We caught up with Silver Fern Captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio to find out how lockdown affected netball training, balancing being an athlete with motherhood, and her favourite cheat meal.
What does Netball mean to you?
It’s an evolving thing for me. When I was a kid, I started playing because my friends played and I thought it would be fun. Over time it became something that was so important for me, being a regional kid and a kid from a rural town, not from the city, I didn’t have as many opportunities and it became really important for me to showcase that kids with less can still get there. Now, netball is a vehicle for me to lay down foundations for young girls following in my footsteps.
How did lockdown affect your training schedule?
Lockdown was a bit of a roller coaster for me emotionally and in the training environment. Training was probably the one thing that kept me sane and it took me about 1-2 weeks to really fall into a consistent training routine. I found that if I trained first thing in the morning the day sorted itself out after that. I was lucky enough to be able to take equipment from our high performance gym here and we also have a decent flight of stairs at the top of our street, so I was up and down those stairs quite a lot and it was actually really cool figuring out ways to get what I needed from training in a completely different way.
How do you balance your training schedule with getting your family ready in the mornings?
Sleep as a parent is quite elusive, but as an athlete it is a vital part of recovery, so I find myself being pulled in two different directions. I have recently got into an amazing morning routine where I wake up early to meditate, practice a bit of yoga and intentionally set up my day by writing how I want to feel with affirmations. Getting up early and making sure that I am in a good position by the time my three-year-old Ocean wakes up makes the morning much easier.
Feeding him Kids Good Stuff helps too. Ocean is a bit of a fussy eater sometimes but he begs for Rich Chocolate KGS all the time as he thinks he is having chocolate milk. It is great because I know that he is getting the nutrients he needs and he absolutely loves it. I rely on good food to keep him healthy and he hasn’t been sick for so long, so I really believe it is the KGS. Whenever he is starting to get a sniffle he gets ‘chocolate milk’ and he thinks it is the best thing ever!
How do you recover post training and games?
I learnt the importance of recovery later into my career. I no longer recover when I need to recover, it is something I need to participate in directly after every training. Refuelling as soon as I can is important for me as I lose muscle mass quickly, so I always have my Nuzest Clean Lean Protein and Good Green Vitality shake after each session. I have been taking Nuzest for about six months and I have really noticed a change. I notice the times I don’t have my Nuzest shake, I won’t feel that great after training, my recovery slows down, and I start to swell up.
What's your favourite cheat meal?
This is a hard one because I really love food, but I am a hot chip person so burgers and chips for me is my go-to. A really good burger, but when I have a cheat meal, I still try to add salad or vegetables so I still feel ok about it.
What's the secret to on-court success?
I’ve always believed in putting in the work and doing more than what is expected. I always look for ways I can do a little bit more and try to get an edge on whatever the activity is, this has served me really well. My number one thing is being vulnerable and selfless for my team. The more that I am able to freely give 100% of myself to my teammates and listen to what they want to do, the better I’ve felt in the team and the better the team has been a cohesive unit.
What’s the next big goal for you?
I would love to play, captain and win the next World Cup in 2023! If I don’t end up captaining, I would love to be there and be a part of it no matter what. I believe that whoever is right for the job will be there anyway.