When you’re the only girl living in a house with three guys (who happen to be professional AFL players for the GWS Giants), you may learn a thing or too. Our reader ambassador Bec Tippett can vouch for that, as she lives with her boyfriend, Nick Haynes, and two of his team mates, Matt Buntine and Adam Kennedy. Here, she tells us everything she’s learnt from them about health, fitness, nutrition and wellbeing.

“When I first moved in with my boyfriend and some of his teammates, I began following the same eating plans they had, minus the exercise they were doing. Before letting it go too far, I decided to use their knowledge about exercise and nutrition to help better understand the needs of my body.

While some people may think that football involves showing up on game day and kicking a red oval-shaped ball around a field, the game is not that simple and neither is the training and preparation involved. As well as high-intensity cardio, many other exercises such as Pilates, gymnastics, swimming, weights, boxing are also included in training. These are complimentary exercises to help strengthen the body and stimulate a range of muscles with the aim of optimal performance come game day.

L-R: Nick Haynes, Bec, Matt Buntine and Adam Kennedy

In other words, it’s all about variety, intensity and getting the most out of your session. If I want to become a good runner, to get the most out of my body and help improve my fitness, I could incorporate swimming, Pilates and weights to help strengthen my muscles and improve my flexibility.

An AFL player may run as many as 15km or more (depending on their position and other variables) in one game. I’m not one to ever deprive my body of carbs, however I was eating similar amounts to the boys and obviously not burning near as many calories as they were. Instead of eating big-portioned meals, it was more important for me to snack throughout the day to reduce cravings and hunger levels to maintain energy levels as my job is not as active.

Bec and BF, Nick

The most important aspect I’ve learnt about all of this pressure on the body is that recovery is super important. Footy players combine compression, icing, massage, physio, robustness and hydration to fasten the recovery process as they need to be at peak physical performance as soon as possible. Of course this is a bit extreme in my case, but now I don’t miss out on stretching time or soaking sore muscles in an epsom salt bath!”

Read Bec’s last blog here.