In the final part of our interview with Kevin Sinfield, we talk cheat days, pizza with the family and enjoying a (very) occasional pint.
On his diet and routine… If I’m honest, I improvise day to day, I have set foods that I Iike to eat – but I’m not too fussy.
I’m pretty lucky in terms of weight; I don’t put a load of weight on depending on what I eat.
I just follow a typical balanced diet so, plenty of fruit and veg, a lot of chicken and fish – I don’t eat much red meat maybe just once a week. I also like to eat quite a lot of wholegrain rice for my carbs.
On cheat days…
After games I treat myself a bit, I let myself eat what I want and try and get my calories for the week back up to recover.
I think it’s important to have a cheat meal or cheat day occasionally, it certainly helps me.
In my early years it was very strict, especially with what I ate, but I think it’s important to treat your body after big training sessions, or for us – game days.
On balance… I try to follow the 80/20 rule.
So I eat well 80% of the time and then I do let myself indulge a little bit for 20% of the time. I think that way it lets you remain focused over a longer period of time.
I think if you’re very strict with yourself, and your diet, that’s when you fall off the wagon.
On favourite cheat meals…
On a typical cheat day, I don’t eat everything in sight; I do try to keep a lid on it.
I’m not one to go for a big fry up, it’s more my evening meal where I like to indulge.
I may have a take away, a pizza or something like that – But a lot of that is dependent on the family now.
I’m happy to eat whatever for my evening meal the day after a game and my family like to treat it like their treat day too – so to be honest, I just usually fall into line with them!
I’m pretty easy going with it, if they fancy a burger, pizza, an Indian or whatever it may be, I just go with the flow.
On the occasional pint…
Drink wise, I’m quite boring, I drink a lot of water.
I do have the odd cup of coffee but little to no alcohol – I usually have alcohol just 3 times a year, it might sound pretty strict, but it’s not at all, it’s really easy.
When I do drink, it’s more to do with the team, after winning trophies or at the end of a season.
I may go out with my wife around Christmas and have a few – however with only drinking a few times a year my tolerance is definitely affected!
I feel drunk off one pint; I then stay that way for the rest of the night.
Having never been a big drinker, I really understand my limits and when I can feel my eyes shutting I know it’s time to go home!
On growing up…
I don’t go crazy now, I think you get a bit smarter as you get older and your awareness of drinking is better. On the occasions I do have a drink, I’m aware that I don’t want to ruin the next day and spend it in bed.
It can be quite tough when you’re in that rugby team environment and people are throwing beers down their neck, but I think I have an understanding of my tolerance and people realise not everyone is a huge beer drinker.
Ten years ago, it was the last man standing, everyone drank the same and you didn’t go home until you were on your back – so I have definitely changed a bit!
On Sports Nutrition… In general, I think a lot of sports people now are a lot more aware of their diet than they used to be.
I think over the years and through experience, you find out what foods tend to work for you.
A lot of players have a set routine to get game ready, they like to eat certain foods and over the years, you can mould that so that it suits you.
On vitamins and supplements…
Vitamins and supplements are provided for us by the club, so every morning when we come in we have our own little pot with our personal tablets in.
Each persons is different, the 17/18 year olds have different supplementation to what the older guys have. I think the older boys tend to have a bit more cod liver oil and glucosamine for their joints and to help aid recovery as well as your usual multivitamins.
The younger boys may have some creatine supplements depending on what period of training we’re at and whether they’re trying to increase strength or gain weight.
On training changes from moving over to Rugby Union…
I don’t think my diet and training will change too much. Over the last fifteen years my diet has changed, and a lot of that has come through the input of sport scientists and nutritionists.
But over the past couple of years, it’s pretty much stayed the same, as I’m not trying to put on or lose any weight – and so hopefully I’ll stay around the same weight.
On remaining motivated…
My motivations have changed over the years – When I initially started out, I was trying to make a name for myself and cement a spot in the first team, and then over time your ambitions may change and develop;
getting a new contract, or playing internationally, or winning trophies.
I would probably say at this moment in time, it’s all about finishing my Leeds Rhinos career off well, and trying to win trophies with the club before I move on to rugby union.
I suppose then I will be trying to become a decent rugby union player – Trying to understand everything, trying to improve every week and hopefully trying to help the team. So I think there are always ways to try and motivate yourself.
On his love of the game…
I’ve always enjoyed training and I really enjoy the challenge of game day.
In many ways I crave that satisfaction you get, after a game of playing well and winning. I think that’s probably something I’ve had for a long time and it will be the thing I miss most when I finish playing.