BACK IN the spring 2008, Rugby World invited readers to apply for a place in our new Fitness Factory. We chose six players and put them on a three-month fitness programme designed by the experts at London Wasps. They are also
receiving top nutritional advice, three months’ supply of Maximuscle products and £250-worth of kit from Puma.

The Experts and Contestants from the Fitness Factory

Fitness Factory Experts and Contestants

Here are their top tips from their pre-season program.

Strength and Conditioning


  • Fat-burning sessions are best done first thing in the morning. When you’re in a fasted state, your fat-burning potential is maximised. It’s best to do weights towards the evening
  • Do heavy weights on one day and more power and speed weights on the next. You do more repetitions on the power and speed days to build muscle as opposed to strength
  • Split weight training into upper- and lower-body sessions on separate days, so you can fatigue one part of your body but be fresh to train a different area the following day
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of nutrition. You only train a few times a week but you eat several times every day. Look after your body to maximise your performance
  • During the season, try to fit in at least two weights sessions per week and one speed session, in addition to your club training. Your exact needs will vary according to your position

Huw Davies – Wasps Head of Strength and Conditioning





Matt Lovell England Rugby Nutritionist

Matt Lovell gives practical tips to the contestants




  • Emulate the hunter-gatherer technique – if it runs, swims or flies you can eat it. Don’t buy any food that is advertised on TV and never eat products in pink packaging!
  • Eat frequently – every two to three hours, unless you’re asleep. Eat protein every time you eat and vegetables or fruit, but make sure you consume more vegetables than fruit

Matt Lovell – England Nutritionist

  • 2% dehydration reduces power by around 10% and affects coordination. Don’t train hard to improve your power by 10%, then lose it during a game by being dehydrated
  • There is no magic pre-match meal you can consume to help you perform better. If your diet is poor throughout the week, it won’t make much difference what you eat before a game

Simon Jurkiw – Maximuscle Sports Nutritionist


The Contestants

  • Every Sunday I plan what I will eat for the week and buy all the food I need, so I don’t go into a shop in the week and buy what I see. It has made me a lot more disciplined about my eating

Jamie Folan – Fitness Factory Contestant

  • The nutritionist told me to eat more natural foods, rather than food which has been tampered with and processed. I am also eating more vegetables rather than fruit, and less bread.
  • Do different kinds of gym work to improve your strength and endurance. For endurance you use lower weights and higher reps. I hadn’t done that before.

Hannah Brady – Fitness Factory Contestant

  • You should keep a detailed record of each session you do at the gym, so that you can monitor your results in different areas and ensure that you are making regular progress
  • Work out a structured training programme and know what you should be doing before you set foot in the gym. Look at what you’re eating – avoid processed food
Squats at the Fitness Factory

Squats at the Fitness Factor

Karl Ramsbottom Fitness Factory Contestant

  • Don’t eat things like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes before fitness training or matches. Eat more fish and vegetables, too. I’ve totally changed my diet after meeting Matt Lovell
  • I value all the advice I received because it has all helped me improve my fitness! Pay attention to what you eat and give your body time to recover between gym sessions

Craig Pothecary Fitness Factory Contestant

  • Eat 2g of protein per kilo of your body weight every day, to help build muscle and recover from training. I would never have eaten anywhere near that if I hadn’t been advised to

Lucy Smith Fitness Factory Contestant

  • Instead of spending two hours in the gym and working your whole body, split your training into shorter upper- and lower-body sessions and do them on different days

Metric Ikitoelagi Fitness Factory Contestant

Now read the Fitness Factory Gym Rules Part I and Part II:

Gym Rules Part I click here

Gym Rules Part II click here