An Interview with Malakai Fekitoa - 'Balancing the Game'
Born and raised in paradise, New Zealand rugby union player, Malakai Fekitoa,
has loved playing local rugby from a young age. Through that love of rugby, he started playing Sevens for Tonga and toured New Zealand triumphantly, making his mark on this country and his reputation back home. After that tour, he was offered a place at Wesley College in Auckland to complete a rugby scholarship.
He has played for the Blues and the Highlanders in the Super Rugby, New Zealand in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the Top 14 French team, Toulon, and has now hopped over to the UK’s Premiership Rugby side, Wasps.
While also juggling his impressive rugby jobs, he has also been working on another passion that he holds, very essential for any athlete, his health, partnering with Nuzest as their brand ambassador.
Founded in 2012 by Sydney-based New Zealander Trevor Bolland, the company has provided high results for the best balance with elite athletes, health-lovers, on-screen talent, and people in general.
What does rugby mean to you?
Rugby means everything to me. As a kid, it was the only sport I knew. It was something my whole family got involved with. Most of my 13 siblings play and we spent all our extra time and money supporting the village teams.
As a young kid, I always dreamed of playing rugby professionally and making it to the World Cup, so achieving this is just unreal. With rugby, I can share my talent, give back to the community and help make people happy.
How did you start playing rugby?
I am from the Islands where every kid plays rugby. It was all we did every day.
What inspires you?
Me and my family grew up in a tough situation and the only way we knew how to escape it was to play sport. Not for the money, but for the experience and learning opportunities. I am also driven by bettering myself and making it to the next level. I want to be better, off and on the field.
With rugby, I have been able to teach my family so many things. I get to travel the world and learn about health, fitness and business - all of which I take back home.
In France you get paid very well, but for me a big motivator is to be better. I want to improve in rugby and learn more. I believe England is great for playing rugby as they teach the players the science behind the sport, so we really get a good understanding of what is going on out on the field.
For me, playing with the Wasps is great as I can learn so much and grow not only as a player, but a person.
What's your next big goal?
Winning. I feel like we are entertainers; people pay good money to see us play and we need to give back to them by winning. I looked at playing for a championship team, but being in a club team and contributing to their improvements is fulfilling. I feel as though I am giving back and making a real difference.
We have won a couple of trophies and a championship so far. It is rewarding for the supporters when we win, so that is what I really strive for.
What does your training look like?
We train Monday to Friday. We start with a debrief on the past week’s events, move into the gym for an hour and a half, have a
break then move to the field, where we play a game against each other. If we don’t have real games, we increase the intensity, but if we do, we tend to walk through plans and prep for the week.
After lunch, we usually do skill training. Thursdays are usually a big training session, more power training in the gym. Then Friday is a much lighter, recovery type of training.
Most days we clock close to 10km of running. It gets tough, but we are ready to go for Saturday.
How do you maintain peak performance?
With rugby, we learn a lot about health, nutrition, mindset and goal setting. The food I eat, the amount of sleep I get and how I prepare for a game is very important. I tend to keep to the same routine with food, more importantly before a game. If I find a food that helps me play well, I stick to it.
It is how you work as well, working smart.
I know I am strong mentally and rain or shine, I have to put in the effort. Recovery is very important. Straight after the game, I have a protein shake, get on the bike for about 10-20 minutes then do a few ice bath immersions. Good nutrition is very important for my recovery, to replace the energy lost during trainings.
How do supplements make a difference?
I found that supplements have really helped me with my performance, especially Clean Lean Protein and Good Green Vitality. The difference I have felt with Nuzest products compared to other supplements is massive.
I love the gym and I love working out; I have been doing this from a young age. I usually had whey supplements, as they were readily available, however I often felt bloated, heavier, and bigger. With Nuzest I noticed the weight lifted, my skin fold and body fat percentages reduced and I got stronger and leaner. I feel a lot better and can perform better.
What do you love doing outside of rugby?
I love getting outdoors, hiking and hanging at the beach. Getting out of the house and travelling, taking photos and capturing places I have been.
Lately I have been trying to make time for everyone, especially my friends, wherever I go. I have been in Europe for three years
and I often won’t see friends and family for a long time, so I try to get everyone together for dinner or a catch up. I like to connect with people and nature, so any time I get off I try to do these things.
Any advice for performance?
Just believe in yourself, keep dreaming and work hard. Make sure you set small goals for yourself so you can reach the bigger ones.
Surround yourself with good people.
Supplement with great products like Nuzest, take care of what you put in your body and what others put in your mind. If you have that, you will go a long way in life and sport.
As featured in M2 Magazine December 2019