Interview | Jon Weston-Stanley
Popular blogger, and athlete for England Touch Rugby team, Jon Weston Stanley came down to the kitchen to serve up his go-to quick snack recipe. Whilst we had Jon in the studio with us, we quizzed him a little on how he got into touch-rugby & more about his nutrition.
So Jon, how did England Touch rugby come about? How did you get into it? “I started playing touch rugby, for the same reason I took up blogging actually; unfortunately I managed to dislocate both my shoulders playing rugby union, & I required surgery on both. So I was out of sport for about a year, after which time I got a bit out of shape, as you would, so I wanted to learn about nutrition and training in order to get back into sport… and that is where Touch came in.
As my surgery was so bad, I was told I’d never be able to take up a contact sport again… so touch rugby filled the void”
How quickly did touch rugby happen for you? Did you pick it up quickly? “Yeah it took a little bit of time; when I first got injured, I’d never heard of the sport before… I’d been playing Union since I was tiny, well over twelve years before I got injured – I was devastated... went back & watched my team every weekend for about three months, just wishing I was on the field.
Mt first team rugby coach at school, at the time, was coaching the England U18’s touch rugby team, so he introduced me to the sport and found me a local club… I was playing for about a year, and gradually got recruited West England, then England”
That's amazing... if I am correct, you've represented England all over the world? “Yeah, I was out in Sydney, Australia, for the 2015 World Cup and the year before in Swansea, [laughing], slightly less glamorous, for the European Championships.
So what are your team mates like? "Well actually, a lot of the team are actually Kiwi’s! They come over from new Zealand and Australia and want to continue playing the sport; and once they’ve got their citizenship, they can start playing for England".
It’s big out there? "Yeah, it’s a professional sport out there; the athletes are paid for playing, which is a nice luxury we don’t have for playing over here".
So do you feel the game is more like a League or a Union game? "It’s actually a lot closer to Sevens; there’s only 6 people on each team, on a full size pitch, so there is a lot of room to run about and you need to be quick, to be fast, everything happens at a really quick pace".
So lots of fitness.. is that how you linked it to you blogging? "Yeah there is a lot of crossover, and the love for fitness grew both through blogging and England touch, and one compliments the other quite well".
A lot of people will already know about your blog; explain it a little more for those readers who will not have come across it yet... "Lots of healthy food, mostly desserts – Ive got a hell of a sweet tooth; but I try and satisfy that with natural sources. There is some fitness & nutrition articles, a little bit of everything".
Do you have a favourite recipe? "Ohh, actually a lamb shank. A nice slow cooked lamb shank which falls off the bone, some sweet potato mash, yeah, can’t beat it".
Having there been any fads you've seen where you've thought; that is just nonsense? "Well, avocado on toast.. there is no protein in that meal whatsoever; it’s a good source of fats, but the carbohydrates have been processed, so you’d be better off going for something with a low GI, a natural source of carbs like sweet potatoes. You should be getting protein in every meal".
Would adding an egg help? "Yeah that’d be perfect".
Any tips & tricks to help young athletes looking to improve their health & nutrition? "My number one tip that I tell everyone; if you’re going to do anything, do it in small increments and do it slowly. Make it a permanent change, rather than a temporary one. If you make a temporary change to your diet, the benefits will be temporary. Once you revert to what you were doing, you'll add the weight on/lose muscle.
A permanent change, or a lifestyle choice, the results will be permanent".
Eating healthy is can be quite expensive, though? "It can be, but it depends on what you buy. Avocados and berries can be quite expensive, but if you walk into any supermarket, the cheapest things there are fruit and veg. A fillet steak is great, but chicken, turkey, pork, can all be quite cheap".
Protein bars/shakes are so popular at the moment, are they any you go in for? "I recently published an article on creatine, and most people think its got loads of side effects and causes bloating, causes digestive issues; I spent a lot of time researching this subject, and there has been no published papers to back up the side effect claims. Moreover, any athlete looking to increase power, speed, agility, should be taking creatine – a great supplement for any atletes at any level".