The Shape I'm in: James Ryan - Up for the game

The Shape I'm in: James Ryan - Up for the game
James Ryan:"I will continue to work hard and make the most out of what I can"

With all rugby matches cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis, you’d expect Ireland’s James Ryan to kick back a little, to ease up on his training, but the star player is not about to lose his renowned laser focus, writes Irene Feighan.

“The key thing for us is to be adaptable — to not give out or look for an excuse over things that are not within our control,” he says.

“I will continue to work hard and make the most out of what I can.

"We can still exercise in open spaces so I’ll still be training hard and I’ll get creative with the weights I have at home.”

From Blackrock, Co Dublin, the 23-year-old seems unflappable on and off the pitch.

“I think that all comes down to how I was raised. And to a group of mates who keep me very grounded.

If I was ever getting ahead of myself I think I’d hear about it very quickly. It’s probably my close circle — my friends, my family — that keeps me grounded.

Describing himself as a “history fanatic”, he’s currently studying history and politics in UCD.

He proudly points to his namesake and great grandfather as the source of his interest in revolutionary politics.

Dr James Ryan was a founding member of Fianna Fáil and held a number of senior ministerial roles, including finance.

“It’s probably what stemmed my interest from an early age — listening to the family folklore [about him]. He was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Irish volunteers — he fought in 1916 in the GPO.”

James Ryan is brand ambassador for Irish supplement range Revive Active which includes Zest Active, a nutritional supplement with 25 active ingredients — [url]www.reviveactive.com[url]

What shape are you in?

Like a lot of the guys, I’m always working on my shoulders because we make a large number of tackles.

We need to make sure that all the little joints in our shoulders are really strong so we are able to withstand that force.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

My biggest problem is losing weight so I don’t have to be strict or picky with what I’m eating.

If I can get two or three meals in before one o’clock I’m generally in a good place.

I usually start my day with overnight oats — porridge oats, frozen fruit, yoghurt, protein powder, honey — so I’m getting all my nutrients in.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love a Chinese takeaway.

What would keep you awake at night?

Usually, I find I sleep pretty well, especially if I feel I’m heading into a game well-prepared. I know I can relax and be confident.

How do you relax?

I see my friends, my family, my girlfriend to unwind, to get away from the sport.

That helps me — emotionally and mentally — to get back to myself. Or I go for a swim — sometimes I swim in Seapoint.

What’s your favourite smell?

The smell of my dogs. I’ve two Labradors, one’s golden and one’s black.

They’re called Toby and Louis — two very boisterous hounds.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

My ears are getting a bit mangled the more I play the game. Maybe if they had a bit more shape about them.

When is the last time you cried?

I don’t even know in the last 12 months, to be honest.

What traits do you least like in others?

Tightness.

Do you pray?

We do a bit of mindfulness at both Leinster and Ireland.

Taking yourself from a distracted state back to a present state — I think the more we can up-skill in that area, the better.

We try to cut out everything in the whole circus and focus on what needs to be done in the immediate future.

It’s very much job focussed. You need a bit of emotion but, at the same time, you need to be calm enough to make good decisions and understand messages.

What steps are you taking to protect the environment?

I recycle quite a bit — plastic, paper, glass. I use the compost as well.

What would cheer up your day?

Seeing my family, seeing my mates, seeing my girlfriend, Sarah Cannon.

What’s your favourite place in the world?

We’re lucky enough to have a house in a village called Clonbur in rural Galway.

It’s between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask. It’s a beautiful part of the world and where my mother is from.

I have loads of family there so it’s always great for me to get down there.

What quote inspires you?

One I like is: ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’

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