Rachael Burford: Low Points In My Rugby Career Tested Me, But Giving Up Was Never An Option

'They are the times that make you stronger.'

England Rugby player Rachael Burford believes you don’t get anywhere in life without a large helping of hard work.

The rugby union player first picked up a ball when she was just six years old, following in the footsteps of her mum and sister. Now at 31, she has gone on to represent England at four Women’s Rugby World Cups.

She won the World Cup in 2014 and went on to play in every match for the 2017 Six Nations Grand Slam winning team.

Burford was also awarded the Rugby Players’ Association England women’s Player Of The Year award in 2014 for her efforts to the sport.

“Every second person in rugby will have lows at some point but the goal is always the same, you want to be the best,” she told HuffPost UK as part of our ‘Fit Fix’ series.

“So giving up is never really an option.”

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My Journey 🌎

What do you credit to your success in your fitness journey?

“Hard work, more hard work and some more hard work! It’s as simple as that.”

What’s one of the most memorable moments in your career and why?

“Winning the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. I had been attempting to win this since 2006 and came up short twice. Finally achieving the gold medal and being crown champions of the world was incredible.”

Was there ever a low point where you wanted to throw the towel and how did you get past it?

“Of course, many of times! But they are the times that make you stronger. Getting a serious injury makes you want to give up because all you want to do is play and you can’t. Being dropped or feeling like you won’t get picked can make you think, why bother? But this is where your resilience, determination and your strength of character are tested. Every second person in rugby will have lows at some point but the goal is always the same, you want to be the best... so giving up is never really an option.”

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My Training 💪

Talk us through your week in fitness.

“Monday - prep and warm-up (30 mins), weights (60 mins), conditioning (30-40 mins) and skills (40 mins). Tuesday - prep (30 mins), weights (60 mins) and club (2 hours).

“Wednesday – prep (30 mins), conditioning (2 hours) and skills (40 mins). Thursday – prep (30 mins), weights (60 mins) and club (2 hours).

“Friday - prep (30 mins), light bike/weights/activation/skills (30-40 mins).

“Saturday – game day. Sunday - rest and recovery.”

What’s your favourite type of workout and why?

“I have a love/hate relationship with the watt bike. They are always such tough sessions but you feel you can really get something out of it by going balls out on the bike.”

What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?

“We have rest days scheduled in but I am also at a place in my career where I know my body very well and if I am too tired, I will rest. My favourite way to spend it would be doing not a lot!”

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My Food 🍳

What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?

“I always have eggs or a shake in the morning and my lunch and dinners are based around lean meats and vegetables or salad. If I’m struggling for energy, I will increase my carbohydrate intake to provide me with more energy.”

What are your pre and post-workout snacks?

“I don’t really like eating before training, but if I feel I need the energy I will have some fruit or nuts. Post-workout it will always be a protein shake.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?

“That you need fuel to perform.”


My Motivation 🙌

Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?

“Worry about me. Prove them wrong. Be your biggest ally.”

Do you always have goals you are aiming for?

“Yes, I always try and aim for something every time I hit the pitch of the gym – small goals lead to the big ones being achieved.”

What’s your ultimate workout track and why?

″‘One dance’ by Drake. The beat just makes me smile and gets me moving.”

The Harlequins Ladies play their home matches at Surrey Sports Park and it is free to attend.

Fit Fix’ is a weekly dose of fitspiration from leading athletes and fitness fanatics. Each week we chat to stars about their weekly workouts, the food they eat and what keeps them going.

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