Saturday, 16 June 2012

What happened when The Rugby Ref got closer to the Pros?

So; at the invitation of Maximuscle The Rugby Ref travelled down to Twickenham, not really knowing what to expect.

All was soon revealed.  On arrival The Rugby Ref was given a Maximuscle Shaker with some Promax Breakfast Oats in and a Water Bottle containing an Electrolyte Drink.
There was then an introduction to the event and it's aim.  As part of their partnership with England Rugby, Maximuscle provided expert nutritional advice and support to 40 lucky amateur rugby players.  This was to be their chance to experience what it takes to be among rugby’s elite.  Under the watchful gaze of some of England’s finest coaches and players, the assembled players and media were to be put through their paces in series of drills and challenges that tested them to the limit.  The assembled players would then be invited back to repeat the drills and challenges, in around 4-6 months, to see if following a professional nutrition and fitness regime can improve performance.

At this point everyone was divided into groups and given a team T-Shirt.  It was then down to the England dressing room to get changed, followed by extensive measuring of our body composition.

It was then out onto the pitch at Twickenham for the fun to begin.  The Rugby Ref says 'fun' with a wry grin on his face.  It was fun and it was enjoyable, but it was also very hard work!  There were several stations, but The Rugby Ref's group started of with some passing drills, just for a warm up, then some goal kicking and scrum half passing.  Now The Rugby Ref has never kicked a ball off a tee before in his life, so it will come as no surprise that he missed all five kicks from the 22.
Next up was the endurance test.  There were two of these, one for forwards and one for backs.  As an ex second row, The Rugby Ref went with the forwards.  Three poles at 5m, 10m and 15m.  Start lying on the ground, then up and sprint to the 5m pole, round it and run backwards to the start, down on your face, then up again and round the 10m pole, down, up and round the 15m pole.  That equals one circuit.  So the entire test was one circuit, recovery, two circuits, recovery, four circuits, recovery, four circuits, recovery, one circuit, finish.  'Recovery' sounds like a nice rest doesn't it?  In fact it was about a 15 second breather.  The aim was to get your final circuit time as close as possible to your first circuit time.

With legs like jelly, The Rugby Ref then staggered off to the hydration station to take on some liquids.  Maximuscle had thoughtfully supplied a tent handing out Electrolyte Drinks and Viper Boost Gel.

Sprinting next.  A straight timed sprint first, and then a sprint, turn, sprint, each done twice, turning once on each foot.

After the sprinting, straight into a game of tag rugby.  But this was no ordinary game of tag.  Played across the full width of the Twickenham pitch, every time you made a tag, you had to sprint back to your own goal line and then back into the game.  Tag was followed by some grappling, turning your opponent on the ground, while he tried to stop you.  This was done on the AstroTurf at the edge of the pitch and The Rugby Ref was left wondering how to explain the carpet burns on his knees to Mrs Ref?

Finally The Rugby Refs group moved into the gym.  Pull ups, squats, bench presses and standing jumps.  Now as you might imagine referees don't need a lot of upper body strength, so this was not The Rugby Refs finest hour, although the standing jump went well.

That was the end of the tests and everyone hit the showers before heading back inside for lunch.  This was followed by a discussion on nutrition, which The Rugby Ref found very interesting.  The group talked about good and bad foods, what foods to eat and when and of course, how Maximuscle supplements can help fill the gaps.

At the end of the day The Rugby Ref went away tired, but much better informed.  The Rugby Ref also went away with a nice Maximuscle Rucksack, a selection of Maximuscle products and a 40% online discount.

So, that was just over a week ago, has it had any effect on The Rugby Refs lifestyle?  Yes it has,  The Rugby Ref has started eating healthier and more regularly.  The Rugby Ref never used to have breakfast, but now has a bit of fruit every morning or some Promax Breakfast Oats.  The Rugby Ref has stopped eating crisps and unhealthy snacks, replacing them with fruit, nuts and healthy options.  The Rugby Ref has always taken energy drinks before and during training, but has now started using a Maximuscle Promax after training for muscle recovery and repair.  Mrs Ref was a bit shocked when The Rugby Ref refused fish and chips the other day, but is looking forward to having a leaner, fitter Rugby Ref!

There are two and a half months until the start of the 2012 season, time will tell if this new regime makes a difference.

..........and finally can you spot and name the two professional players in the photographs above?

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