Wayne’s world a game- changer

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - WORLD -

HE might be bet­ter known as Mitchell’s dad these days but Wayne Pearce re­mains a le­gend of rugby league who changed the game both as a player and a coach.

Be­fore any other player fo­cused on phys­i­cal fit­ness, diet and men­tal prepa­ra­tion, the for­mer Tigers star un­der­took an ob­ses­sive ap­proach to all three, back­ing it up with univer­sity stud­ies in sci­ence and psy­chol­ogy.

“When I was 14, my dad died of a heart at­tack. He had three broth­ers who all died quite young too, and I thought ‘Well, if I don’t want to die young I bet­ter start learn­ing about health and fit­ness’,” he said.

Pearce, the fa­ther of Roost­ers star Mitchell Pearce, read ev­ery­thing he could on the sub­ject and it quickly started pay­ing div­i­dends in his rugby league ca­reer.

“When I came in I was av­er­age height and av­er­age weight in a game where every­one’s pretty big. I had to get an edge some way and mine was find­ing dif­fer­ent and bet­ter ways to get fit.”

Like most for­mer players, Pearce’s knees have taken a beating, so now he’s find­ing in­no­va­tive low-im­pact ways to pre­serve his body and get the most of it long term. “I do a bit of pad­dling on my kayak surf­ski and I cy­cle and do a bit of box­ing and stuff at the gym,” he said.

Pearce, 57, is a firm be­liever in the im­por­tance of diet.

“I’ve never been over­weight and that’s be­cause food for me is pretty much 80 per cent of the equa­tion. I’ve al­ways been huge on ex­er­cise too but I’m con­vinced that the big­ger fac­tor is what you put in your mouth,” he said.

“I just try to eat rea­son­ably healthy. I eat as nat­u­ral a diet as I can and stay away from su­gar.

“I start the day with some rolled oats with a lit­tle bit of whey pro­tein on top, and I eat quite reg­u­larly through­out the day and snack on fruit be­tween meals.”

Wayne Pearce pad­dling at Bal­moral. Pic­ture: John Fo­tiadis

FOOD AND FIT­NESS WITH RUGBY LEAGUELE­GEND ADAM MACDOUGALL

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