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David Barlow: Fighting Fit

Last week was big for David Barlow. While the CPA Australian NBL All Australian Tour gave him the opportunity to return to Beijing for the first time since the 2008 Olympics, it also marked his return to basketball. Ongoing problems with tendonitis – inflamed by intense training schedules while playing Europe – finally caught up with him, and he forced him to sit out the entire 2015/16 NBL season. “I was coming off my injury so when I knew I wasn’t going to play the season - my entire goal was to build up to these off-season games,” said Barlow. “The three-day camp before this tour was the first time I’ve played five on five on full court. It’s been tough, I’ve had limited on-court preparation. Being the best you can be on the court is a long process.” The Victorian signed a two-year deal with Melbourne United in 2014 – averaging nine points across the 25 games in his first season before succumbing to his Achilles injury. “I spent a lot of last season in the weight room, which is usually the initial phase of the off-season. I had to build up strength and then I started slowing training with our assistant coach Mike Kelly on the court.” While sidelined, the 32-year old also turned his attention to nutrition, and alongside his wife, wrote an e-book for their online training program, teambarlow.com.au. “Preparation is the biggest thing, and diet is obviously a large part of that,” he said. “My general philosophy is to eat a largely unprocessed diet, especially eliminating sugar. That being said, it varies hugely for me, depending on the time of year it is. “As soon as the season finishes, I’m in the weight room depending on how much weight I’ve lost during the season and I’ll eat less, because I’m not going to try gain a crazy amount of weight at that time. “Then when I start doing cardio – everyone’s body is different, but when I do cardio I need to eat more to maintain weight. I don’t break my macros down like some people do, but I’ll eat more or less depending on how I feel.” With the tour taking place in China, the three-game series was always going to be a physical challenge for the Olympian, while maintaining his diet in a foreign country would prove to be another test. He even took food with him.

Packed for tomorrow's flight to China. Wish I could bring him with me.

A photo posted by David Barlow (@davidbarlow20) on

“In China it’s a different story – you’re in a different part of the world that is unknown. The goal is don’t get sick, don’t lose weight, while trying to have as much energy you can to play a game and be at your best. “In Australia, you’re not concerned about getting sick. You just want to be at your best for the game. “I’m trying to still have a mix - rice, vegetables and some type of meat, like chicken, would be a good meal for me here. “I bought a bunch of canned tuna and beans, and canned salmon and beans. They have been very helpful for me in between meals and on travel days – that’s the killer. “When you’re flying and when you’re on a bus – you need to really think about what you are putting in your body. “Some times in China you have to take a hit and eat something bad without starving. But those cans have helped me out a couple of times.” After more than a year on the bench and in recovery, it was in China Barlow showed glimpses of greatness – a significant step towards his anticipated NBL return. “I felt physically ready - other than cardio. It’s been tough to match that fitness and I’m struggling with that still. I’ll need a full NBL pre-season, and games, to get that back,” he explained. “Mentally ready – yes, I want to get out there and play. I’m ready as hell for that. But can you be mentally ready after not doing something after 16 months? No. You just have throw yourself into it.”
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