'103kg at 5'10. I can't be playing at this. I felt slow... probably why I tore muscles'
A self-described gym rat, Nowell says a spell on the sidelines saw him bulk up while rehabbing from an injury that effectively wrote off most of the second half of his 2020/21 season. Already a fan of weight training, Nowell admits that he’s now concentrating on rugby rather than the weights.
Nowell has now shed 10kgs – or approximately a stone and a half – dropping down from 16 stone 3Ibs to a more manageable 14 stone 10Ibs. It’s significantly less weight to be carrying around the training pitches at Sandy Park.
Nowell isn’t the only one to drop mass over the break. England teammate Manu Tuilagi also shed 6kgs over the summer after he loaded on an excess of muscle, also having been sidelined with chronic injuries. Both he and fellow Sale Sharks centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg decided to slim down following the Shark’s disappointing finale to last season’s Gallagher Premiership.
“I guess after the disappointing loss against Exeter, ‘the Beast’ Rohan said to me, he asked the question, do you think you are fit enough? Were we fit enough to play that game? It was a tough question to answer but it probably was true (they felt they weren’t),” Tuilagi told RugbyPass recently.
Both Tuilagi and Van Rensburg now weigh in at 110kg and 109kg respectively.
For Nowell, it was about being faster and avoiding injury, with the Chiefs’ winger told The Offload podcast that he made the decision over the summer.
“I love weights, I love lifting. I think one of my main issues is how much I do like lifting, and I think my position I can’t get away with it. I’m all about hypertrophy.
“If the conditioner says four reps, I’m like no, 12.
“In the semi-final against Sale last season, is as the heaviest I’ve ever been. I was 103kg [at 5’10].
“That’s a whole year of rehab. I was like ‘I can’t be playing at this. I feel slow’. It’s probably partly why I keep tearing my muscles.
“So I came back into pre-season at 93kg, so I lost 10 kilos.”
The new, lighter physique seems to be working for Nowell, who’s seen a change on the training pitch.
“That’s probably why I’m feeling pretty good and running around a lot better than I was before.
“I’ve dropped the weights and concentrated a bit more on rugby. It seemed like a sensible decision.”
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