, the team need to eat. And eat a lot.
The Blues are no exception, but team nutritionist Dave Shaw says there are methods to the eating madness.
It’s about keeping the body fuelled with the right nutrients for training and games, says Shaw.
“The most important things are recovery and preparation,” says Dave. “This is essentially based on getting the right amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fluid at the right times.”
Which means all of the players are encouraged to choose the right foods and portion sizes to match their training load. To help achieve this, food is always on hand, from breakfast to post-workout recovery shakes and lunches.
The team eat breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner together, which means meal times are as much about recovery as they are about community.
Each player is given food guidelines from Dave based on their needs, whether it’s for weight management, preparing for games or general health. The intention is to give the players a sense of responsibility when it comes to these shared meals and choosing what to eat.
“It’s very social, but we make sure everybody is educated so they know how to make the right decisions,” he said.
As a result, the team have been able to enjoy healthy and tasty meals before and after training. The team’s favourite? “Probably roast chicken. They’ve been going through 16 chickens at lunch.”
Typical training day diet:
2-3 pieces of toast
Breakfast shake with milk and a combination of either fruit, protein, bananas and nuts.
A meat, could be ham, chicken, or steak. Depending on what day
1-2 carbohydrate options ñ pasta salad, potato salad or bread
Salad with green leaf and anything that’s in season
Approx 300g of meat/chicken/fish
1-2 serves of carbohydrate ñ pasta, brown rice, potatoes, pita bread etc.
Plenty of vegetables ñ the players can eat as much as they want
Ice cream, yoghurt, fruit
The team typically have 2-3 snacks each day. The snacks tend to involve food that provides a combination of protein, carbohydrate and fluid – flavoured milk for example. Also things like fruit, nuts and muesli bars. Ice blocks also go down a treat.