After an exciting year playing for Abu Dhabi’s Bani Yas club, Sydney soccer star Nick Carle has returned to his home club, Sydney FC, primed to take on the season ahead. Here he gives us a little insight into what health, training and a balanced lifestyle mean to him.
What physical training is most important for you to play at your peak?
Pre-season is the most important for me. When I am able to train hard during pre-season, and even the off-season break, and not miss time through injury, it sets me up for the entire year. During pre-season there is a lot of running and some cross training with weights but we tend to do a lot of our physical work with a ball at our feet.
How do you stay mentally healthy?
During the season I find that keeping my mind occupied is important when I’m not training or playing. You do need that down time to be able to stay fresh mentally. I enjoy being active with my kids and I also do a lot of coaching with junior football teams and kids. In the off-season I try to get away from football completely for two weeks and then when I start doing physical work, I start by running to keep that distance from a football.
You travel a lot – what keeps you healthy on the road?
Hydration, rest and recovery are crucial while travelling. I always make sure I keep hydrated at all times, and that means drinking a lot of water before we travel and also while on flights. Getting the right amount of sleep is also important because we usually have to get into training as soon as we land. Athletes also travel with compression tights, which helps with the flow of blood and reduces fatigue on the muscles.
You recently played for Bani Yas Club in Abu Dhabi. What did you do to play at your best in the hot conditions?
Playing for Bani Yas in the UAE was a great experience but very different in terms of the conditions. It was hot, so it was important to stay out of the heat, especially during the middle of the day. Drinking fluids, particularly water, was critical. I had to make sure that before and after training, and before and after games, I increased my water intake. The team also trained later in the evening, sometimes well into the night, to stay away from the heat.
How does this compare with what is required now that you are back with Sydney FC?
The main difference was learning to change my food intake due to the different times we trained. In Sydney we train in the morning (9am start) so it is important to eat a good breakfast so the body is ready for training. Lunch is more a recovery meal (pasta and meat) while dinner is light. In the UAE the time we trained was generally late afternoon or early evening so I had to change what I would traditionally eat for the main three meals. After training I needed a good meal to allow my body to recover and I found myself eating dinner at strange times. It made it difficult in terms of normal eating patterns with my family.
What advice do you have for people to improve their health?
Train hard and always give 100%. You’re never too good or too old to keep learning and no matter what level you reach, it is important to continue to strive to be better! If you are one of the lucky ones to make a career of it, it is a rewarding job that I enjoy every day but it is something you have to continue to work at.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
I’m really looking forward to coming home to play for Sydney FC. I enjoyed my time at Bani Yas but Sydney is my home and Sydney FC is my home club. I watched most Sydney FC games last year online and I want to play every game this season and be a major contributor to a successful Sydney FC campaign. I’m also looking forward to playing with a true legend of football in Alessandro Del Piero.
It’s bye bye Bani Yas as Nick Carle returns home.
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