Strong Friend Tania Rosser: Being a professional athlete meant the equivalent of 3 full time jobs
Tania is a powerhouse - representing Ireland in Rugby and Touch Rugby, motherhood, working with kids with learning disabilities and being at the forefront of the development of women’s rugby on the international stage - Tania does it all with an amazing level of intensity.
We met last year as I was a sponsor of the Irish Overs Touch Rugby Team and I learned a little bit about Tania. I was excited to speak to her and learn more about her achievements. I am looking forward to watching the Irish Overs Touch Rugby team through their preparations for the World Cup in Malaysia this year. In the meantime, check out Tania’s story.
What’s your “day job”, your specialty and passion?
I'm a Learning Support Teacher that specialises in teaching children with with learning disabilities, or children that have difficulty in certain areas.
I also coach rugby with the mens team in Clontarf FC.
Describe the journey that got you here
I grew up in a rugby crazy house and although my parents loved rugby as a child I was never allowed to play, so played netball, basketball, touch rugby and athletics at school. Once I moved to Ireland and discovered that netball wasn’t competitive I decided to take up rugby and I haven’t looked back - three world cups later and 58 caps for the Irish Women’s Rugby Team, a Barbarian FC player - I say I had a very successful career!
How did you find the transition from athlete to getting back into working life?
I guess this for me was easy as I had never stopped working while being an international athlete. The biggest transition was having a lot of down time now and not having to schedule my training sessions around my work schedule and family commitments.
What’s great and what is difficult about what you do?
The greatest thing about being an international athlete was meeting new people and travelling the world! The difficulty was holding down a full-time job where I was working up to 50 hours a week as a sales manager, being a full-time mum and training as a full-time professional. I had to make sure I fitted in all 3 areas into my life.
Unlike professional male rugby players that get paid, I had to hold down a job to cover the bills as well as train as a professional. You can look at being professional in two ways - 1 - those that get paid for training and playing the sport OR 2 - Being Professional or elite - means you're all in! No question - you give 100 % to everything you do - attitude, nutrition, sleep, hydration, the way you train, your mindset and your daily routine. I was the later. Although i wasn't paid to play international rugby, I never made an excuse not to do my best.
What does your personal exercise routine look like?
My training routine is very different now to when I was an international athlete. When I was playing international rugby I could've trained up to 3 times a day which would've consisted of weight training, conditioning, skill development or on pitch rugby sessions. I would've also included a mobility and speed sessions within that week. But the most important part of my training was the importance of sleep. Many athletes wonder why they haven’t made many gains and I truly believe that it is often due to lack of sleep, during my last couple of seasons I made sure I was getting up to 9-10 hours sleep each night.
Now my program looks very different, my main focus now is my nutrition and have been lucky enough to find a program that works and only wish someone introduced me to it while I was an international rugby player!
I now go to the gym 5 or 6 times a week which will include a variety of training sessions - HIIT, Weight Sessions, cardio - rowing, running, mobility sessions and core. Due to my training age - I find that I can get gains faster than most. I tend not to do the same routine in the same week. I often turn up and just hit out whatever I feel like doing rather than sticking to a strict training program but I will always finish a workout with a cardio chaser! The fun of not being international rugby player anymore...
What is the one thing that you wish people knew about being a female professional athlete?
As an athlete we want to feel that we have some ownership of what we do, so get our buy in from the start! Female athletes like to know why they are doing something rather than just being told to do it! We often like to ask questions - not to be disrespectful but because we just need to understand what is required.
Female Athletes are built differently to men so don't prescribe us the same nutrition, strength and conditioning programs as our male counterparts!