Sport Rugby

Friday 6 December 2019

'I eat 6,000 calories on the day after a game' - Donncha O'Callaghan on being told to alter his diet after leaving Munster

Donncha O'Callaghan
Donncha O'Callaghan Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former Munster and Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan has revealed how he has had to tailor his weight and body fat to playing in the Aviva Premiership.

The Worcester Warriors second row said he was asked to put on extra poundage when he made the move across the Irish Sea.

Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk, the 38-year-old disclosed how he had to change his preparations.

"Playing front five in the Premiership, it's all about scrum weight so they would be delighted with you if you downed a tin of roses or whatever it is the day before a match. Not for me, I'm too vain for that," he said.

"My weight with Munster was 113-114kg and body fat in around 10pc but when I went over they told me they wanted me in around 118-120kg and body fat can easily go up to 14-15pc.

"It's all about weight in the end, they're not too bothered by it. Be it fat, be it muscle have it on you.

"I don't agree with that, I don't think it's right, it's not for me.

"I like being lean. I think it keeps me on the top of the ground.

"I'll just never forget Paul Darbyshire our fitness adviser and he was like, 'you just can't carry a bad pound' and I totally agree with that."

O'Callaghan is not as strict on his diet as he'd like to be.

"I'm in around 116kg and I'm a bit looser with my nutrition than I'd like to be. (My body fat) last time was about 11pc," he added.

"On a working day (I'm consuming) 3,500 calories, the day after a match it's 6,000 which is a massive amount.

"I'd like to get it from food, I think it's the best way of it but that amount you just can't do it. You have to take supplements, you have to take shakes.

"It's not my preferred option.

"There was a time when I wasn't really eating food, I had gone through everything but food's best. Your body just feels right. I notice a massive difference.

"Over-use of supplements is not for me."

O'Callaghan's former Munster teammate Keith Wood divulged that he was at his heaviest during the 1997 Lions Tour of South Africa.

"My heaviest playing weight was 113kg. Donncha is a much bigger man than I. On the Lions was when I was at my heaviest. I was 19-20pc body fat," he said,

"That was part and parcel of it. It's funny when you think of nutrition and how it has changed.

"We were eating 5,000-5,500 calories a day, mostly pasta, which doesn't do anything for anybody... that amount of it.

"My best playing weight was 107kg and my lowest was 102kg, that was the lightest I played international rugby at.

"The only matches I finished at 113kg... I played an entire season at that. I didn't finish one international apart from the two Lions games in 1997.

"I couldn't finish an international for Ireland, I was shot to hell. With 10-15 minutes to go I was gone."

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