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Training tips from Hong Kong’s Sevens captain

Ever wondered how ultra-fit athletes get into shape? In this series, we meet some of Hong Kong’s top sportsmen and women to learn more about the regimes of the city’s fastest and strongest. The upcoming Hong Kong Sevens will showcase some of the finest – and fittest – athletes in the world. Among the more recognisable faces of the local team is Sevens captain Max Woodward.

Hong Kong Sevens captain Max Woodward
Hong Kong’s Sevens captain Max Woodward works out six or seven times a week

Max was raised here and attended West Island School, playing for the school team and for local rugby clubs, and participating in the Sevens Minis Tournament. Max’s team is determined to make it to the round of 16 that plays on the World Rugby Sevens circuit. To that end, the team’s six-day-a-week training schedule is designed to build strength, speed and agility.

Tell us about your training schedule.

I work out six or seven times a week. As a team, we train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We have Wednesdays off, but I usually go to the gym on my own. Many of us play for local rugby clubs, and if we aren’t travelling with the national team, we will have a club game on Saturdays.

What’s your diet like?

I try to eat a big meal about two hours before a session – a balanced meal with lean meat, chicken or fish, and simple carbohydrates like white rice with some veggies. If training comes after breakfast, I will usually have no carbs for breakfast, but eggs and spinach instead, and then get my carbohydrates in after training – maybe oats and yoghurt. After a tough session, I will have a protein shake and take it with something sugary, like a banana; then, about an hour after, some simple carbohydrates and lean meats. Sushi is a good go-to for a post-training meal. Core strength is key to withstanding the physicality of rugby.

What does your core workout entail?

We do a lot of compound lifting in the gym – deadlifts, squats and Olympic weightlifting; these are excellent for your core and stability. We also do two rehab sessions a week focusing on balance and stability, using kettle bells to work our abs and core.

Do you all have a set stretching programme, or do you prefer yoga or Pilates instead?

Everyone has their own way of recovering. We stretch after every session but it’s not a set routine. Once or twice a week we will do what’s called a ROMWOD, which is a 20-minute stretch routine. I find this very useful for recovery and mobility.

The Hong Kong Sevens is on from 7 to 9 April. For more information, visit hksevens.com

This article first appeared in the April/May edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.

Check out our story on Hong Kong Sevens events in Hong Kong.

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