Starks Fitness, Bristol.
Who is Chris Cook?
Chris Cook is a professional rugby player for Bath. Born and bred in the city he started playing for the mini’s when he was just 6 years old and since then signed his first contract in 2009. Chris’s childhood dream was to become a professional rugby player but he never thought that it would actually happen. Being a late bloomer, Chris didn’t have the conventional route into the club. He was picked up by the academy when he was 18 and was fortunate enough to get selected for England’s under 18’s and got a contract with Bath from there.
The Traffic Light system|
Roughly 4/5 seasons ago at Bath Rugby, they would categorise your body composition into a “traffic light system”. Red meaning bad, amber meaning you’re OK and green would be considered “world class” as Chris calls it. Chris found himself in the red category, mainly due to his massive sweet tooth craving for anything that’s chocolate. Cadbury Dairy Milk to be precise.
When Chris started his career in Rugby he had little knowledge of nutrition, it wasn’t and still isn’t exactly something taught at school. Because of this, Chris would quite often have a jacket potato or pasta before a game because it was thought to give you the most energy.
Like most professional sports the goal posts in rugby change all time, meaning that everyone has to be constantly progressing. Every year it gets a bit harder so you’ve got to be fitter to keep up with everybody else. For example; what might have been considered “amber” before is now “red”. Chris has recently been injured so is currently on the lower end of amber but this would have been well into the green when he first started!
Chris’ wrist injury sometimes segregates him from the team. Due to his current injury, he’s not allowed to train with the matchday squad so he ends up doing a lot of weight sessions and physio sessions instead.
If he’s not injured, he’ll have a game on Saturday and train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday. If he’s playing the match, he’ll most likely have two lifting sessions and then perhaps a speed and power session. His days off are Wednesday’s and Sunday’s where he’ll recover with ice baths or using rollers and balls. Chris says that he’s in “bits” after a game and the older he’s got, the longer it takes to recover.
Aspirations after rugby
The Bath Rugby Player Association (RPA) work with the players to gain work experience so that they are able to have a career after Rugby. Chris took it upon himself to do some research, and found out that the average career span for a rugby player is only 6 years! At this moment in time, Chris thinks he wants to move into Marketing but wants to gain some work experience in the area first. He may also decide he wants to go into personal training, but this is something the RPA will help him with.
A piece of advice aspiring to be professional athlete/rugby player:
Chris say’s “It’s never too late – if you want it, it’s there. You just have to go and get it. Take Dave Atwood for instance, he didn’t sign a contract until he was 24. Ultimately, there are so many different routes, you just have to find yours and seize it”.
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