Vitalstrength sat down with Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston to hear his top diet and nutrition tips for rugby league players.
Crowned as 2013’s Golden Boot Award winner following his man of the match performance in the Kangaroos’ World Cup final and his prominence for Queensland’s State of Origin team, Johnathan Thurston is on track for another big season.
Find out what keeps him fuelled week on week.
Vitalstrength: How strict are you about diet and nutrition?
Johnathan Thurston: Diet and nutrition is treated as seriously as our game day tactics. Without doing the correct steps during your preparation, you can’t expect to perform at your best on match day.
Over the years, I’ve learnt what foods work best for me, when to eat them and how much.
We receive on-going professional guidance to ensure we keep up with best practice.
Vitalstrength: What do you eat on game day?
Johnathan Thurston: It starts off with eggs in the morning with some ham, mushrooms and avocados.
“The omelette chef on our away trips gets a real workout from all the boys.”
Try Vitalstrength’s Healthy Breakfast Omelette Recipe
For lunch, pasta is usually the choice and then a snack of a couple of sandwiches or wraps before the game.
Vitalstrength: Tell us about the supplements you use pre and post training to assist with your goals.
Johnathan Thurston: I take Vitalstrength Rapid Protein and Creatine after most sessions. Creatine is a big help to increase the intensity of my training and Rapid helps to maintain my size. I also take Glutamine daily to help out my immune system and muscle recovery.
I take Beta Alanine before we start.
“Beta Alanine is definitely what you need to reduce muscle fatigue. It’s like a workout supercharger.”
Vitalstrength: Do you have a favourite cheat meal?
Johnathan Thurston: I might have chocolate now and then to treat myself and sometimes we might have a pizza post-game to help us with weight gain because you can lose up to 5kg or more in 80 minutes of football.
Vitalstrength: Has your approach to nutrition changed as your career has progressed?
Johnathan Thurston: As I’ve got older, I’ve definitely learned that I have to take care of myself a little better with what I’m eating.
I’m sure there were things I ate many years ago when I came into the NRL that the coaching staff here would quickly throw in the bin today.
Vitalstrength: Who does the food prep at home?
Johnathan Thurston: Samantha and I have been together for many years now so she’s spot on with what my requirements are and does a great job with our meals. I try to help out as much as I can!
Vitalstrength: Who is the biggest “foodie” in the Cowboys team? Explain why.
“Matt Scott loves his food. He’s definitely the best chef on the team and wouldn’t be out of place on My Kitchen Rules or Masterchef.”
He can produce gourmet meals from scratch that wouldn’t be out of place at any fine dining restaurant.
I know all the boys quickly say “yes” if he invites them over for dinner.
I can see him doing something with his cooking talents after his league career is over.
Vitalstrength: Finally, what advice would you give to an up and coming player in regards to nutrition?
Johnathan Thurston: Definitely do as much research as you can on the subject and listen to the experts. Good nutrition should be the cornerstone of any fitness regime. It’s no good spending hours on exercise without eating properly. That just defeats the purpose of any program you’re following.