How Nairn’s Oats Help Fuel a Flanker’s Training

John Barclay

With the Six Nations now in full swing, I can’t afford to drop the ball when it comes to my training routine.


I’m asked at every press event how I keep match fit and prepare my body and mind for the physically gruelling sport that is rugby. As most sporting professionals will tell you, preparing for a match doesn’t begin and end on the field. To be able to focus and perform to the peak of my ability, I have to eat right.


Good nutrition is one of the biggest factors in ensuring I’m ready to tackle the opposition. Many people think that the physicality of my day-to-day routine means I could probably eat whatever I like, but my diet has to work with my training so I can condition properly. I’m lucky that I have the support of team nutritionists and dieticians to help me make the right choices, but as a native Scot, Nairn’s products have always been a staple, as eating oats has so many benefits.


Pre-Workout Breakfast


I’m typically up early so the less I have to prepare for breakfast, the better! Nairn’s Gluten-Free Oat Muesli is ideal for the start of my day and is an easy base for overnight oats, with enough unrefined carbs to help fuel the muscles I work. Taste-wise, I enjoy the combination of wholegrain oats, sultanas, cranberries, flax and sunflower seeds, and nutritionally, oats slowly release energy throughout the morning, meaning I’m alert during my early weight training. My typical routine includes deadlifts, squats and vertical pulls, with an emphasis on explosive and powerful movements. Simply put, a quick coffee isn’t going to cut it!


Mid-Morning Fuel


To keep my energy up during mid-morning drills – which usually involves endurance and cardiovascular exercises like Wattbiking or SkiErg – healthy and convenient snacks are my go-to. I’ll usually keep a few pouches of Nairn’s Oatcakes in my training bag. They’re all high in fibre, though I tend to stick to either Cheese Oatcakes or Fine Milled Oatcakes, which are packed with key vitamins and minerals. There’s no fussy preparation, and they taste great on their own so I can grab a stack whenever I need a boost (though if I was at home, I might eat them with a topping).


A Hearty Lunch


For afternoon pitch training, which focuses on ball skills and drills, forwards and backs split into separate sessions. Being a flanker, this part of my day typically involves ruck drills and testing my technical prowess, so I need a proper lunch that won’t make me sluggish. Nairn’s Rosemary & Sea Salt Flatbreads are a solid choice as bread is normally out of the question. They’re pretty tasty with smoked salmon and avocado so I’m getting good fats into my diet, or sometimes I’ll have them with a big mug of hearty and filling soup while watching performance playback.




Everything about professional sport comes down to discipline, but we all need to treat ourselves every now and again. Nairn’s Chocolate Biscuit Breaks are one of my favourite sweet treats on a recovery day or after a wellness exercise like swimming or a foam roller session, as they have less sugar in them than many sweet biscuits on the market, and also provide the benefits of wholegrain oats.


A nutritious and well-balanced training diet is essential to my success on the field and so many of Nairn’s products fit into my strict diet, providing me with the energy I need during training. Many of them use gluten-free oats, which the sporting world is starting to embrace more and more these days. Training at Oriam will be more intense than ever, but with a fair wind, at least we can look forward to the smell of oatcakes being made down the road at Peffermill!

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