How Do Professional Athletes Train And Eat? | Max Lahiff

How do professional athletes eat and train?

What does A Professional Athlete eat and How Do They Train?

This was the second time that I sat down with Max Lahiff from Bristol Bears. Max is building a long term career in rugby, aided by his progressive t
training outlook and dedication to nutrition.


Check out the full interview below:

Training History

As a strength and conditioning coach, Max is the ideal athlete due to his growth-mindset and willingness to try new things. Athletes like Max are happy to move away from traditional methods of training and embrace change. However, it’s important to note that Max has a large training age. He has been consistently training for around 15 years, mostly in a professional environment.

In our interview, he talks about how, as a coach, you can get stuck on a method because you know it works. This is very true; we need to explore different techniques and be open to new ideas. Max now has massive variety in his training – yoga, swimming, rock climbing and BJJ, to name a few.


Since lockdown, Max has been playing around with his nutrition. He has tried intermittent fasting and it’s now something he recommends for changing or adapting your body composition. Don’t be afraid to try something different, plan and give yourself time to adapt and see if it works.


Pro Athlete Training



Max’s goal for the off-season is priming his body for the season ahead, which means improving his ability to produce force. He understands now that his strength loads are going to drop during the season, especially if he is playing a lot. That’s ok. As noted in the Athlete Tribe’s “Peak vs Optimal Performance” post (read it here), peak performance is impossible every day, and that actually is not the plan. Max’s goal is to be “an impact athlete” when the time comes.


During the season – within any sport – it is a balancing act to develop and maintain strength and power. We love the fact that Max used to feel guilty if he wasn’t hitting big numbers in the gym during the season. Now, he understands that this does not need to be the case. He has found that his performance is now much more consistent with the game energy. One thing that he looks to monitor is jumps, and he knows that he is on point if his jump numbers are good or getting better.

Outside of Rugby

With lockdown, a lot more people have had time on their hands. Max understands the importance of doing things outside rugby. He is big into his films and driving deep into the making of the movie.

Max is always one for doing different things. He is now teaching himself to write with his non-dominant hand, as he read that this can improve motor skills and neural connections.

As always, Max has been practising breathwork – his primary focus is Wim Hoff breathing. He has recently finished Hoff’s book, which he strongly recommends. Max also talked about his sauna sleeping bag, which he loves for recovery.

We can all sometimes get too engaged in a project, way of training or goal. It’s important to step back and take a look at the whole picture. Remember if you get stuck or are not sure what to do, read our Key Performance Messages blog here.

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Enjoy your training and performance.


Director and Founder, The Athlete Tribe


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