Nice to Meat - James Simpson (GB Under 23 Hockey Player)
By Sam Wass, Medium Well
James Simpson is a hockey forward with the GB Under 23s, who is aiming to break through to the full GB Squad in 2017. Originally from Dagenham in Essex, he is currently a student at King’s College London, and we were delighted he made the time to talk with us.
What is a typical day training for you?
We meet at the pitch at 9am every morning, and begin with an extended warm-up led by the strength and conditioning coach. Then we will have a two hour training session on the pitch. This will often involve small sided games, 1v1s, or 2v2s, 'ticky tacka' and specific position training. Then we break for lunch, and at 3pm we go back out for our second pitch session, which will be something like a full pitch game or tactical run through followed by short corner practice and then some individual training. This session lasts for 1.5hours, and then we head to the gym for a session with the strength and conditioning coach. By 5:30/6pm we are finished, and get in the car and head home.
What do you eat on a training day?
I usually start with granola and currants. For lunch I normally have a pasta based meal with either chicken or beef mince and stir fried veg. A favourite for dinner is a homemade carbonara with a ham chunks and some wilted kale or spinach. It is quick and easy to make and fills you up after a hard day training! I learnt to make it from scratch when I lived and played in Italy. Snacks throughout the day would typically include a granola bar, tangerines or other fruit.
What do you eat on a non-training/cheat day?
My meals don't really change that much on a non-training day partly due to the fact I train most days. However if I do have more time in an evening I like to a good steak with rice peas and broccoli.
What meal do you eat most often?
That would have to be chicken in a homemade tomato sauce with leeks, mushrooms and wilted kale served with pasta.
What is your favourite meal?
Roast lamb dinner, although I don't have it very often and it always reminds me of home.
Is what you eat essential to your training and recovery?
Absolutely, it is important I eat the right foods so I can repair the damage caused by training, building muscle and strength and be able to train again the following day. As a student athlete, I need to eat well to ensure I have the energy to perform to my highest ability, both mentally and physically, for the whole day, as I am fitting a lot in.
How do you stay motivated?
My biggest motivation is always the next challenge. When it is cold and horrible and we are running pitch lengths I always motivate myself by saying that this hard work will enable me to go to the World Cup or Sultan of Johor or whereever the next test series is played, hopefully somewhere hot!
How do you like to relax?
I’m a bit of a book worm so when I have some down time I love to get my head into a book. Mostly history books but I do also like a good thriller. The occasional beer with mates is also a good way to relax, if I’m being totally honest.
What are the big goals you are aiming for?
I had a pretty terrible year injury wise in 2016, and I only managed 1 national league game and 1 and a half international games, so the big goal for this year is simply to get myself well and then get fit again.
Beyond that, the aim has always been playing hockey at the Olympics so making the squad for Tokyo 2020 is the big dream for the next few years.