As a star rugby player for Leinster and Ireland, Shane Horgan knew the value of a great diet to aid performance and competitive play.
Since retirement from the sport in 2012, rugby has remained a huge part of his life as a pundit for Virgin Media Television. Like many professional sportspeople who embark on the next phase of their lives, maintaining fitness was something he was mindful of.
“I found that when you position out of rugby, things that were really vital to what you were doing or integral to your job in terms of training and eating, it becomes more difficult to do them or they become just a part of your life as opposed to almost all your life,” he says.
“Also, not having to overthink about eating really cleanly. I remember even playing rugby, one of the lines was: ‘you can never train hard enough to eat whatever you want’. I was very aware of how important the eating was, access to dieticians and a lot of our meals were provided. So you didn’t have a whole lot of preparation yourself but became very, very conscious about how important eating was for performance.”
At home, there has been significant development. Horgan and his wife Emma welcomed their first child, a girl, into the world.
The rugby star is Glenisk ambassador and is giving his backing to the company’s Eat Like Them, a pop-up restaurant in Tang on Dublin’s Dawson Street, taking place on February 3.
All proceeds from the day will be donated to the Peter McVerry Trust, and the restaurant will be serving up a host of limited-edition rugby-inspired recipes from 7.30 am, giving the public the opportunity to see how a professional rugby player can fuel their day.
To view the Eat Like Them recipes, visit www.glenisk.com
What shape are you in?
I think I’m generally okay. I’m probably not as fit as I’d like to be. There are peaks and troughs where I get really into training and focus. And when I am doing more, Itend to eat better as well. We’re post-Christmas now, so I probably should be on a bit of a health kick again.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I don’t really drink during the week. Generally, I try not to even have a glass of wine during the week. That then allows you to eat healthier and not overeat. During the week, I try to watch my eating, a little bit of a five-two split through the week.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
I could get stuck into a bit of ice cream if it was knocking around. I don’t really miss the treats if they’re not there.I never really had a sweet tooth, but I’ve found myselfslipping into it potentially after dinner.
What would keep you awake at night?
Much like everyone else, modern life. The general stresses everyone has in work and family and those things. But I’m normally so exhausted that I tend to sleep okay.
How do you relax?
I don’t have a huge amount of hobbies, because I think growing up, it was always sports and then rugby was my job and in effect, it was my hobby as well. Now I’m broadcasting so rugby remains my hobby. It’s really about hanging out with family and having meals with friends.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I always think that picking new people for the first time at a dinner party would probably be uncomfortable. So I think I’d invite some of my close friends and family.
What’s your favourite smell?
Cut grass or the countryside. Smell is really evocative and nostalgic, in different places and at different times. It depends where I am. It’s the memory of what the smell evokes is the more important thing.
What would you change about your appearance?
We could have a very long list on this, but I’m certainly not going to state it for public record.
When was the last time you cried?
I’m a complete softie, it doesn’t take a whole lot to make me cry. Anything to do with children now makes me cry.
What traits do you least like in others?
A lack of compassion and empathy.
What traits do you least like about yourself?I suppose I can be quite closed off at times. I can go a bit quiet.
Do you pray?
What would cheer up your day?
Good times with friends and family, meeting up with them always improves my day.