Egg white omelettes, coconut oil and snacking on nuts sounds more like a diet you'd expect from a supermodel than a strapping professional rugby player. But these are just the diet tips that England rugby ace Danny Cipriani swears by.
After letting him put us through our paces in a rugby-themed bootcamp organised by Groupon and Heart Research UK to raise awareness of heart health, we caught up for a chat about how he keeps fit and what we can learn from his diet and exercise regime.
Danny Cipriani gets Groupon bidder’s hearts beating in the bootcamp he ran to raise awareness and funds for national charity, Heart Research UK
1) Keeping exercise interesting: The key is to mix up your regime with an array of different exercises or sports you enjoy. “I probably go to the gym twice a day and then I’m on the field either doing running or boxing,” he explains.
Danny suggests going online to look up new kinds of exercises to keep things interesting. “Look up exercise clips and videos online and check out different exercises. It’s all about trial and error, so even if you’re not very inspired by what you’re doing at the moment, you could find something new online, try it out and love it.”
2) Healthy diet: As a professional athlete Danny follows a high protein diet to build and maintain muscle, which includes a daily dose of scrambled eggs, Brazil nuts, high energy bananas, protein shakes and fish oil tablets.
Despite not being professional athletes, there’s some good advice we can take from Danny’s diet, and apply to our own on a smaller scale. His post-workout meals, for example, are packed with protein, which helps repair muscle and keeps you feeling full so you don’t splurge on carbs.
“My meals usually consist of chicken, turkey, salmon, or steak in a protein sauce with a salad or vegetables such as broccoli or spinach," he says. "And the other portion of the meal will be sweet potatoes or long grain brown rice”.
3) Special occasion prep: Everybody has that impending special occasion that they’d like to drop a few pounds for fast. And standing next to the delectable Kelly Brook on the red carpet has to the best encouragement for looking trim.
Danny says he tones up for appearances by “dieting and trying to find the best meal plans”. He adds: “It’s always good to opt for foods like scrambled eggs, baked beans or granola, and if you really want to speed up the fat burning process eat some nuts in the morning as they're a good way to speed up your metabolism throughout the day.”
4) Motivation and balance: If the prospect of both eating like a rabbit and killing yourself in the gym for the rest of your life bores you to tears, find motivation in the fact that you don’t have to be so extreme.
Danny is very pragmatic about how us non-athletes can opt in and out of some of his strict regimes, advising: “If you don’t want to exercise too much then you’ll find that by just eating correctly, the weight will drop off of you."
Danny insists that sticking to a healthy diet doesn’t mean that you can’t ever enjoy your favourite foods again. He recommends setting yourself a weekly reward for all of your hard work. “Motivate yourself by eating cheap, healthy meals throughout the week, so that on a Sunday for example, you can eat whatever you want.” We like the sound of that!
On the exercise front, our sixty-minute bootcamp filled with rugby drills, flab busting exercises, and even a tug of war certainly put our fitness to the test. It also left us feeling totally re-energised for rest of the day ahead. Anyone for a scrum?
Find out more about the bootcamp here.