How do you fuel one of the most intense exercise regimes in professional sport?
Leinster and Ireland rugby star Dave Kearney shares his secrets day on a plate.
How do you start your day?
I usually get up around 7.30am and have breakfast before I head out to training. It’s the most important meal of the day for me and normally comprises of porridge, eggs, some fruit and a coffee or two of course! If it’s a training free day, I might meet a few of the lads for breakfast around town.
Do you prep your meals fresh or freeze them on a Sunday?
I usually prepare all my food fresh. I can appreciate why people prepare in advance for the week, but I have time post-training to get organised and a lot of my meals are catered for with the team. So I really focus in on breakfast which needs little prep, and dinner which I cook at home in the evenings.
How many meals do you eat per day?
I would have four main meals, and snacks in between to keep energy levels up. It can differ on a match day, depending on the kick off time. If it's an evening kick-off I will eat breakfast, lunch, pre-match and then dinner post-match.
What would be your staple breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Breakfast - Eggs, avocado, bacon, fruit and coffee.
Lunch - Whatever is being served to the squad. Mostly it will be a mix of salad, meat and pasta.
Dinner – Meat or fish with lots of veg and salad. I like to barbeque too, so steaks are always on my list!
How often do you work out?
It varies by the day. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do two sessions - one on pitch and one in the gym. One session on a Friday, and on match day. I’d normally have ‘an active recovery session’ on a post-match day too. This is a typical match week schedule. I frequently have a physio, massage or pilates session too.
On days that you train, how does your diet differ?
There is generally no difference, matching calories in and out is the basic principle. The only difference happens on match day when I eat more carbohydrates. And then there is my day off; that’s when I get to have a cheat meal and some treats.
When you’re out for dinner, where do you frequent and what's your usual order?
I like to have brunch out on a down day, and maybe one evening a week. My current favourites are the The Butcher Grill in Ranelagh and I love the steaks in Featherblade. I like sushi too, it's quick and healthy.
What about takeaways?
Sushi is handy for takeout. If I'm treating myself, I love to get a pizza.
Are you completely opposed to sweet treats or do you allow yourself a cheat day?
Not at all! All in moderation I say. I do have a sweet tooth so a bit of dark chocolate won't kill anybody!
How much water do you drink and do you take any supplements?
A few litres a day, if on the field and I try to drink regularly when not on field. It's very important to stay hydrated, especially in the lead up to games.
What supplements do you take?
Cleanmarine Krill oil and a variety of protein via our nutritionist at Leinster and Ireland. When you're eating good foods, you don't need to rely on supplements as much.
Do you cook? If so, what's your signature meal?
BBQ is usually my ‘go to’ dish. Throw lots of meat on and a nice salad.
Does your diet differ for specific exercises, e.g. Are there specific meals for cardio days or weight days?
Not really. If I have had a heavy day’s training, maybe a long pitch session with fitness after, I can afford to have more carbs afterwards. Closer to games I also up my carb intake to boost my energy levels.
As a rugby player, what's the worst meal you can eat?
I'd say anything deep fat fried. So a big chipper wouldn't be ideal.
Are you sick of eating chicken breasts? How many do you eat in a day?
No, if I'd be sick of eating anything, it would be sweet potatoes. So I regularly vary sauces and recipes.
Dave Kearney is an ambassador for Cleanmarine men's supplements
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