Interview | Tom Curry
Tom Curry, who at just 20 years old became the youngest player to start an International for England (against Argentina) in 90 years, has enjoyed an almost unbelievable career for someone so young.
The Sale Sharks flanker, who is joined at the club by his twin brother Ben, has been one of the most exciting rugby prospects in the last decade, excelling at every level in club and international rugby. After coming through the England U16's, U18's, and U20's, it felt like it was just a matter of time until Eddie Jones called him up to the Senior squad.
We were lucky enough to have a few moments with Tom to find out how he has fueled his performances at the elite level in the last 12 months.
Tom, thank you for taking some time to let us quiz you on your diet & nutrition - can you tell us what sort of meals are you having the night before a game? "I try to have a big pasta or sweet potato meal in the evening (more than my usual meal) with usually fish or chicken for my protein. The large carbohydrates will provide me with a lot of energy and a light protein to make sure I don’t feel heavy or groggy. I try to supplement this with a lot of snacks like peanut butter and toast after before bed time just to get the extra bit in".
Are you having much on the morning of a game? How early do you eat ahead of kick off usually? "I don’t eat a lot at all before a game as it makes me feel heavy and too nervous to consume a big amount of food, so I eat the bulk of my food the day before. In the morning I just make a 5 egg milkshake with fruit at home and then usually a small bowl of porridge. 3/4 hours before the game I will try to have a small amount of pasta but depending on how I feel".
So how about after a game, what sorts of food(s) are you having to recover? "Right after a game I usually eat nothing just because I’m not hungry at all. I will have a protein shake and consume as much water or milk depending on how I feel just to rehydrate to get rid of the groggy feeling I usually get".
Does your diet change much between on & off season? Can you cut-loose and eat what you like, or do you have to remain quite sensible/healthy/fit? "Yes for me I do. I think for the first couple of weeks it’s important to relax and enjoy yourself just to mentally switch off, as it is such a large part of my lifestyle during the season. However after 1/2 weeks I will cut down carbs and have high protein in order to get back into proper shape as I build into pre season. But I will stay relatively strict during off season as I personally don’t like to let go I like to stay on top of things".
Do you snack or eat much when you're in the gym or on the training pitch - is there always a protein shake or protein bar within easy reach? "I don’t take Protein or anything during the session but make sure I stay hydrated as I think it’s one of the most important things in order to stay energetic and getting the most out of the gym but will have a protein shake straight after unless we have a meal time after the gym at training".
A number of athletes, from a variety of different sports have spoken about the importance of hydration, do you find it important as an athlete at your level? "Hydration is massive. I think for me especially I feel the most energy when I’m hydrated In training, game and also in life. I think a big thing for me is to watch over hydration especially before games as sometimes I can get too obsessed and drink too much and feel heavier than I want to".
Max Lahiff, from Bath, came down to our studio and mentioned how important sleep is to his recovery after a game; is this the same for you? "Massively. The first thing I usually do after training is have a 1 hour nap and then my food. I think to stay on top of sleep is huge for me. Just to mentally switch off and also physically allow body just to rest and do nothing is huge, especially after a big training day".
Coming back to nutrition, what is the most common meal you rely on at home? "I don’t like to focus on calories because then it becomes too obsessive. I like to make sure that I get around 30g of protein every 2/4 hours just to make sure that I reach that, and then alternate meals. I will add a carbohydrate depending on what I have in the kitchen and what I’ve had already In the day. You can usually gauge [the nutritional value of the food by] looking at it after a certain period of time, and knowing how much you actually need".
Final couple of nutrition questions, have you got a cheat meal and is there anything you actively avoid? "My cheat recipe is a pizza express Americano pizza. Very, very, very, good.
Avoid? Chocolate and sweets. Have no benefit at all".
Stepping away from nutrition before we let you get away, is there a game in your career so far that particularly stands out? "Winning vs South Africa in Cape Town was massive for me".
Do you have a favourite place to compete? "Twickenham is an amazing experience especially walking through the gates".
Do you have any pre-game rituals? "I used to then I thought that I’m relying upon external sources for my happiness and ability so I scrapped them".