He’s not eating, he’s not drinking but Gold Coast’s Adam Saad is in career best AFL form.
Saad, a practising Muslim, is observing the holy month of Ramadan which stretches from May 26 to June 24 and requires him to fast during daylight hours.
Saad has been fasting during Ramadan since his teens but in 2017, as the Suns chase the AFL top eight, he is especially keen to shrug off the effect the month usually has on him.
Starting his day at 4:30am Saad wakes before sunrise and eats toast, cereal, fruit and smoothies and will then rest for a few hours before training with the Suns.
“We finish around 11:30 then I’ll go home, play the Playstation, then I’ll sleep for a couple of hours. Then once I break fast I come back and do weights,” Saad said.
Saad has been heavily encouraged to partake in Ramadan by the Suns, with their back-room staff developing specific dietary and physical plans to best supplement his changed habits.
And for Saad Ramadan this year has coincided with his rise as a more versatile footballer.
Saad has always been known for his electric pace and run and carry but he says a renewed focus on his defensive efforts and conditioning has led to his improvement in 2017.
He has worked closely with Suns co-captain Steven May on his defensive positioning and repeat efforts this season.
And it paid dividends on the weekend against Hawthorn when he won a one-on-two contest in the first quarter as the Suns fought hard for their fifth win of the season.
The 22-year-old has also played all 11 of the Suns matches this year after suffering soft tissue problems in his first two years at the club.
His pre-season also featured training with four-time Olympic 5000m runner Craig Mottram, who he credited for his improved endurance.
“I feel like it’s helped my game massive amounts, I’ve improved my endurance… we were going for 35, 40 minute runs which is something I’ve never done before,” Saad said.