THE Vikings linked up with the Royal Marines for a community cooking extravaganza at Stadium Fitness.
The First Team, under 19’s, Under 16’s Academy players and their parents took part in a cooking class with a difference as the Royal Marines came to town to reinforce Vikings in the Community’s healthy eating and lifestyle messages.
Colour Sergeant Mike Beaton spent the day with the Vikings and he delivered a series of workshops in a bid to educate players and parents of the benefits of cooking from scratch.
The partnership with the Vikings came about through Widnes’ Head of Strength and Conditioning Clive Brewer who worked with Colour Sergeant Beaton in his former role at the RFL and most recently with Scotland RL at RLWC2013.
Brewer said: ‘It was a hugely successful day for us because 11 of the First Team players were able to benefit from Mike's visit and the new aspects he introduced them to.
‘We're trying to turn these players into 24/7 athletes and this gives them an opportunity to learn how to cook for themselves and get hands on with food.
‘The Academy lads are in full time education alongside their practical Rugby League side of things, so they were keen to learn how to cook and develop what is a key life skill at their age.
‘We also brought the scholarship lads down, along with their parents which was a great experience all round, they're eating the food, trying the food and getting others involved.’ Ed Tooley, Vikings nutritionist, was also there to cast his eye over the session and he passed on some worthwhile advice.
He said: ‘People can get caught up in special diets or routines that they see in magazines but the main thing is to go back to basics and use fresh, good food. Buying food that has good quality proteins in, healthy sources of fats, a good range of fruit and veg and good carbohydrates is important and of course people need to stay hydrated.’ Colour Sergeant Beaton said: ‘It was a hugely successful day. I taught the players and parents that it’s important to ground yourself by working from scratch with raw ingredients, cooking them and then cleaning up after yourself afterwards.
‘I enjoyed working with them and passing on my experiences to them, as well as talking to them at length about my time with the Royal Marines.
‘For the 16-year-olds especially who are still staying with parents, it’s about teaching them to fend for themselves and be able to do things such as this, because there will probably come a point where they move out and have to get on with activities like this.
‘Another important message that I relayed to them was that 'food is money' so every time their parents cook for them it is costing hard earned money to do so.’ There’s also another strand to the day and that’s a career after Rugby League or for some players, before it even begins.
Colour Sergeant Beaton added: ‘I know the Vikings are looking after their players and educating them. However, if a young lad fails to make it at the Vikings, or in Rugby League for that matter, then they can at least consider an alternate career with us in the Marines.
‘If they enjoy the physical activity then a career at the Marines is ideal because of the outdoor activity, intense exercise and discipline that we instil into them.’