There is so much that goes into becoming a professional athlete.
Professional athletes need to be able to accept criticism, stay cool under pressure, and possess a strong sense of self-confidence. While so many of these traits are required for an athlete to achieve new heights in their sport, perhaps the most important trait that an athlete can possess is self-discipline.
Self-discipline comes in many forms. It includes eating right, working out consistently, and maintaining a strict recovery routine. Nobody knows this more than USA Eagle and Exeter Chiefs fly-half, Megan Foster.
“Oh, it’s vital,” Foster said “Recovery is absolutely huge and each year it’s more and more important. It is honestly what allows me to train and play at such a high level.”
Foster has a decade of rugby under her belt, but she’s been playing sports at a high level for much longer than that. Before she decided to give rugby a try, Foster was a varsity soccer player at Chico State University.
“There was actually a club team that was local when I was in high school,” Foster said of her awareness of the sport. “Rugby was still pretty new to the area at that time, so a couple of the cities formed a single team and they tried to recruit me in high school, but it was always the same season as soccer. Soccer was ultimately what I went to college for initially, so I never played rugby. It was always in the back of my head though, wondering, ‘what is this sport?’, and ‘would I be good at it?’”
After two years of varsity soccer, Foster recognized that it was time for a change.
“I played two years of varsity soccer at Chico, and then I decided to make the switch my sophomore year because I just wasn’t getting everything that I wanted out of being on the soccer team,” Foster explained. “I was like, ‘Hey, you want to keep playing a competitive sport, you’ve heard about rugby, and it seems really cool.’ One of my roommates at the time was a Chico State rugby alumni. She was obviously egging me on. So, I went for it, tried it out, and fell in love with it.”
She accelerated quickly through the rugby ranks. During her four years of rugby at Chico State, she got involved with the Collegiate All-American program. She earned her first cap at the 2016 Women’s Rugby Super Series in Salt Lake City, Utah. Most recently, Foster played in the Eagles’ 2021 autumn tour against Canada, England, and Ireland. Her recovery approach and routine has become more serious throughout the course of her career.
“I played soccer, volleyball, and basketball in high school. In high school, I doubt there was much recovery that I participated in,” Foster laughed. “I didn’t really learn about it much until college and even more so post-college.”
It was rugby that ultimately taught her not only the importance of recovery but the best ways to approach recovery as well.
“One thing that I really like about rugby and the teams that I’ve been on is that they really prioritize recovery,” Foster said. “They preach about its importance, and I’ve had many people along the way to help show me how to recover.”
One of the driving forces in that process has been USA Rugby strength and conditioning coach, Sylvia Braaten.
“We have Sylvia Braaten as a part of our USA program as our Strength & Conditioning coach and she’s been absolutely vital for us,” Foster said. “She is always searching, learning, growing and sharing information with us that includes nutrition, different techniques to roll out your body and obviously stretching and mobility. I love using all of those methods.”
One of the other big changes in Foster’s recovery routine has been the implementation of Wintergreen products.
“We’ve had the Wintergreen products introduced to us which have been super awesome to me,” Foster said of Wintergreen. “I’ve loved it.”
Whether Foster needs to get warm before a workout session training, needs to treat her sore muscles after a tough training session or hard-fought match, or just needs some lotion, she turns to Wintergreen.
“One of my favorites is the hot muscle cream,” Foster said. “I do tend to get some strains around my hamstrings or my hips. There is always a little something that’s tweaked, so I love using the hot muscle cream as something that is just going to provide warmth to those achy muscles.”
“The magnesium lotion is something that I use practically every night to help with my recovery.” Foster added.
As Foster continues to play rugby at some of the highest levels in the world, she knows that recovery will only become more and more important.
“We always like to say as a team to ‘Win the Recovery’ because it’s that important,” Foster said. “I’m still very healthy, and I’m very fortunate.”
With that mindset, it’ll be tough to get Foster off the pitch.
Banner photo credit: Travis Prior
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