A week in the life of Steph Houghton

The England and Manchester City star reveals what it takes to be captain of club and country. Hope you like smoothies...


Day off

More after the break

9am Get up. The day after a game I’ll treat myself to a well-earned lie in.

11am Head out with a few of the girls for brunch to refuel and relax. We’ll have a coffee, smoked salmon and egg, toast and a bagel. I’ll rehydrate and keep the weight off my legs. 

1pm I’ll watch Made In Chelsea and Geordie Shore at home while using a foam roller for 20 to 30 minutes. I work on every muscle, making sure that I don’t feel stiff or have any knots in my quads and hamstrings. 

10.30pm Time for bed, as I have to be up at 7am the following day.


Back to training

8.30am Arrive at the training ground for breakfast. There’s cereal, toast, fruit and yoghurt available to choose from. 

10.15am A 15-minute pre-activation workout – deep squat stretching and a few jumps to prevent ACL injuries. 

10.30am During the session we’ll play small-sided games, then a possession game and a 4 v 4 or 3 v 3 match.

12.30pm I’ll have chicken or turkey for lunch, with salad and vegetables. 

2pm We head to the gym, where we do squats and lunges (three sets of eight reps). We do a bit of upper body and core work in between, too.

3.15pm We have smoothies. There’s a bit of protein in them, but it’s just to get something into your body – it’s a long day and you need the right nutrition to help you recover, ready for the next day.


Upper body work

8.30am Breakfast. It’s important to fuel the body for training. 

9.30am We’ll do an upper body circuit in the gym for 45 minutes. Our focus this season has been bodyweight exercises. Then we move on to doing some shoulder presses, press-ups and bench presses. 

10.15am We’ll do our pre-activation routine and then start training. This will focus on our next opponents, working on defensive shape and possession games, before we have a match at the end of the session.

12.30pm Lunch after training.


Recovery day

9am We’ll get more of a lie in and have our breakfast at home.

11am During training, one group will perform Pablo Zabaleta’s yoga workout. They follow a video he recorded with the instructor; it takes about half an hour to complete. The other group will be in either the ice bath or the swimming pool, doing stretches or going on the water treadmill to loosen their legs. When I have an ice bath I’ll usually do one minute in the ice and one minute in a warm bath, and do that five times.


Double session

8.30am Back in for breakfast.
10.15am During the morning training session we’ll do some tactical work ahead of the upcoming match on the Sunday, and also some possession and attacking work, before breaking off for lunch at around 12.30pm.
2pm In the afternoon we’ll do our second lower body gym session of the week. It can get pretty intense!

3.15pm Smoothies again afterwards. I have a night-time protein shake as well, which is low in calories and prevents you from snacking. I’ll have that every night.

Final preparations

11am We’ll warm up in the gym and then go out and do a possession game. After that it will be walkthroughs of tactical stuff, ending with set-pieces and discovering the team for Sunday.
12.30pm We’ll have lunch, then I’ll try to go to a Manchester City home game or watch my boyfriend Stephen Darby playing for Bradford City.

7pm Saturday night is all about putting your feet up. I try to stay awake long enough to watch Match of the Day, but it doesn’t always happen!

8.30am I wake up feeling excited and I can’t wait to get going. I’ll have some porridge for breakfast.
11am If it’s a home game we’ll head to the training ground. My pre-match meal is chicken, rice and tomato sauce, which is what I’ve had since the World Cup in the summer. 
1.15pm The warm-up will include jumps, squats, skipping variations and a bit of ball work, then I’ll do some passing and heading with the other centre-half. We’ll have a Lucozade before the warm-up and at half-time.
2pm Game time!
4pm After the match we’ll cool down with some stretching and then we’ll go home, put our compression gear on and do a bit of foam rolling. Some people like to have ice baths, but it’s also nice to go and see your family.


How Houghton stays a step ahead of the rest

8.5 The number of hours Houghton sleeps on a typical day
28 The average number of litres of water Houghton drinks during a week

9.9 The average number of kilometres Houghton covers during a match
32.5 The average number of kilometres Houghton runs during a week
42 The average number of high speed runs Houghton makes during a match

Steph Houghton wears the official Manchester City training apparel available now on nike.com

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