VIKINGS nutritionist Ed Tooley says the club is in great shape both on and off the field ahead of the new First Utility Super League season.

Tooley, 30, has been with the club since the Vikings were in the National League, and on the eve of First Utility Super League and Widnes' clash with London Broncos, he reckons the club and its players have made phenomenal progress.

He said: "The club has definitely made great strides both on and off the field since I arrived in 2010 for the pre-season of 2011. What has also altered has been the players’ attitude towards life at the club. Many of whom went from semi-professional standard to full-time Super League and are starting to grow into better, more polished players."

Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts and Head of Strength and Conditioning Clive Brewer moved swiftly to secure the services of the England Nutritionist back in 2009 and there’s been a lot of hard work put in from all sides, especially the players who are buying into the philosophies Tooley has impressed on them, and the key thing is it’s working.

Tooley said: "From my point of view some of the players have improved their eating at home habits which is reflected in their body composition that is tested regularly. The tests are all about identifying whether they are at the required weight and are making the right choices. However, it is only a guide, and we politely give some advice on what they can do, should their results fall below standards."

The Vikings nutritionist outlined the great work the First Teamers have undertaken in conjunction with the dieting advice they are given in order to develop their bodies for Super League action.

He added: "The boys have worked very hard this year and I can see the adaptations to their physique and the fat to muscle ratio has improved as well. There has not been too much of an impact over Christmas, which has not always been the case over the years at other places I've been.

"We give the players a rough guide on what they should eat, do, or reduce in their diet. There are normally 3-5 tips we give them, which are easy to manage and more importantly attainable.

“Other players prefer an approach where we tell them exactly what to do, and write their shopping lists and things down for them. It really does depend on the player themselves as to how far we go with our advice. We also meet with the coaches and strength and conditioning staff to devise plans for individual players in accordance with their outlook and wishes.

“The Widnes players have a great coaching set up behind them and I work closely with them on all nutritional advice. I think we work well together in ensuring the players are prepared and there’s no stone that doesn't go unturned.”