Melissa Hickey has made history in 2017 playing in the AFL’s first national women’s football competition for the Melbourne Demon’s Football Club. Melissa now plays for the Geelong Cats and has gone from strength to strength in the game. When she is not being one of the best defenders in AFL, Melissa is a fitness consultant by day. Here, Melissa shares how she stays in shape and her what a typical day on a plate really looks like. How would you describe your relationship with food?

Very good, I love food! I love fresh and organic food and enjoy eating food out and cooking at home. I also love the occasional sweet treat too! What are your 3 golden rules for staying in shape? 1. Keep yourself motivated by setting goals. It is a lot easier to work out and do a session if you have a purpose and something you are aiming for. 2. Make sure you do something every day, even if it is just going for a walk. It’s important to remain active but to also listen to your body. 3. Everything in balance and moderation, I allow myself treats and foods that I am craving as I believe this means I eat less and fulfill my needs.

Name 3-4 foods you can’t live without. Bananas, bread, chicken and spinach. What is your eating philosophy? Fresh and organic food that is as unprocessed as possible. More items from the fridge and less from the pantry. What is something about you that nobody knows? When I first started walking, I walked on my tippy toes! Describe your typical day on a plate. Breakfast – I am not usually very good at exercising in the morning, so I generally work out later in the day, or in the evening. I always start my day with a good breakfast. I generally have a smoothie blended with IsoWhey protein powder, banana, some beetroot and plenty of fresh spinach. Sometimes I might add some nuts, cacao nibs and coconut when I feel like a different flavour combination. Snack – coffee and a piece of fruit or a muesli bar. Lunch – salad mixed with fresh seasonal vegetables and tuna or a chicken salad sandwich on wholegrain or spelt bread. Snack – a slice of spelt toast with almond spread, sliced banana and rice syrup on top – usually eaten one hour before training. Dinner - usually I will have a light wrap or a mixed salad with protein like fish or chicken. I also love having burritos, home-made sushi bowls and homemade burgers and have these whenever I can. Describe your training and exercise during the season, including recovery etc.

During game time and in the lead-up to the AFLW season kick-off in March, training and exercise was 6-7 days per week. We train together as a club on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – this is usually a combination of football-based training (around 60 minutes of craft, skills and team drills), conditioning (20 minutes of high intensity running, interval running, sprint work), lower body strength session (30-45 minutes) and recovery (15 minutes).

On top of the club training, I also try to complete two upper body sessions throughout the week, plus an off-legs condition session like boxing or HIIT sessions. I will also either go for a swim or do some Pilates, depending on how my body is feeling. Want to train like Melissa? Try a HIIT or Pilates class at Fitness First. Download a free trial pass to get started.


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