Adelaide local, Rory Laird, a two-time AFL All-Australian as a defender and has assumed greater responsibility in the midfield in recent years leading to winning his second Malcolm Blight Medal as the club's best and fairest in 2021.
With his Sunlighten infrared sauna playing an important role in his recovery, immunity and overall wellbeing, read our chat with Rory to learn more about why he prioritises recovery and turning to at-home wellness to keep up his performance during the football season.
Sunlighten: What made you decide to get a Sunlighten Infrared sauna?
Rory: I have always been thorough with recovery in between games and training sessions and have always loved saunas. With Covid hitting, there was no chance of being able to use public saunas and I had recently seen other athletes have infrared saunas at their homes. This was a perfect opportunity to invest in a Sunlighten for my home.
Sunlighten: Tell us about your performance/fitness and recovery routine?
Rory: As an AFL player we play every weekend with 2-3 training sessions in between which include running and weights training. I spend a lot of time in the cold pool/ice bath and have regular massages post games and training sessions. At home, I also try and stretch/foam roll once a day.
Sunlighten: How do you integrate your sauna into this program to help you recover faster and be at your best on the field?
Rory: Initially it was about finding when was the optimal time for me to use my sauna in season and trying out a few different things. I use it between 2-3 times a week, usually the day after a game integrated with a cold pool session, then during the week either after the main training session or on our half-day of training. I don’t use it too close to games and have also used it after a night game to try and help me sleep.
Sunlighten: What benefits have you noticed in your recovery/energy/general wellbeing after using your Sunlighten Infrared sauna?
Rory: There are numerous benefits I have seen from using my Sunlighten sauna. It has improved my sleep post-game which I have always struggled with due to the adrenaline of playing, I usually have a stretch in my sauna so general muscle soreness and flexibility feel a lot better post a session, it is also a great space to just get time away from my phone and relax.
Sunlighten: What are your three favourite functions/settings to use and why?
Rory: I have looked at some of the programs and tried a fair few of them out. The relaxation one after training is fantastic and the muscle recovery I usually use after games to help get the initial soreness out. The fact that you can have your music or podcast going and/or Netflix and Foxtel are an added bonus.
Sunlighten: What does your morning routine look like during the season?
Rory: Morning routine for me is pretty simple, wake up around the same time every morning, make myself a bowl of oats with banana, chia seeds, walnuts and honey + a big glass of water, and make sure I’ve got all my stuff packed for training, clean my teeth and then grab a coffee on the way into the football club.
Sunlighten: What’s your favourite way to sauna?
Rory: My favourite way to sauna is to listen to podcasts, I’m a big American sports fan and there are multiple ones I listen to, I’m usually in the sauna anywhere between 20-40 minutes so I get to listen to a fair chunk of them too.
Sunlighten: What are your top 3 tips to stay motivated across the season and achieve your fitness/performance goals?
Rory: I think the biggest one for me is having a routine and sticking to it, determining what works for you and makes your body feel the best it can be going into a game. With this, I concentrate on having a good training session on our main day, recovery (massage, pool, saunas), and then hydration and nutrition are massive for me. I want to be able to perform at the top level every game.
Sunlighten: Why would you recommend Sunlighten saunas for people wanting to improve their fitness/recovery?
Rory: Having a personal sauna is an amazing tool to have. The flexibility of being able to use it at any time gives you an advantage over other athletes. The health benefits not only for fitness levels but recovery levels are well worth the investment and I'd highly recommend looking further into it if you're serious about improving either of these.
We would love to know the ways in which you are beginning to explore the world again, and using travel as part of your wellness journey.