Interview with Essendon midfielder Dyson Heppell

-How do you approach your nutrition during the season and also during the off-season?

I’m pretty strict with my diet right throughout the year. I find it hard to put on and maintain my weight so I need to consume quite a high amount of calories to ensure I don’t loose weight. Throughout the pre-season we burn a lot of energy so fuel intake is essential. My diet consists mainly of lean meat, brown rice, oats lots of fruit and veg, natural nut butters and I love Greek yoghurt.
I don’t eat junk food very often but after the footy season I’ll tuck into a few burgers and pizzas.

-How important do you think nutrition is in terms of recovery?

It’s vital to put the right fuel in your body post games, training and weight sessions. Energy stores are zapped after a game so I usually have a form of pasta or chicken wrap and a protein shake or smoothie to replenish stores.

-What’s your favorite pre-game meal?

I’ve got an awesome pasta place near me so I get a chicken and mushroom risotto the night before every game and I’ll have porridge or muesli on game day for breakfast. Some players don’t eat much at all on game day but i feel I need a good amount of fuel in my body to get through an entire game.

-If you had to pick 3 exercises in the gym what would they be and why?

1. BB Bench press- As a midfielder it’s important to be powerful in fending off opponents and breaking tackles so we need to strong through the chest and shoulders.

2. Weighted hip thrusts- Glute strength is vital for explosive movements like breaking away from a stoppage. It’s also a great exercise for injury prevention for a number of body parts.

3. Dead lift alternating with box jumps- Great exercise for leg strength and hits major muscles. The box jumps are great for explosive power.
-If you had 3 tips for an up and coming footballer trying to make it to the AFL what would they be?

1. Have a good balance with footy and life. Give 100% at all training sessions and games but make sure you switch off and have other passions outside of footy.

2. Make sure you recover properly from every session. This includes ice baths, massage, stretching etc. Its so important for backing up training sessions and preventing injury and optimal performance.

3. Enjoy playing with your mates. That’s why we started playing footy and it should be the same at every level. Enjoy working hard together and improving together.

Thank you to Dyson for taking the time to share his thoughts on health and fitness along with giving some advice to up and coming footballers.

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