Vancouver’s Theo Sauder, 24, has played both 7s and 15s rugby, appearing on the World Cup squad in 2019 and also plying his trade for a time with the Toronto Arrows Major League Rugby team. Now training with the 7s squad, Theo is working toward his Olympic dream in 2021. A fast-paced runner, Theo’s explosiveness impresses anyone watching whenever he has the ball in hand. Theo shared some of his secrets with us on the elements he uses to help maintain his iconic speed and explosiveness on the field:
How has your fitness routine changed going from the World Cup into the 7’s Series?
TS: My prep going into the World Cup was a bit different from most as I was just coming off of a significant shoulder injury. Most of my prep was just focusing on getting back into shape coming off that injury. The 7s Series obviously provides some different fitness challenges. In the 15s, a lot of the focus is on power because you can afford to take longer rests throughout the 80 minute game. However, the 7s game forces you to go full out for the whole 14 minutes so it requires a bit more endurance and cardio to be able to do that 6 times a weekend.
Speed and explosiveness are a big part of your game, what kind of exercises do you do to help maintain those elements?
TS: Our strength and conditioning coaches do a great job of creating programs that are tailored to each player. My program in particular involves a lot of weighted explosive jumps, often with a trap bar or dumbbells, as well as some variations of different medicine ball throws. These explosive exercises are often paired with some strength-based exercises like bench press and rows.
What is your favourite at-home workout to do during quarantine?
TS: When I work out at home I like to go on longer runs down to the beach or around the neighbourhood because we don’t get to do that often during our regular training.
How important is nutrition to you and what do you like to make at home?
TS: Nutrition is key in making sure your body is fuelled up for practice or a game. I like to try and make things that have a nice mix of protein, carbs, and some veggies.
What is your favourite cheat day meal?
TS: I’m a sucker for a good cheeseburger. I’ve been known to frequent White Spot every now and then.
What are some of your fitness goals moving forward?
TS: Moving forward, my current main goal fitness-wise is to continue improving my cardio so I can reliably play for 14 minutes in a row.
How have you changed your workouts to accommodate injuries?
TS: Due to the injuries I’ve had to my shoulder, my strength coaches have been really accommodating so I usually have modifications to my bench and shoulder press exercises.
How do you recover after a long day of training?
TS: After a long day of training I usually hop right into the sheets for a quick nap and then make sure I fuel up with lots of food. I also make sure to get lots of sleep so I’m ready to go for the next day.
Speaking of sleep, how important is it to your training and preparation?
TS: I try to get at least 8 hours in but if I have the option, I like to get close to 10 hours of sleep which isn’t a tough sell after a hard day of training.
How would you compare middle of the season training to pre-season training?
TS: Training in the middle of the season revolves around the guys making sure we’re all on the same page with our schemes and plays while getting the bodies feeling good for the upcoming tournament. Pre-season however is all about getting your base fitness and strength numbers up so you’re ready to compete for the upcoming season.
Who are some of your rugby inspirations?
TS: Growing up I loved Shane Williams from Wales and more recently Damian Mackenzie. Since I am not very big, I drew a lot of inspiration from watching some of the undersized stars go to work.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
TS: In my spare time I like to try and get outside as much as possible so some hikes and a swim are always nice activities to keep your mind off rugby. It’s also nice to stay off your feet and hangout with the boys by grabbing some coffee or some food.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
TS: In 10 years I will probably be done with rugby and I can see myself thriving in the business world in some capacity.
If you could be the best in the world at any sport other than rugby, what sport would that be?
TS: I think basketball would be pretty cool. Throwing down some dunks in front of millions doesn’t sound too bad either.