And now, he’s headed on another new adventure as he ventures to Crewe to experience a full day of eating and training like a Premier League footballer. As a heavy lifter not used to endurance sports, this may be a bit of a shock to his system.
Matt has gone to visit the Radcliffe Group, a physiotherapy centre run by former Manchester United physio Matt Radcliffe, who typically works with top-level footballers. Matt (Morsia) is still recovering from his achilles rupture, and the day has been designed according to what a footballer would be doing in his position, from food to gym to rehab. Let’s see Matt what got up to.
Breakfast — The footballer’s “perfect plate”
First up, breakfast. Matt’s nutritionist for the day, Damo, stresses that it’s important to get the “perfect plate”: carbs for energy, protein for repair, vitamins and minerals to protect and boost that energy, and good fats for vitamin absorption.
To hit all of that, Matt is having two pieces of wholemeal toast, half an avocado, two poached eggs, a bowl of berries, four tablespoons of natural yoghurt drizzled with honey, and 500ml of water to wash it down. Now that’s the breakfast of champions.
Physio time & achilles rehab
Next, Matt headed over to the physiotherapy centre to meet up with Matt Radcliffe and the team. Before he knew it, he was on the physio table undergoing some pretty intense stretches. After a lot of back clicking and uncomfortable faces from Matt, he said he felt like a “new man”.
Then it was time for some exercises focused on getting the ankles, calves and the achilles tendons moving. These movements look incredibly gentle, but repping them out left Matt out of breath and feeling a serious burn.
Next were some ab-focused exercises using machinery you won’t find in your typical gym. Matt has some enviable core strength, but even he found these challenging.
Ordinarily, this would be the end of Matt’s rehab and physio session, but not today. He was only just getting started.
Next up, it was time to give the achilles a rest and focus on some endurance training. From this point, Matt kept his heels flat, taking the pressure off his achilles and focusing on strengthening the quads and glutes.
“We’re gonna do everything we can to build capacity into your quads and your glutes, so that when you go back onto the football pitch and play with your mates again, you can do those accelerations and decelerations no problem, but we’re not taking any more risks with the achilles.”
This section included Matt being attached to resistance equipment and repping out different movements like sumo squats, incorporating pauses and holds too. On this portion of the day an out-of-breath Matt said: “no one should do exercise for that long, under no circumstance.”
So that should tell you how serious the workout was. But thankfully, Matt was soon provided with an incredible lunch.
Following Matt’s training, Damo was back, and he brought gifts with him.
Damo’s key message is to refuel with the dream team of carbs and protein within 20-30 minutes of exercise. Protein will help to repair any damaged muscle, while carbs will help to replace lost energy and support the absorption of that protein. Then, within an hour of exercise, you want a balanced meal (AKA a “perfect plate”, just like breakfast).
For Matt’s perfect plate lunch, he was served a salmon poke bowl with rice, edamame, salmon, and other veggies. This was followed with a yoghurt, berry and granola bowl providing more carbs, protein and micronutrients.
Though this approach sounds like it covers all bases, it isn’t the same for all premier league players. Damo explains that each manager will have a slightly different approach to nutrition, with some banning things like butter, ketchup and other foods entirely.
Training part two
Thought that was it for the day? No, no, no. Matt was taken back into the gym to get some miles in on the bike, and he was sweating.
Matt is not at all used to this kind of exercise. He said: “It’s such a long time. I literally never do continuous exercise for that long ever.”
Matt was on the bike for an hour, completing periods of high intensity with lower intensity stretches thrown in, which helped make the session a bit more manageable.
The “traumatic” EMS workout
Matt thought things couldn’t get more intense, but he was in for a big surprise.
That’s because next on the agenda was an electro muscle stimulation (EMS) workout. An EMS workout uses electric impulses to contract muscles, and it involves wearing a wet vest and various other straps hooked up to a machine with various knobs and buttons. It looks a little like a torture device from the future, and it works much like one too.
Fortunately, Matt’s discomfort makes for amusing viewing. At one point he compares the feeling to the chestburster scene in Alien. At another, he says it’s “traumatic”.
Matt did a full workout of various different exercises — RDLs, leg raises and lunges — all with the intensity switched right up thanks to the EMS equipment.
Things got even funnier when Matt decided to take a phone call about his MRI results while still hooked up to the machine. You’ll have to watch for yourself to see if he managed to get any words out…
Take home message
And just like that, Matt had finished a full day of eating and training like a Premier League footballer. He was most definitely put through his paces and was feeling it at the end of the day.
Sprawled on his hotel bed, he said: “I am literally a broken man. I am a shadow of my former self”. It was the complete opposite of what he’s used to, so it’s no surprise he found it challenging. I wonder how he was feeling the day after.