Wellbeing

A Star Rugby Player Lets Us In On His Morning Routine

Do all highly successful people roll out of bed and straight into downward dog? Morning routines are extremely personal – we all have different jobs and demands – so there’s no one formula that guarantees success. As part of an ongoing series, we’re taking a peek inside the lives of successful Aussies to see how they start the day and what they’ve achieved by the end.

“Breakfast and my morning routine are critical to my daily performance,” says rugby union superstar Laurie Weeks. As the tighthead prop for the Melbourne Rebels, Weeks’ entire morning focus is on the “big training load ahead” but whatever he’s doing seems to be working. The most capped player in Rebels’ history – he’s made 62 appearances since joining the club as a foundation player in 2011 – Weeks made his Wallaby debut in 2014 in front of a hometown crowd at Etihad Stadium as Australia narrowly defeated France.

And if playing professional rugby isn’t challenging enough, Weeks is also studying a Bachelor of Education, hoping to follow in both his mum and sister’s footsteps as a teacher down the track.

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Image via Melbourne Rebels

What time do you get up?

“I’m wide-awake at 6am.”

Have you always been a morning person?

“My morning routine has actually changed a fair bit over my career,” says Weeks. “Earlier on, I’d really struggle to get out of bed and was definitely not a morning person. More often than not, breakfast would be a bowl of cereal and then I’d be off to training.”

What’s for breakfast now?

When it’s game season, Weeks’ mornings go off without a hitch. “I’ve got a morning routine down pat. My breakfast is three poached eggs on toast with avocado and spinach (I’ve eaten this pre-training for the past three years). I’ll also sort my meals for the day: I’ve become pretty efficient at this now and can get it all done within 30 minutes.”

How did you change your ways?

“I have no illusions about how fortunate I am to be in this position. So to be honest, I find being unmotivated a little selfish.”

“I meditate quite regularly before I go to bed. I’m not a great sleeper and it’s sometimes tough to get to sleep, so meditating and breathing exercises help massively.” The result? Weeks jokes that he’s now so bright-eyed in the morning, he’s going to have to learn how to sleep in again.

Motivation is also a biggie when it comes to staying focussed, with Weeks’ main source being the enjoyment he gets from playing sport. “I have no illusions about how fortunate I am to be in this position. So to be honest, I find being unmotivated a little selfish. But if there are days when I’m struggling, I gain a lot of inspiration from my teammates. It’s what makes sports teams such great things to be part of.”

What about off-season?

Weeks’ biggest concern throughout the year is his diet, so staying motivated is a year-round pursuit. During the off season, his training load “drops significantly” and being conscious of this puts him in good stead for his return to the field. “Although we are encouraged to enjoy our breaks and refresh mentally, it’s pretty crucial to come back to pre-season in good shape. So during the off season I’ll do anything active that isn’t rugby related, like swimming and lots of dog walking – I won’t even step foot on a football field.”

How do you spend your rest days?

“During the season we often get a rest day during the week and one on the weekend, post match. During the week on our rest day we’ll usually catch up as a team and have breakfast at one of Melbourne’s cafes. The rest day is also great to use to catch up on any study that you need, whether it be for Uni or for review of the upcoming game (there’s a lot of detailed analysis that goes in to each match). Post match, I spend my rest day with my family, as they often travel down from Sydney for matches.” And if they’re not in town? “I happily spend the day in bed. It’s the only time I don’t struggle to sleep in.” And the truth comes out.

Do you have time for anything else?

“Balance with rugby and non-rugby life is huge. Its crucial to have something else going on in your life other than your sport, not only because it provides you with a profession after your sporting career finishes, but also because it allows you something else to focus on and is great for you mentally. RUPA (The Rugby Union Player’s Association) are excellent in helping players in this area. It would be very hard to find someone in a team who is not studying something.”

(Lead image supplied)