WOW HYDRATE ambassador, Sale Sharks and England centre Manu Tuilagi has been out with a torn achilles since September, but he’s been working hard to make his long-awaited comeback.

WOW HYDRATE Protein and Electrolyte waters have been aiding Manu’s recovery, and last month the brand captured his first outdoor run since his surgery.

Here he reveals what’s kept him motivated during his recovery, and what he has planned for the future.  

Q&A With WOW HYDRATE Ambassador Manu Tuilagi | Men's Fitness UK

Tuilagi is nearing his long-awaited comeback

How did the injury happen?

Playing a game last season against Northampton, I got tackled from the side and both my weight and the tackler’s weight was on my achilles.

I thought someone had kicked me in the back of my leg, and I looked back at the tape and no one was there – I had just snapped it.

My initial thought was, you know, Not again! It feels great just to be out here on the grass. It’s been a long time since I have run, so it feels amazing.

I have been indoors for the last four to five months so it’s nice to be out. I feel free!

Q&A With WOW HYDRATE Ambassador Manu Tuilagi | Men's Fitness UK

Where are you at with your recovery?

I’m on time with my recovery. The guys here – Nav (physiotherapist Navdeep Singh Sandhu) and the Medical Team – have helped me a lot.

And The WOW HYDRATE drinks have assisted with getting me back to this point.

I have also been enjoying a range of different activities, from hiking to salsa dancing. I wasn’t keen on the hiking at first, but now I’m loving the walks in the Peak District – it’s beautiful.

How have you stayed motivated during your recovery period?

I always have that picture in my head of the day that I come back playing. My motivation is my family really – my wife and two kids. We have just had a little boy so that’s the reason I get out of bed in the morning.

One of the most valuable things in life is experience, and that’s definitely made me a lot stronger. If you’re positive in your mind, your body can feel it.

Q&A With WOW HYDRATE Ambassador Manu Tuilagi | Men's Fitness UK

How do you incorporate WOW HYDRATE in your daily diet?

During off-feet conditioning, I will always reach for an Electrolyte, then after training I will grab a Protein.

The drinks are an easy and convenient way to add nutrients into my diet. They’re scientifically proven, sugar-free, fat-free and low in calories, so perfect for me. And it helps that I enjoy the flavours!

Summer Fruits and Tropical are particular favourites. The drinks have made it easier for me to get to this point in my recovery, because I enjoy drinking them.

What’s next for you?

I’m excited to get back on the field training and hopefully playing soon. I’ve also got some exciting things coming up with WOW HYDRATE – I’m really looking forward to it.

Q&A With WOW HYDRATE Ambassador Manu Tuilagi | Men's Fitness UK

Dr Sarah Schenker, leading UK Dietician, media spokesperson and WOW HYDRATE Nutritionist, has been following Manu Tuilagi’s recovery journey with us…

“As part of his recovery programme, Manu has been consuming 1-2 bottles of WOW HYDRATE Protein each day to maintain muscle mass and increase the rate of recovery. The general feeling is that he is healing well and is able to return to light training on schedule.

“Adequate protein consumption is an important consideration for an injured athlete as they are only able to perform a limited amount of training to maintain strength, fitness and muscle mass/bodyweight, depending on the nature of their injury. As such, diet and nutritional components such as collagen become a key focus for the recovery strategy.

“Food diary analysis shows the contribution made by consumption of WOW HYDRATE Protein to his branched chain amino acid intake and distribution throughout the day, both of which are important factors in aiding recovery.

“The analysis has shown a 30% increase in branched chain amino acid intake with WOW HYDRATE Protein consumption. The relevance of this increase cannot be underestimated as there is substantial evidence that consuming branched chain amino acid accelerates recovery of damaged muscles.

“In relation to the proven benefits regarding collagen, vitamin C and vitamin D it is highly likely that consumption of WOW HYDRATE Protein is a significant factor in his recovery.”