I do believe my background in coaching, playing and fitness has given me a pretty unique insight into the physical demands, as well as the mindset of a rugby athlete.
If you want my resume, you can go check my LinkedIn, because as much as I've learned from formal education and the fancy papers that go with them, I've learned A LOT from failures.
I've made all the mistakes so that you don't have to.
Let me tell you a bit about ol Teej....
In 2017, I had to retire due to multiple concussions. I look back on my career and despite making many, many mistakes, I have no regrets.
Any regret I think I would have had has been replaced by a passion, a passion to help rugby players achieve more. Achieve more in the gym, with their physique, with rugby and with life. And to not get stuck making the same mistakes as I did.
I was always a chubby kid who loved sports, so naturally rugby became my thing. It wasn’t until my late teens that I was made aware that I actually could play at a high level - and at the same time was given a weights program and told to hit the gym.
At first I had no idea what I was doing, but knew that if I really wanted to take rugby seriously, I had to do everything in my power to give myself a physical edge. So I studied everything I could around strength and conditioning for rugby.
My local club’s 1st XV coach, who was a bit of a mentor to me, taught me to work my ass off to achieve what I wanted, something I always knew in principle but was never out-right exposed to. He told me that it didn’t matter where I was, who I knew, or what anyone else was doing, the only thing I could control was my work.
So I went for it, I started reading everything I could about training, all the fitness magazines and all the websites, basically anything I could get my eyes on.
I tried every quirky training routine and diet on myself. Like, all of them:
Honestly, you name it, I tried it. Seriously, I could name over 100 different systems that I’ve tried to become a chiseled, athletic machine...
Doing all this crap didn’t give me the miracles that I’d hoped, but I did I develop a real love for the gym. I saw first-hand how it made the impossible possible, I still remember my first 100kg clean, I remember how I felt when I first finally felt like I was in control of my physique and seeing my first couple abs in the mirror.
But in spite of this love, I still struggled to compete at the highest level, rugby is so diverse and I had to learn the hard way that there was no “one thing” I could do to become a beast on the pitch. I learned that rather than look for the “one thing”, I had to consider everything, all training types, movements and goals and figure out a way to effectively organise them, removing the shit, to ultimately realise my potential.
This was the key! I went from a player who ran around with no confidence, spinning his wheels going from fad to fad, to someone who was in control, who always put his hand up to carry, get turnovers and have a big impact for my team. I went from a guy who just loved rugby, to a guy who’s career IS rugby…
A career that I’m proud to say saw me play the game in 4 continents, win leagues, experience cultures and get international caps. A career that as an overweight, out of shape teenager I had no right to think was possible.
Also, the picture above was more of a test to see if I could do the whole, ridiculously-lean thing... turns out I could, but I get way more enjoyment from being an actual athlete.
Nowadays that I can't compete in rugby, I manage to compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Touch Rugby to keep my athletic-edge.
I never want to stop being an athlete