It’s not every day you can say you had breakfast with the All Blacks, but we were lucky enough to have these bragging rights last month. As proud sponsors of New Zealand Rugby, AIG Life were thrilled to host a live online breakfast webinar, bringing together 400 guests from all over the world for a unique start to the working day.
Expertly compered by AIG Life CEO Phil Willcock, we were joined by Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge and All Blacks, TJ Perenara, Angus Ta’avao and newly appointed captain, Sam Cane, to chat about fitness, nutrition, wellness and what being in lockdown has meant for them.
Health and wellness in lockdown
As expected, lockdown for world-renowned athletes may differ from the rest of us. They all agreed they’ve tried not to see it as a barrier. For them, it was seen as ‘off season’ and the regimes and training programmes that they are all so used to continued.
We were treated to a first-hand personal training session with Angus, who showed us how being stuck indoors shouldn’t be an excuse to not keep moving. Along with shadow boxing and body weight squats, he also introduced us to the soon to become world-renowned ‘Angus side shuffle’ (music essential).
And we weren’t the only ones who loved it:
‘Thank you for this opportunity, the Brett family loved it and will check out the smart health options AIG life can offer. We enjoyed Angus’s mini work out.’
– Ian Brett, customer
Kendra gave an insight into how they prepare both before and after games and the importance of carb loading before a match to provide energy. Post-match, protein is essential, to help repair the body.
Mind over matter
Whilst the physical preparation is an essential part of an All Black or Black Fern’s life, making sure they are mentally prepared is just as important.
TJ described a gruelling training programme that would have terrified most people, but for him it was the process of ending one game and the discipline required to refocus that he really loved. The strict regime allowed him to get both his mind and body ready for his next game.
Angus discussed the importance of grounding yourself, especially after a loss. “If you get caught in the past you’ll stay there – we are always looking ahead”.
It’s ok not to be ok
Playing at the top level of your sport, whilst a huge honour, also comes with a lot of expectation and pressure on players. As captain, Sam Cane says, “on the field, you are trained to push through the pain to get to your goal, but it’s so important that this isn’t the case off the field. A happy player is a better player”.
He emphasised just how important removing the stigma that men have when discussing mental health is and the importance of being open to share how we feel.
Angus and TJ reiterated this emphasising the power the team plays in helping each other. They know they will only succeed together, as a team, and are genuinely there for each other, no matter what.
It was a truly inspiring catch up with some of the most humble, down to earth people, who just happen to be rugby superstars.
‘It was superb. I loved hearing the players – funny, humble, inspiring. The questions were great and Phil handled everything super smoothly. We felt privileged to be invited.’
– Dominic, Teladoc Health
The full webinar is available to watch here, using the password Work4aig.
Smart Health provides the tools you need to manage your health and wellbeing. It offers unlimited access to six services; a 24/7 UK-based GP, second medical opinion service, mental health support, a health check, bespoke nutrition plans and an online fitness programme.
Smart Health is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at no additional cost to you. All elements of the service are available to your immediate family, including children up to the age of 21.
Find out more here.