Former AFL star Colm Begley talks us through the eye-opening diet of a top GAA player 2 years ago

Former AFL star Colm Begley talks us through the eye-opening diet of a top GAA player

Looking good has a cost.

Being conditioned requires work. On the field and in the kitchen.

Colm Begley knows a thing or two about what it takes to reach the top and how everything he puts into his body affects his training and his performance.

He was a professional sportsman in Australia for four years and, since he's come back to Ireland, he's only gotten stronger, faster, leaner.

It takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice though, especially in his diet. Below, Begley walks through a standard day's eating with SportsJOE.



“I would like to cook more eggs but I’m too lazy to do that so porridge in the morning.”




Picture 1685


Chicken/Fish/Red meat
Mainly vegetables with it
Small bit of carbs - sweet potatoes
Small bit of brown rice

“I would have a lot of red meat and then probably chicken or fish once during the week. A small bit of brown rice – a very small amount of that unless it’s a heavier training week. On a heavier training week, I’d maybe have two handfuls of rice or more sweet potatoes.”


After-gym smoothie

Strawberries, kiwi, little bits of oats, whey protein, milk.

“I've been having more smoothies recently and I'd put my protein in with a smoothie if I’m just trying to cut myself down from eating too much. I’m a bit of a snacker overall, I kind of have little bits here and there."



Homemade protein bars (Nutribullet)

"I blend a few things together, nuts and stuff like that."

Protein bar


Fish oils

“I try to get a lot of good fats in for recovery. That’s what I’ve been concentrating on improving in the last while, getting those fats in.”



Peanut butter
Natural yogurt and fruit/Smoothie

“I’ll not lie to you, I’m a big fan of chocolate to be honest. I’ll usually have at least one bar a day.”


It's comforting to know that even the finest of specimens enjoy a treat.

Having been immersed in the professional AFL life, Begley knows that eating of any sort is most important - particularly after game day. The former Brisbane Lions player recalls the days that him and his team mates would spend two hours out, just eating breakfast on a Sunday. They were replacing the energy used up the day previous. They were told to eat. Simple as that.

Even now, he allows himself to pig out every now and again.

“It’s usually kind of 80-20 as the rule goes," he said. "Most of my days will be really good but then I’ll probably blow up one day and have a pizza or something. You need that, like. I’ve never really had a problem with skinfolds and my body fat hasn’t been too bad.

“There’s a lot of veg in my diet.

"I try to stay away from bread – that’s hard to do sometimes. Maybe a wrap once in a while for lunch.

"When you’re training so much, you kind of have a little bit more leeway. You could be eating carbs or eating as much as you want but as long as you’re training, you’re burning it off."

Put in the work and the rewards are obvious...

Kieran Donaghy, Tommy Walsh, Joe McMahon, Tadgh Kennelly, Pearse Hanley and Colm Begley 2/11/2011