Nick Youngquest talks yoga, green juice and grooming

If you’re a NRL fan you’ll probably be familiar with Nick Youngquest already. Born in Sydney, Nick traded rugby league for the runway a few years ago. He’s now based in New York where he has carved out a successful second career as an international model. Nick is also the face of Paco Rabbane Invictus. We caught up with the former footy star and convinced him to share some of his health and fitness secrets.

On Twitter you describe yourself as a yogi. What sort of yoga do you do? And how long have you been practicing for?

I started doing yoga when I was a professional sportsman. But really couldn’t dedicate too much time to it as I was doing a lot of other training. Since stepping away from sport I’ve been practicing yoga a lot more. I do hot vinyasa yoga and have practicing consistently for around three years now. I’m lucky to have a couple of great teachers in New York who change up things up a lot. I love doing something different all the time.

What changes have you noticed in your body since practicing yoga?

Flexibility is obviously one big thing. Guys are generally quite inflexible as it is. But an even bigger change has been the mental side of yoga. I’ve felt more relaxed in myself. We live in such a fast-paced world. Everyone is working so much and under so much pressure. I think it’s nice to dedicate an hour to yourself where nothing else matters. That’s what I feel when I hit my yoga mat. I zone out and sort of forget about everything else. I’m actually thinking about taking a course to become a yoga teacher. If I have enough time that is!

Lots of men are still resistant to practicing yoga. What would you say to guys reading this who have never tried yoga before?

Obviously a lot more women do yoga compared to men. But, interestingly enough, I’ve been seeing a lot more guys start practicing yoga in New York. It’s a bit of a fad right now. I think you can go to a yoga studio and get a bit bogged down by what other people can do, whether that’s handstands or whatever. But yoga isn’t about comparison. It’s about what you can do to improve yourself. So get out there and give it a go. You never know you might like it! And if you don’t at least you’ve tried it.

How do you start your day?

My ideal day would start with surfing but it’s a little bit difficult to do that in New York! So, I’ve been doing a lot of morning yoga these days, which is a great start to the day. I’m also really into juicing right now. It’s been a great thing to incorporate into my diet. A nice green juice after yoga is perfect.

What’s your fave breakfast?

Poached eggs and a green juice. Really it’s quite simple and easy.

Do you cook? And if so what are your go-to healthy meals?

Yeah I cook a lot actually. It’s evolved over time but Japanese is my favourite food and it is quite simple to prepare if you know what you’re doing. When I first started making Japanese it tasted was awful but now I’m quite good at it. I go buy fresh fish from a store near me in New York and then make it into sashimi.

Any health secrets you swear by?

At the moment it would be the juice nourishment. I try to mix it up a little bit and I’ll go from red juices to green. It’s quite cool to experiment. It’s been good for me I think stepping away from sport to try a few things. I used to be a lot bigger and now I have the ability to experiment and to explore what works for me. The most important thing finding what works for you as everyone is different.

How do you train?

My training has changed a lot now since I’ve finished professional sport. I do yoga four days a week and I some weights around two days a week. It’s more high intensity and I don’t need to be as big as I was when I was playing footy. Like nutrition, you have to find what works for you in terms of training. I also like to do different things and mix things up. When I come home to Australia I’ll just surf every day.

What are your secrets to achieving and maintaining a six-pack?

To be honest I don’t really think about it all too much. It’s about having a healthy diet, training and having fun with it. Enjoying yourself rather than thinking about achieving a goal like a six-pack. For me, yoga obviously helps a lot and just eating the right things.

In your opinion, what are the most effective body weight exercises and why?

Using a TRX is obviously pretty great, and they’re become more prevalent in the gyms these days. I would say chin-ups, dips, push-ups, body weight squats and lunges.

What are some of your fave active wear labels?

I work with The Upside and have been lucky enough to do a nice collaboration with Jodhi and the team there. But I think what’s most important is to wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

You’re the face of Paco Rabbane Invictus. How would you describe the fragrance? What qualities does Invictus bring to mind?

The fragrance was designed to capture essence of a champion. So it’s quite fresh and masculine but there’s also a sensuality to it as well that’s quite different to other sports fragrances.

What else is in your grooming kit?

I think grooming has come a long way over a short period of time. I’ve always had cleansers and moisturisers and people probably used to look at me like I was weird back when I was playing sports. But I think it’s more common for guys to take care of themselves now. It feels like a reward.

Name three things you can’t live without.

Surfing, training and healthy food.