Chris Dry shares hit fitness tips with Top Billing
After being told that he was "too small" for rugby Chris Dry put in the necessary work and became a rugby star. We caught up with him to hear all his fitness and diet secrets.
1. Could you tell us about the early days of your interest in rugby i.e. your school days in the Free State?
I was always interested in the game of rugby growing up in Cape Town but I think after moving to the Free State the love of the game started growing. Grey College has a an incredible history grooming plenty of Springboks and Free State players. For a kid like me being surrounded by all this, all I wanted to do was become a professional rugby player. I remember my first year in Bloemfontein and missing rugby trials and not getting the opportunity to play that year. After that all I wanted to do was be on the rugby field so never missed a single training session.
2. You were considered “the wrong size” for the sport back then, how did this impact you?
I was always seen as a small kid. I wanted to play in the forwards but was first placed on the wing. As I grew older I picked up a few kilograms but so did everyone else and always found myself being too small to fit the profile of a flank forward. I was always forced to avoid contact rather than engage in it and was a constant battle to be seen by the selectors. I always trained hard to be fitter than the rest but was always seen as too small. I was selected as a back up to the “A” side and always found myself in the second side.
3. What did you do in reaction to this?
I think not being a first pick always gave me something to work for and never being given the chance to become complacent kept me working hard. Thinking back, it was very frustrating knowing I worked so hard but never reaped the rewards back then.
4. What workouts really aided you with bulking up?
I have always combined cardio with my gym workouts. Often I would go through a phase of just gym work and get great results but after cardio was introduced lost a lot of the bulk. Key for me was is to be both strong but explosive at the same time. For me, my body reacts very well to power sessions and after that doing exercises that isolate certain muscle groups . I can therefore focus on areas that I feel need work.
5. What is your top dietary tip for someone who wants to be the required size but stay healthy?
One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that everyone is different. Don’t try to put on weight as quickly as possible. Consistency in your volumes and eating habits are more effective and works better for me than phases of just eating a lot. We often get confused with supplements replacing good food. When trying to pick up some kilograms well-balanced meals and discipline are required for best results.
6. Did you ever have doubts that you would make it as a professional player?
Yes, I always knew I was good enough and always had the support of my friends and family but this game has plenty of external factors that always places some doubt.
7. What advice do you have for young athletes who may have initially been overlooked?
Hard work always beats talent in the end. There will always be a door to knock on no matter what level you are at. Make sure that when the door opens you are ready for the opportunity so you can go through it and knock on the next one.
Photos: Eunice Visagie