‘Since I gave up rugby, it’s been a huge change re-adjusting to normal eating’
My Daily Diet: Mike Ross, former Ireland rugby international
Mike Ross: ‘There’s a competition on with the other members of the Irish coaching staff to lose weight before Paddy’s day, which I intend to win.’ Photograph: ©INPHO
7am I’ll have coffee with milk. No breakfast. Since I gave up rugby in 2017 it’s been a huge change re-adjusting to normal eating and it took a while to realise I don’t need as many calories.
I’ll do the school run and either head to the office or work from home. On most weekends, from January to March and again for September till November, I coach the women’s rugby team all day at the weekends so it’s good to have a mix.
12pm The first thing I eat will be a caesar salad or some kind of protein and vegetable/salad combination. If I’m organised I’ll bring lunch with me. There’s a great salad bar near the office. It’s much easier to eat the way you want these days. I’ll take a water bottle with me and fill up a few times.
4pm One more coffee with milk during the day and a protein bar to keep me going.
8pm I’m staying away from carbs so dinner will be steak and vegetables like broccoli or grilled chicken and salad. I’m trying to fit into my suits again after a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas. There’s a competition on with the other members of the Irish coaching staff to lose weight before Paddy’s day, which I intend to win. Fitness wise, I’ll lift weights once or twice a week and do some cardio – the cross trainer or stationary bike. I bought a road bike during the summer and I’ve a group of other dads I go out with on a weekend when I can.
11.30-12pm I try to get to bed before midnight. In the evening I’ll snack on some yoghurt and some fruit if I’m peckish. I stay away from alcohol during the week unless I have a dinner to go to. I have a real sweet tooth so it’s a struggle to keep on the straight and narrow, but at the weekend there will definitely be wine and ice-cream.
(In conversation with Mary McCarthy)
By Dr Conor Kerley, dietetics consultant, researcher and lecturer at University college Dublin and Technological University Dublin.
Breakfast Mike skips breakfast and although intermittent fasting works for some people, fruit and nuts could be a quick and nutritious option here. Although Mike is not a professional athlete any more, his muscle mass will be greater than the average man meaning his metabolic rate (and hunger) will be higher even if not training.
Lunch Salads, including those from commercial chains, can be a great option but caution with certain dressings (eg Caesar) which are usually high in fat and salt. Try to add some plant protein – beans, lentils, quinoa – these are filling and nutritious adding fibre and minerals as well as protein. The water is great and a second coffee is fine but I advise caution on protein bars. They are usually not necessary and represent a heavily processed food.
Dinner Many people avoid carbs but the reality is that not all carbohydrates are the same. We should all limit refined carbohydrate such as sugar, white bread, corn flakes, etc but others such as wholemeal pasta, oats and barley are more filling and provide more nutrients.
Tips Mike could add some fruit for breakfast, swap the protein bar for nuts, add plant protein for lunch and not worry about having carbs. As long as he sticks to wholegrains, he’ll win the weightloss competition yet.