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How Do Rugby Players Spend Their Time off the Field?

Rugby has a reputation for being a brutal sport, and it is often considered to be one of the most dangerous sports in the world. For rugby players to perform their best — and avoid preventable injuries that might be caused by being in poor condition — players need to be in their best shape mentally and physically. And there’s a lot that goes into making sure that players can meet those demands. Below are a few of the ways that pro rugby players stay in their best shape for the game.

Physical Training

Like any professional sport, athletes need to be in peak physical shape to perform their best. Even though rugby players aren’t constantly moving on the field, they need to be able to quickly exert themselves and recover on the field — and then do that again a moment later. To keep fit, that means that they often have more than seven workouts per week, and sometimes as many as a dozen sessions. To be able to perform well, their physical training typically includes (at a minimum) aerobic workouts, interval training, circuit training, coordination training, strength training, weightlifting, and flexibility training. For example, many players will run, hit up the rowing machine, do yoga to improve their flexibility, and sprint.

Training the Mind

Rugby is not only hard on the body; it’s hard on the mind. It’s important for rugby players to train their mind so that they have the confidence and motivation to physically train harder and perform better. Some of the ways that rugby players can train and strengthen their mind are through positive thinking, big-picture thinking, and games and exercises that stimulate the mind.

When not training physically, many rugby players find that playing poker has a number of mental benefits on and off the field. Playing poker consistently and practicing strategy can help players to strengthen their minds, better read their opponents, and sharpen their reflexes. This will help them to make better decisions and automatic movements instinctively on the field. Additionally, because poker involves a lot of repetitive movements, it can help players to wind down after a grueling day while still indulging in their competitive side. Poker is also a great way for rugby players to work on their mental toughness. It can help them to improve their confidence and bring about the results they desire — no matter how impossible they might initially seem.

Adhering to a Strict, Healthy Lifestyle

It’s crucial that all pro athletes sleep well, stay hydrated, and eat a nutritious diet if they want to perform well. Pro rugby players typically follow a personalized diet based on their bodies’ size and needs. At the least, this includes a specific target calorie intake, protein intake, carbohydrate intake, fat intake, and nutritional supplements. As for what they eat each day, like most athletes, their diets are usually centered around protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Naturally, this will vary depending on the player. Many players also include snacks and protein shakes in their diet as a way to refuel when they need an energy boost. Players also typically avoid alcohol since it defeats the purpose of such a strict regimen. Lastly, it’s important that players get a good night sleep so that their body receives the rest and recovery it needs so they can continue to perform at their best.

Not so easy, is it? It’s not exactly something that anyone can just pick up and do, short term or long term. Training and eating like a pro rugby player is intense, and it will often leave even a reasonably athletic person exhausted, mentally drained, and possibly injured. Not only is rugby one of the most dangerous sports in the world, but it’s also a really difficult sport to get in shape for and play. So, it’s probably best to leave this regimen to the pros.

This article was brought to you by The Rugby Paper, the UK's best-selling rugby publication, on-sale every Sunday.
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