A healthy lifestyle is as much about eating the right things at the right time as it is pounding the pavement on a long run, as Harlequins prop Mark Lambert knows only too well.
It’s why the Move Like A Pro programme looks at meal plans and food to keep participants feeling great as well as getting active through fun activities and graded exercise.
Move Like A Pro is a scheme delivered by Premiership Rugby clubs and supported by the Movember Foundation to inspire a legacy of long-term lifestyle change across the rugby fan community.
Designed for men aged between 30 and 55 who aren’t currently particularly active, Move Like A Pro offers both classroom and activity based health sessions, including physical activity, diet changes, social connectedness and mental wellbeing.
And in the spirit of Move Like A Pro’s desire to bring men together and improve feelings of connection, Lambert revealed his preference to making cooking a social activity too.
“I am much happier cooking for someone else than just myself, I shared accommodation for many years and cooked for myself but now I am married with a son,” he said.
“I love food, I definitely live to eat rather than eat to live. Cooking for myself is very boring so it’s nice to share that experience.
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“Obviously, we are very lucky to do what we do as we are so active.
“The more active you are, it doesn’t have to be full on rugby it can be a run or riding a bike, it makes it easier because you are burning more calories.
“You can then eat that bit more and be on the healthier side of things. If you have to eat regularly it’s best to go with little and often.”
At the elite end of the game though, regular high-intensity training and playing means Lambert’s diet is different to the average worker.
And the prop shed some light on how a diet looks in a normal week at the Twickenham Stoop for players.
“Obviously a lot of the modern game is based around strength and muscle so you need good sources of protein. We will eat more than your average adult,” he added.
“For someone like me, I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. I probably eat carbs before and after training and less so in the evening but obviously you need enough energy to do the training matches.
“When we are away it is pretty structured. In the hotel breakfast will be between 8am and 10am and there will be porridge, bagels, eggs, bacons and beans.
“Then we’ll have another meal before the game, usually between 11am and 12. Some people won’t each much at breakfast others less before the game.
“For me personally I will have something simple something like a chicken wrap that I know will sit well and not unsettle me. I used to cook eggs and realised it upset my stomach.”
But the best time of the week for Lambert is the end after competing hard for 80 minutes in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
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The 32-year-old explained how it’s only after games that the Harlequins squad have full licence to eat as they wish.
“We get well looked after at the Stoop after games, when we are at home we get something like a roast which is good and hearty.
“A few of us will head back and go to a burger place or go out for dinner with other halves because all bets are off after a game.
“It’s the time when you eat guilt-free because you have just burned however many calories during a game, you have definitely earned it at that point.”
If you’re a man aged 30-55 who isn’t currently physically active, its not too late to join Move Like a Pro and kick-start your journey towards feeling fitter, healthier and happier. Find out more about your local programme at www.premiershiprugby.com/movelikeapro