AFL players have arguably THE best physiques of any sport. On top of their toned bods, they’re ridiculously fit, clocking up 15km in one game easily. That’s before jumping, tackling, getting dragged down and climbing back up come into the mix.

The inaugural Women’s AFL launched this year and became a sporting phenomenon, putting women’s Aussie Rules on the map.

Not all of us were born with the natural athleticism to run majestically like a gazelle or leap with the prowess of a lion, and the rest of us are too crippled by fear to give it a go, so I caught up with ACT/NSW Academy Player (and member of the GWS train-on squad) Sarah Tutt (Tutty) to find out exactly what you can do to become AFL-fit at home.

Before we get into it, I have a confession to make – Tutty and I used to play soccer together back in my hay-day. Which just makes it even more impressive to have seen her go from soccer-star to AFL-ace in just 15 short months. Ten of which she spent nursing a hamstring injury.

As I rocked up to our play date I couldn’t wait to learn how to take a hanger and wondered how long it would be before I nailed something like this…

But reality quickly set in when the Fatigue-Kicking drill had me like…

So a pro AFL career might not be for me – yet – I have a LONG way to go. A lot of time and effort goes into competing at a high level (for every sport) and Tutty says she finds that setting small goals for each individual training session or game helps her continually improve and stay motivated.

Becky (left) and Tutty reaching high

There are days when she doesn’t feel like training – especially on a cold winter’s night in Canberra when the temperature goes from a balmy 0 degrees to -6 – so she let me in on a few simple tips…

  1. Being match-fit (or peak condition) doesn’t happen overnight, so get back to basics and invest the time to work up to it. Get moving each day and gradually increase your training intensity.
  2. Fuel your body with good food. You wouldn’t expect your car to make it from Sydney to Melbourne on half a tank; the same goes for your body. Eat to nourish so you get the energy you need for your training.
  3. If long-distance running isn’t your thing, get out and do some sprint sets – they’ll increase your fitness in half the time.
  4. If the weather is bringing you down, try to have a laugh with your teammates or training partner – or if you’re alone take the cold head-on and own it.

When I asked her for the best piece of advice she’s ever been given, she said, “If you play for enjoyment and do the basics well, the rest will come.”

I came away from our play date wanting more! If the thought of playing Women’s Aussie Rules tickles your fancy as well, click here to find a comp (social or competitive) near you. If you’d rather stick to the comfort of your own home, here’s an AFL-inspired workout just for you!

Becky Bergman

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AFL CARDIO CIRCUIT

After warming up, grab a ball (from any code) and complete each of the following (preferably with a 10-15m space) for four rounds:

Holding the ball:

– 2 x sprints at 60% effort up and back

– 2 x sprints at 80% effort up and back

– 2 x sprints at 100% effort up and back

– 2 x sprints at 100% effort up and back – add in 5 pushups at either end

– 2 x sprints at 100% effort up and back – add in 10 pushups at either end

Rest 60 secs and repeat x 4!

If you want more of a challenge, try bouncing the ball while you maintain your speed – or swap out push-ups for burpees.

Please note: if you don’t have 10-15m at your leisure, the above can be done on the spot. Just replace distance with time i.e. sprint at 60% for 30 secs!

Read Becky’s previous Girl On The Go blog here.