Manly Half Daly Cherry-Evans has been around for nearly a decade, but arguably, this may have been his most productive pre-season yet. With the tail end of his career staring him down, the Sea Eagle has cut the junk food and physically transformed his body.
Ditching the booze, ice-cream, processed foods, hot chips, potato chips and lollies, DCE’s new rig has stunned both fans a teammates. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the 31-year-old admits he used to have Ben & Jerry’s five times a week while schooners are now a luxury.
“I wanted to make sure when I came back to training I gave myself every chance to be at peak physical fitness,” Cherry-Evans said.
“I did that by staying off the booze and definitely tidying up my diet.
“I’ve got a sweet tooth. I used to eat – and I still will at some point – ice cream but not as much and not as often. I would comfortably have ice-cream five nights a week after dinner. Any colour, any flavour.
“I could polish off one of those Ben & Jerry’s takeaway tubs in one sitting. Most people could but I’m supposed to be a professional athlete. They last people a week – I would eat one in a night. It’s just a habit, I’ve always done it.”
Dropping the excess weight wasn’t the only reason DCE gave up the beers.
“There is also that feeling of waking up in the morning and not having a foggy head from drinking schooners. There will be a time and place for that to continue but I’ve pulled back for now,” he said.
“But as you get older – and instead of making the game feel like it’s the same old thing – I thought this could be a unique thing that I could do to test myself, more so the mental side.
“I also made sure whether it was a weights session, running session or cardio that I tried to get everything I could out of it. It’s been a combination of sacrificing things and I feel as fit as I’ve ever felt.
“It’s been a commitment I made to myself to try and cut back. I have maybe had ice cream only a handful of times over the past seven weeks. I have tried to be conscious of not eating as much processed food, bags of chips and lollies that are so easy for me to eat.
Cherry-Evans set himself the challenge knowing he may not have many years left in him.
“I would have been annoyed at myself if I didn’t try something like this before I retired to see if I could get more out of myself,” he said.
“It’s been a good challenge and I definitely feel I’ve got some benefits rocking up to training and feeling as though I have given myself every chance to train well and prepare well for this year.
“I’m getting older now and I have to look after myself. The diet was the first thing that popped into my mind. I have been quite flexible with my diet for so long.
“I am lucky given I’m a leaner person. I’ve never been one to blow out. I have been lucky to be blessed with that genetically.”