The shape I'm in: Rob Kearney, Ireland rugby player

WHEN Rob Kearney talks about what he eats, it’s all about nutrients, carbs and proteins, consuming the best fuel for the best results on the pitch. 

But does the Ireland rugby player ever get to enjoy his food?

“During the week there probably would be a focus on eating for performance. You might have to eat when you’re not in fact hungry. 

"But at the weekends you can go out to a nice restaurant for dinner and relax a little bit,” he says, adding that he’s been to Jamie Heaslip’s restaurant, “ a good steak joint”.

It’s not just physical health he’s concerned about. The Irish Rugby Union Players’ Association’s current campaign Tackle Your Feelings, is close to his heart. 

“I think it’s really good when you’ve got players who can speak out. It’s important to keep approaching the subject and try to tackle the stigma that surrounds mental health. 

"Thankfully, my mental health is pretty good but I know a lot of people who suffer with it.”

With a degree in economics and a masters in business, he acknowledges that his future might well lie in a commercial venture, but he has no firm career plans post professional rugby. 

For now, the 29 year old, who is dating Jess Madden, is focused on the next game.

* Rob Kearney is an ambassador for Audi.

What shape are you in?

Relatively good shape due the fact that I’m an athlete. 

Monday, Tuesday we train from 9am to 4pm. That would consist of two gym sessions, two pitch sessions. 

On a Tuesday evening you could be quite tired, exhausted. 

Wednesday we’d do some Pilates and some yoga type stretching or you’d play some golf to rejuvenate a little. 

Thursday would be a little bit lighter, a gym and pitch session and then we play a game on Friday. 

About once a week we do mindfulness for maybe 20 minutes in the morning. It is a good opportunity to switch off and to relax.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I don’t have one in particular. I try to avoid carbohydrates after 4pm or 5pm. It’s something that works for me. 

I have high protein Monday, Tuesday. 

Wednesday come down a little — have a tiny break. 

Thursday, Friday towards game time you’d be looking to up your carbohydrate levels significantly.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

I enjoy a can of coke and a pizza.

What would keep you awake at night?

Sometimes when you are going though a period, you might be struggling with an injury. But never anything too significant. 

Sleep is a big part of my recovery and I need quite a bit of it to be able to fully function. I try to get a minimum of eight hours a night.

How do you relax?

I enjoy golfing when the weather is good. Because a huge amount of our job we’re recovering and getting ready for the weekend, we don’t get a huge amount of time to do many hobbies. 

A lot of the time you’re just chilling at home watching a box set, visiting friends, having coffees. 

We are quite limited in terms of the activities we can do.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I like Barack Obama. I think he is a very charismatic person. He’s one of the most powerful men in the world. And Muhammad Ali.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

I’m happy enough. 

I had a load of freckles as a kid. I still do. I didn’t really like them when I was growing up but I suppose as you get older you learn to live with these things.

What is your favourite smell?

I like the smell of disinfectant. I have no idea where it comes from.

When is the last time you cried?

After the Heineken Cup semi-final rugby match in 2012 — we won. It was elation effectively. 

I hadn’t been involved in the previous two campaigns — one with injury, the other with sickness. It was third time lucky for me.

What traits do you least like in yourself?

Sometimes you can tend to put too much pressure on yourself or maybe be a little bit serious in some situations. 

To enjoy the good times. I think that’s something everyone could learn from.

What traits do you least like in others?

Poor manners.

Do you pray?

Occasionally.

What would cheer up your day?

It depends on what kind of day I’m having. I like to have coffee and good chats with good company. 

Friends and the people close to you, you like to see them happy.


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