There’s hope for the rest of us. Even former Irish rugby international Brian O’Driscoll enjoys his ‘cheat’ days.
O’Driscoll, who hung up his boots and his No 13 jersey in 2014, gained weight on a recent trip to New York, he admitted to fitness trainer Karl Henry on the ‘Real Health’ podcast this week.
“It was like six meals in New York last week but that’s OK, you have to write these weekends off,” he said. “I won’t lie, I came back and I weighed myself and I was a couple of kilos over, and when I say a couple, three and change. But that’s OK too because I had a great weekend… and now this week I switched into working hard.
“Every morning now instead of having some home fries over in New York, I’m having a kale milkshake with some berries and just trying to make this week a better week than last week.”
The former Irish captain trains now four or five times a week, after realising he had to continue some form of regular exercise once he retired.
“There’s definitely a fat person in here and I’ve to be really aware of that,” he said.
“No one wants to see an overweight pundit so I just decided I’ve got to make this part of my routine. The competitive juices start flowing again and you start chasing scores and trying to lift heavy again.
“I don’t train to try and have a body beautiful or any of that. I train for balance and for feeling good so that I can have a glass of wine and so I can have a meal or two every week that I want to have.”
Now he and his wife Amy Huberman have moved into their newly renovated home on Dublin’s Palmerston Road with their children Sadie (6) and Billy (4), O’Driscoll says he’s looking forward to entertaining for friends.
“I try and live in the moment an awful lot and just enjoy the here and now. I’ve got a young family and [I’m] enjoying them growing up and seeing the small little things, the small little differences as they shape their personalities,” he said.
He added: “I’ve got a very busy wife and a successful wife so [it’s about] trying to fit into that family dynamic as well.”
O’Driscoll said he’s “happy to be a 40-year-old retired rugby player” when he sees how training regimes have evolved for professional athletes.
“There’s no hiding any more with assault bikes and everything being programmed back into a microchip or computer where all scores are fed back into the coach.”
However, he said: “There’s a little bit of a mourning period [when you retire].
“Of course you want the team to go well, but you don’t want the players that have replaced you to go extremely well. The ego in you is like ‘yes, the team to be brilliant but the No 13 to be only OK’ and that just didn’t happen in any shape or form.
“Jared Payne came in and was phenomenal and Garry Ringrose came in and is absolutely smashing it.
“There’s a bit of ego in all professional athletes, so it’s difficult but after a few years time you become a fan just like everybody else.
“It’s taken a few years to get there but I’m definitely in a more comfortable place now.”
O’Driscoll said he turned to yoga and mindfulness for the first time when he retired.
“[When you retire] you have your low days and your disappointments, so I started giving it a little bit of a try,” he added.
“I am a believer that positive thoughts do reinforce more positive thoughts.”
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The Real Health podcast is in association with Laya Healthcare.
Brian O’Driscoll is Gym+Coffee’s Head of Community and was speaking at their #MakeLifeRicher Day.
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