Life

20 Questions: Maghera Aussie Rules star Conor Glass on exercise, ice baths and going vegetarian

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Aussie Rules football star Conor Glass, originally from Maghera in Co Derry, who plays for Melbourne's Hawthorn Football Club in the Australian Football League

Aussie Rules football star Conor Glass
Gail Bell

1 Up and at it – what is your morning routine?

After I wake up, I'll check my phone and then head to the bathroom for a shower. After I've changed, I'll make a coffee with my housemate before heading out the door to training.

2 What might you eat in a typical working day for... Breakfast?

Breakfast fluctuates between porridge or Weetabix (or some other sort of cereal), accompanied by fruit.

Lunch?

Lunch changes each day at the club, but usually, there will be some source of protein (meats/fish), carbs (sweet potato/rice) and then greens (veg/salad) on the menu.

Evening meal?

This is pretty similar to lunch and will include the three food groups, although I will reduce my carbs intake if I've had a big lunch.

3 Is nutrition important to you?

As a professional athlete, nutrition is massively important to me and, depending on my goals, I will tailor my diet accordingly. I am now at a stage where I am not training as much as I do at other times of the year, so will reduce the amount of calories I consume – usually cutting carbohydrates out of my main meals altogether.

4 Best meal ever?

A pizza I ate in Positano, Italy. It was cooked and finished to perfection.

5 Do you have a guilty pleasure?

I have a bad sweet tooth, so any sort of chocolate has me beat...

6 Have you ever been on a diet? If so, how did it go?

I have never been on a set diet plan, but ever since joining Hawthorn FC (The Hawks), a professional Australian Rules football club based in Melbourne, I have had to watch what I eat for the majority of the season.

7 Do you take health supplements?

Just Vitamin C tablets when I think I might come down with a cold. As athletes, we are very limited to what we can take due to WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).

8 How do you relax?

I love to watch movies, as that is the time I can just switch off from everyday life and have no worries. I also like to draw. I've been drawing since I was young and really enjoyed it throughout school. It's just a hobby, but it allows me to totally relax and I find it very satisfying.

9 Teetotal or tipple?

Tipple.

10 Stairs or lift?

Hmm...if we're talking more than two floors, then it will be the lift.

11 Do you have a daily exercise regime?

As an athlete, daily exercise is essential and is pretty much our job. Treatment and recovery is priority during the season, compared to performance and getting fitter during the pre-season. It has its benefits – waking up and having a massage at 8am isn't a bad way to start your day off!

Weekly training will involve everything from bike rides, to light runs, walks, swimming in the pool, yoga, gym, and stretching. Ice baths and massages/physiotherapy are part of the regime. Matches on Saturday or Sunday last up to two-to-three hours and we can cover up to 14km.

12 Best tip for everyday fitness?

Easy: do something you enjoy, otherwise it will have no long-term benefits.

13 On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are and how fit would you like to be?

I'm around an 8.5. There is always room for improvement and, as an athlete, it's about getting every inch over your opponent.

14 Have you tried, or would you try, alternative therapy?

I've never tried it, but I would be open to finding out more.

15 Were school sports happy times or do you have a memory you would rather forget?

School days really are the best days of your life and I don't have many bad memories – apart from one which will stick with me until the day I die.

I got wrongly sent off in the Hogan Cup Final for allegedly striking an opponent. This was my final game of Gaelic football since leaving for Australia and I was also captain that day, to make matters worse.

16 Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle?

Only recently – after watching a documentary on Netflix, I came to realise how much animal products can increase the risk of diseases. I am currently trialling a vegetarian diet.

17 Best health/lifestyle advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?

Your health is your wealth. A lot of people worry about materialistic objects, but the first thing should be your health, then your family and whatever else comes after that.

18 Who inspires you or who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness / attitude to life?

Oran McGuckin @omcgfit. Oran is a mate of mine and throughout his childhood/teenage years, never put an emphasis on health or fitness.

Only recently (about two years ago), he changed his attitude to life and switched negative habits to positive. He is now in the best shape of his life, enjoying every day as it comes and has a better outlook on life.

I have used his knowledge and training to help me in the off season to get in a good physical and mental state before I go back to Australia. Hitting the gym and becoming a personal trainer was the best choice he ever made.

19 What time do you normally get to bed and do you get enough sleep?

I get into bed around 9.45/10pm. I usually get my eight hours in and I also love a quick nap during the day, if I can fit it in. Sleep is the best recovery.

20 Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own mortality?

I think so. I don't think about it too often because I love being in the 'here and now'. I've been told to not focus on getting to the next stage of my life and just enjoy the present.

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