Vicky Fleetwood joins Alaska Seafood to talk all things rugby and the importance of a healthy diet
I found rugby when I was 14. Before that, athletics was my passion, but rugby quickly took over. Growing up I supported Leicester Tigers and Neil Back has always been my rugby idol. He inspired me by the way he played when others thought he was too small. I played for Leicester Forest and Lichfield before being capped for England 15s in 2011. I’ve always had to work alongside rugby until recently when female players have been given professional and full-time contracts. I was given my first full-time contract in 2015 with England 7s.
As a professional athlete there’s a huge importance placed on what we eat. We have to fuel correctly so that we perform well in training and on game days. My diet doesn’t really change much during the season. I’m pretty good with what I eat on a daily basis and I’m quite conscious of what I put in my body.
I do let myself have a treat if I want one. My guilty pleasure is definitely chocolate. I have quite a sweet tooth so I would indulge in anything chocolatey.
I was a personal trainer before I signed with England. This experience means I know exactly what I should be eating to maximise output which comes in really handy. It’s all about finding the right fuel by combining a mix of ingredients from different food groups. This will give you the energy boost that you always need to be on top of your game.
I like to go to bed quite early as I always get up early. This helps me to stay in shape mentally. I know that my body needs to rest to be able to perform so this is something that I’ve got better at doing over the years. Physically - I focus on strength and conditioning as well as rugby skills to make sure I stay in top shape.
My diet is quite varied. I don’t like to eat the same thing twice in a day, so I make sure I mix things up where I can. I’m not fussy – I like all food, but fresh food is the best. I always include lots of fresh veggies in any meal that I cook.
I would never go fully vegan or vegetarian. That being said, after watching ‘Game Changers’ I think I’ll try and eat less meat for sure especially if I pick up any injuries. The studies carried out on inflammatory responses are fascinating and definitely something that I want to know more about. But I really do love meat and fish!
I’d be keen to try a more heavily plant-based diet. Reducing my red-meat intake and increasing the amount of fish I eat is something I would love to experiment with. I do like the idea of being quite strongly plant based, especially now there are so many alternative options to meat available.
My go-to dinner would probably be a piece of grilled salmon or chicken paired with a full plate of veggies. Salmon is one of my staples because its lean and high in protein which is what I look for from the food that I eat regularly. It is also a great source of vitamin B and omega 3 fatty acids. This type of dinner is super easy, super tasty and full of nutrients. It’s also quite light which is the sort of thing that I like to have in the evenings.
If I have a bit more time then I love to experiment with new recipes and try out ingredients I haven’t used before. At the moment I’m loving making some new curry recipes and I even made fresh tacos the other day which is something I haven’t done before.
Teaming up with Alaska Seafood was a no brainer for me. I’m a big foodie and I’m very conscious about where my food comes from. The fact that this fish is wild and 100% sustainably sourced is a big plus. My favourite fish to eat from Alaska is probably the sockeye salmon. It has a deliciously rich flavour and a soft texture which I just love.