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Rugby star Sonny Bill Williams talks diet, fasting and training in lockdown

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The UK is still in coronavirus lockdown, and with rugby league on pause, how has this affected Sonny Bill Williams’s training routine?

Health website caught up with the former All-Black in a video interview, who opened up about:

how he’s adjusted his eating and training schedule around fasting

training during lockdown and spending more time with his family

the food he misses most from New Zealand

getting back on the pitch with the Toronto Wolfpack

(and falling asleep on the team bus on the way to Eden Park.)

With the UK lockdown in place this year during Ramadan, Sonny hasn’t been able to train with teammates. But it has enabled him to adjust his training routine around breaking his fast.

‘When I was playing I was having to train a lot during the day back in New Zealand.’ explains Sonny. ‘So I couldn’t really structure my day around Iftar (time each day when the fast is broken). So what I’m doing now is one or two hours, depending on how hard the session is, before Iftar.’

‘I’ll get asked by athletes a lot, what should I eat, what time should I eat, what type of food, when or if I should eat carbs, that type of stuff. When I first started getting into Ramadan from an athlete’s point of view I was really scientific.’

‘Last year I just left it up to Allah and said to myself I’m going to eat when I’m going to eat.’

‘Funny story - last year I actually fell asleep on the team bus going to the game. I broke fast just before I hopped on the bus to go to the game, and I had a bit too much. Your energy is zapped after you eat too much, so I fell asleep heading into Eden Park before the big game. So I learned [that lesson] early!’

Asked about the foods from home he misses most, Sonny said:

‘I would probably say the island food. The raw fish, we call it oka. We have a dish called chop suey, we have a potato called taro that I don’t really eat that much. But the meal I probably miss the most is oka with chop suey.’

In a final message for the fans, Sonny told us:

‘The competition will come back soon. And God willing, we can carry on our form from the last game. Thank you for all your support. We’re training hard. We’re working hard. Even though I’m enjoying myself at home with my family, I’m still training every day besides one day a week, and still looking forward to getting back out there and playing some good footy. I know all the other lads are in the same boat.’

This video is episode 8 in’s The Keeping Up with The Pack Series, featuring interviews with Toronto Wolfpack players on diet, nutrition, exercise and mental wellbeing during lockdown.

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