Kalyn Ponga diary: A day in the life of an NRL player

By Kalyn Ponga.

A normal training day for me would usually see training start at 7am.

That was the case today, so I woke up at 6.20am.

I start my day with breakfast as soon as I get up.

I tend to eat the same thing of a morning which is coconut yoghurt, mixed with some muesli and berries. 

I live with Connor Watson and he drives us to training. 

We tend to arrive at the training ground in Mayfield around 7am. 

I tend to fluff around in the morning and chat with the boys until around 7.30am.

By then I'll either have physio or go in for monitoring. 

Monitoring gives our High-Performance Unit a reading on how we are feeling that day. 

It takes into account how we slept the previous night, how many hours we slept for, how we are feeling, if we have any injuries or niggles that popped up overnight or from the training session before.

We usually have a team meeting at 8.30am, so between 8.15am and 8.30am you tend to chat to the boys about what the meeting is going to be about or what the training day is going to be.

Some days are better than others.

Monday tends to be a lighter day in the grand scheme of things, so those days we don't get too nervous or stressed.

Our meetings go for around 15 minutes which means we have 15 minutes to get sorted and onto the field.

Lately we've been doing a lot of running and skills.

After training we spend around five minutes doing compulsory stretching with the entire team.

Some of the boys stay on the field and do a few extras afterwards.

I'll do some kicking with Mitchell Pearce and the forwards might work on their play the balls. It always varies.

After we leave the field, we have our protein shake, which is a bit of a treat at the end.

It's chocolate flavor, so it's pretty good.

After drinking that, I'll see the physio again and then hit the shower.

After getting changed, some of the boys have media but today I don't have anything until weights, so I head to lunch inside Wests.

Monday is hot food and Tuesdays is cold food.

The hot food is my personal preference.

The weights group you're in will determine how long you have to eat lunch.

I'm in the second group today which means I can take my time and rest up a little.

Weights this year has been really good.

It's more timed and more intense.

The boys are lifting really well too.

We have the music blasting and if you are on the decks and you don't play good tunes, the boys will let you know.

I'm in the backs group for weights so the music usually rotates between Tex Hoy, Connor and myself.

Tex is probably taking more control these days as he's got a few good tracks in there.

I'm not too sure who holds the forwards down but I think Dos (Aidan Guerra) controls the tunes in that group.

After the gym, we shower again and then seek out the assistant coaches.

This is something we started doing this year.

The boys will go and see Shep (James Shepherd) or Wolfie (Kristian Woolf), depending on whether it is attacked focus or defense focused and review the training session.

After training, Connor and I tend to go down to the beach.

We will also go for a bite to eat because we get hungry after the gym.

I'm lucky I have just started working with Active Foods and they send me pre-made meals, enough for Connor and I to have one a day throughout the week.

If we don't eat at home, we go out.

A place called Lulu's, which is in the city, is a crowd favourite.

Harry's Schnitzel, in Market Town, is another regular spot.

After an afternoon at the beach we get home between 5.30pm-6.30pm and Connor starts cooking dinner.

He tends to cook meat and vegetables. Tonight, we are having lamb and salad.

Our salads are pretty good.

We have Tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, fetta and cashew nuts in the salad.

I rate it. After dinner, I do the dishes. I usually finish the dishes between 8pm-8.30pm and then sit down to review video from our training session earlier in the day.

It takes around half an hour.

We use this system called 'Game Plan' which lets you log in and watch your footage. It's good to watch it back and identify areas where you can improve.

Connor watches his back too.

By that point, we are both usually pretty buggered so we just either chill out and put a movie on or I go to my room and play a little PlayStation before going to sleep.

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