“Having worked with a variety of professional rugby players at Worcester Warriors, Edinburgh Rugby, and Bristol Rugby, Charley remains to be one of the most gifted athletes I have had the privilege to work with. Rugby is a sport that requires a variety of physical attributes and the majority of player’s excel only in one or two of these. However, Charley possesses the ability to be fast, strong, and powerful along with a metabolic capacity to repeat this work over prolonged durations, which is a combination that you do not see too often. This was in no doubt achieved by his outstanding work ethic regarding training and his determination to succeed in his sport. I have no doubt that Charley will continue to adapt and improve these physical indices.”
Lee Douglas | Head of Fitness | Bristol RUFC
Heres What Charley Has To Say About Nutrition;
When faced with the daunting phrase, ‘sports nutrition’, most (including many athletes) jump to the conclusion that it is eating as much chicken as you can and eating no carbohydrates, well I’m here to tell you this is not the case and it is certainly not that mundane or straightforward!
In the modern sporting world, we are faced with the negative stereotype that in order to eat healthily, you cannot enjoy your food nor have anything that remotely resembles taste. Need I repeat, not the case!
Like many teenagers, I devoured anything and everything when I was hungry no matter what the nutritional value. This ranged from 4 (yes 4) double Sausage and Egg McMuffins and 2 hash browns from that wonderful establishment McDonalds for breakfast before school, and sometimes 5 sausage rolls/pasties from the local Morrisons at break time. All intended to satisfy the rather large appetite I had.
I’ve always loved sport, starting (somewhat inevitably) with football but then giving rugby a go. At one stage, for about 2 months, I was playing a rugby match in the morning and a football match in the afternoon. Sooner or later I bit the bullet and stuck to rugby – a good decision on the whole I would hope.
I learnt my trade at Moseley Rugby Club as a junior and stayed there from the age of 10 through to 17 (still eating everything in sight in case you thought I was going off point). During my school playing years, I earned a place in the regional side and got asked to attend an England under 18 training camp in Loughborough during the holidays. At this point I was sitting with a broken leg and had to painfully decline, however (back to nutrition at last!) my eating habits had taken their effect. I had always been active so was not obese or struggling to move, however, sitting at 18.5 stone at 18 years old was not ideal!
With my achievement in rugby came a call up to Worcester Warriors RUFC over the summer. I saw this as a massive opportunity and it was here that my nutritional habits changed drastically, a complete overhaul of what I was used to followed. I now eat a very healthy, wholesome diet and have reaped the benefits with both my performance and physique.
The best bit of advice I can give is to EAT CLEAN. This means that every meal you have you should be able to see where all the ingredients have come from. For example, instead of having a microwave chilli con carne for dinner, take the extra time to make it. This way you can see exactly what goes into your food and can be confident of its nutritional value. There is no substitute for real, honest food to aid your body with its’ development, health and well-being.
If you are trying to change anything to do with your nutritional intake then don’t over complicate things; start at the beginning – breakfast. Widely acknowledged as the most important meal of the day as it ‘breaks the fast’ that your body has endured overnight and, more importantly, fuels you for the day’s antics. It is important, certainly in my experience, to get a blend of carbohydrates and protein. As opposed to Frosties, Coco Pops or sausage sandwiches, eggs are one of, if not the best source of protein you could ask for in the morning. These would be either poached or scrambled, not fried. Again, EAT CLEAN, don’t buy powdered scrambled eggs, take 5 minutes longer and crack your eggs in to a bowl combined with a touch of milk, salt and pepper and prepare them in a pan with a tiny bit of butter. Along with either baked beans or tinned / grilled tomatoes on seeded / brown toast, this is a perfect start to the day. Alternatively, oats are a great option. This does not mean the packet mixes you can buy with golden syrup that claim to be healthy as these are stuffed full of sugars. Instead, combine any of the following with a bowl of oats you have prepared in a saucepan with some milk:
- Blueberries (Super food – also stimulates your brain)
- Honey (within reason)
- Peanut butter (choose the brand with the least ingredients, the one I use contains simply whole peanuts that are ground to release their natural oils)
For a protein boost you can add flavoured whey protein powder (chocolate mint flavour is quite nice!)
The natural progression from this point would be a subtitle of ‘Lunch’ however the importance of snacking often gets overlooked; snacking healthily throughout the day on the following is a great way to keep ‘ticking over’:
Fruit (apples, pears, grapes, oranges, plums etc)… be careful with fruit as it is high in natural sugars. Try to limit to 3 pieces of fruit a day.
Nuts (Almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds). Nuts are very high in monounsaturated fat (‘good fats’) that your body needs. They are very easy to carry around with you for a little snack as well as being high in protein.
Although I am against basing your whole day around 3 big meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), I do believe that these meals should be a little larger. Again a healthy blend of carbohydrate and lean protein is the best way forward. The following, quick and easy options have helped my development massively:
- Chicken / Steak fajitas (limit the amount of red meat) use seeded wraps and make the mix yourself HINT: To boost this meal with natural fats make your own guacamole using an avocado, garlic, tomato, red onion, limejuice, salt and pepper.
- Chilli con carne (as mentioned above, make the mix yourself) with brown rice
- Chicken / turkey / pastrami rolls (use brown / seeded buns or bread) where possible, prepare the chicken or turkey yourself (i.e. grill it with some flavouring then cut in to strips for your roll). Try and limit the amount of packaged meat you have due to the additives. HINT: Prepare several turkey and chicken breasts at the same time then store them for use later in the week.
I tend to try and stay away from a lot of carbohydrates at night, however they won’t kill you! They are important in the recovery process especially after you have trained. The following are personal favourites for an evening meal:
- Beef stew (quick and easy to make, full of nutrients and great for a night in when it’s blowing a gale outside!). This contains stewing beef, parsnips, carrots, swede, boiling water, one oxo cube, salt and pepper; as clean as it comes)
- Any type of fish (as long as it’s not covered in batter) and either grilled or steamed vegetables. Fish is full of essential fatty acids (omega 3) and ‘good fats’ whilst being packed with protein.
- Chicken salad. This always seems boring but it doesn’t have to be that way! Jazz a salad up with grated carrot, beetroot or boiled eggs. Use cabbage instead of lettuce. HINT: Make ‘crunchy coleslaw’ as a great alternative, using shredded white cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, lemon juice and coriander.
I thought I’d save the last word for a food that has helped me probably the most during my development and change in eating habits; cottage cheese. I always found myself hungry after dinner and could never find a viable late night snack. Cottage cheese was my saviour – it contains bucket loads of protein whilst being very low in fats and carbohydrates – the perfect night time snack.
HINT: To make it more appealing, dice tomato, cucumber and yellow pepper and add it to the cottage cheese along with salt and pepper. If you really want to stay off the carbs at night then eat it with celery/ carrot sticks, otherwise a few Ryvitas won’t hurt.
Finally, it is so important when tackling nutritional problems not to go mad. If you fancy a treat, have one! As long as everything is within reason then there is no need to starve your body of what it craves. Remember, where possible… EAT CLEAN!!