As a former NRL champion, Billy Slater knows a thing or two about staying healthy and fit.
Now, the dad of two shares how he stays in top shape to keep up with his young family and do the things he loves.
How has your fitness routine changed since retiring?
When I was playing my routine was structured so I had to adapt to a different way and find new ways to stay fit and healthy. Fitness and exercise was something I had to add into my day rather than it being my main focus. Since retiring, I’ve had more time to be active and have fun with my family, and have made it a priority to keep living a healthy lifestyle. Playing sport with my kids, riding horses and outdoor activities make up the majority of my exercise.
What does a normal day of working out look like?
I’ve always tried to live an active lifestyle so for me, exercise is not a chore. For example, I love to kick the footy with the kids. Occasionally I work in a bit of structured training which I prefer to do first thing in the morning. There’s something about exercising in the morning that puts you in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day.
What about your diet?
I’ve tried to continue my eating patterns from my playing days. Breakfast would consist of avocado and eggs on toast. Lunch is usually a salad and ham sandwich followed by a banana. For dinner, I’ll usually have a steak or chicken, roast pumpkin and sweet potatoes with some greens. I’m always a sucker for dessert, either ice cream or Tim Tams.
Do you still incorporate any wellness hacks from your time in the NRL?
Playing professional sport comes with a lot of structure but in everyday life, it’s easy to let your health and fitness slip. Since retiring, I have really tried to continue focusing on keeping a good diet and fitness routine.
For me diet is a way of life. Building it into your routine and not just for a period of time, is important. We learnt during our training that eating a balanced diet, filled with fruits and vegetables, protein and carbohydrates is key – Australian bananas are one of my staples for some extra fuel so that I can keep active throughout the day. I try to lead by example with my kids to show them how important it is to eat well and stay active without being obsessed with it.
When it comes to training, I’ve tried to find new and fun ways to keep motivated and stay active. I love getting the whole family involved by kicking the footy around together, playing tennis or going surfing if we’re at the beach.
How do you juggle work and parenting?
Great question, because both are important. Obviously family takes priority. Like anything in life, if you plan and prepare for things, they run a lot smoother. For instance, if I set a day aside with the family, it’s a day with the family. Being a parent is a full-time job and things need to be flexible around it. Work is also important, as it provides for your family. So allocating time to get what you need to get done needs to be found too.
How do you look after your mental health?
Mental health is so important and I try to actively take care of mine by staying healthy and fit. Exercise is great for the mind and body and helps keep my sleep routine in check – I usually aim for at least seven to eight hours. Writing down or just talking about something you are grateful for in your life or in the day you just had can put you in a good frame of mind. I’ve used the resilience project journals and they are fantastic.