With the Birtish Lions Tour well under way, Maximuscle athlete Anthony Watson has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. At the time of writing, Anthony has earned rave reviews for his performance against the Crusaders where he dazzled the opposition with his solid defending, composed footwork and electric pace on the front foot. TRAIN magazine caught up with the 22 year old, England and British Lions rugby sensation to understand what makes him tick, physically and mentally.
How did you get your start in rugby? Was it something you’d always played as a kid or was it something you came to realise you were good at?
A bit of both really. My dad played rugby and my older brother started playing too. When I was around 4 or 5 years old, my dad brought me along and threw me in with whatever age group I could fit in. From then on I’ve been playing every year with my school and my club whenever possible. I did play football for a few years too before deciding to give my full-time dedication to rugby.
Were there ever any aspirations to be something else going up or a backup plan?
From about 12 years old my aspiration was always to be a rugby player – I never wavered from that. If I hadn’t have played rugby, I’d probably have just finished uni and be looking for a job somewhere right now. Though I don’t know what that would have been in because I was so clear on becoming a rugby player. I’m thinking it may have been in business management or marketing.
Take us through the Anthony Watson workout – what does it consist of?
I’ll take you through a typical week of my training.
Rest and recovery. This is when we’d consume our Maximuscle protein shakes like Cyclone or Promax as well as have our ice baths and cryochamber sessions – This is sitting in a chamber that blows out air at minus 170 degrees. We have to sit there in just a hat, gloves, pants and socks on which is always great fun as you can imagine.
We review our game from Saturday
Lower body weight training
1 hour on the pitch practicing our rugby drills
Tuesday – our biggest day
Upper body weights
Units – Rugby drills.
This is our biggest contact day
Wednesday – Recovery
Walk in the morning
Power based weight training (Box jumps etc)
45 minutes on the pitch – fine tuning for the game.
Light team run for 15 minutes
What about your off-season – how does training change?
It’s pretty tough now, they give us around 5 weeks off – it’s not great to relax for the whole 4-5 weeks even if your body is telling you, you need it. I probably rest around 2 and a half of the 5 weeks and start doing small sessions on the bike to keep my fitness up, then gradually move on to running and get back to my weight training workouts in preparation to go hard again in the season.
Is there anything you really dislike about rugby training?
I hate some of the fitness stuff, particularly the watt bikes. We do sprint sessions on those, sprinting as hard as you can for 20 seconds or sprinting for a kilometer, followed by rest then repeating. It’s difficult to enjoy workouts like that stuff!
What’s your favourite part of training?
Anything to do with the rugby, I love the sport. Anything to do with the skills and improving upon the craft I love.
You’re 22 years old – you often hear of so many young athletes with potential who sometimes fall off the radar. How did you manage to resist the temptations that arise when you’re coming up through your teens like late nights with your friends, alcohol, girls etc to stay disciplined and focused?
Since I was 16 years old, I’ve had to kind of put that stuff aside – when your friends want to go out on a Friday, you have to be disciplined enough to know that you have a game on Saturday. It’s part and parcel of how to get yourself to the top – you just have to ask yourself “is this going to help me to get to where I want or is it going to hinder me?” That should make your decision pretty easy and it did for me.
How important is mental preparation for you before a game and do you have any pre-game rituals?
Music is obviously key, I spend a lot of time listening to music on game day and generally relaxing. I think people neglect the mental aspect sometimes and people don’t realise how mentally taxing professional sport can be. I try and conserve as much mental juice as I can for the game – I’m not the type of player that gets over-hyped or wired as that can be draining.
Anthony Watson – The music that motivates the man
Genre – Rap, RnB
Artists – Drake, 21 Savage
Maximuscle Athlete Anthony Watson was speaking following the launch of Maximuscle’s new short film ‘Dedication Deserves Results’. Watson has reached peak condition this summer, to find out how to get in top shape visit: https://www.maxinutrition.com/ibiza/
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