Anthony Mullally Talks Cold Water Swimming

You might recognise Anthony Mullally from his incredibly successful rugby career, which has included over 200 senior appearances, 2 world cups, and 1 super league grand final trophy so far.

But alongside his career as “The Vegan Warrior” on the rugby pitch, our ambassador Anthony is also refreshingly passionate about sustainable living and helping people to reconnect with the natural world, through integrative practices like breathwork, cold-immersion and mindfulness.

His mission? To break down stereotypes of masculinity, and help others rediscover their connection to their authentic selves and the natural world we live in. You can get a real taste of all the amazing work Anthony does with cold water and breathing in this video!

We caught up with Anthony to discuss more about his mission, his passions, and his top tips for getting into cold water therapy.

For people who don't know you, tell us a bit about yourself and your mission.

I've been working as a professional rugby player for the last 12 years, but in recent years I've started to transition into the wellness space, holding retreats for men and various workshops for people.

My mission is to help reconnect people with our natural environment, as I feel there’s a disconnect between ourselves and nature on a mindful level...

And creating space for men to break down stigma surrounding masculinity - well, this came about from my experiences in the professional sports industry, and seeing how certain actions people make in order to be seen as a man/masculine can be really detrimental.

I host seasonal men’s retreats with Josh, who you probably know as the Vivo Life co-founder. You can find more details on my next one here.

What made you switch to a plant-based diet?

A tri factor of reasons: for my health, the animals and the environment.

My lifestyle is far from perfect, but I try to choose the path of least harm within my sphere of control, and being plant-based seemed like the best option. This didn't affect my performance on the rugby field, so I was able to still continue with my career without having to compromise my morals.

You’ve done a lot of work with cold immersion and breathwork. How did you get into that?

I originally got into breathwork with the aim of improving my sporting performance, not with coaching in mind. But once I delved into the science of respiration and learnt how, as a society we aren't breathing to our full potential, I felt a calling to try and promote this. This led me down years of training with different schools of breathwork, taking different protocols from each.

The cold exposure was similar: I used to get lots of ice baths after rugby training with the team and we all hated it. But once I learned the benefits I started to enjoy it. Funnily enough, our body responds differently to most active sympathetic responses when you are consciously applying it, as opposed to it happening to you. So now I incorporate breathwork into my workshops and retreats with the aim of helping people to push the edges of their physiology, so that they have a better handle of their psychology.

What’s your biggest tip for someone who is interested in cold immersion, but doesn’t know where to start?

You won't know your cold tolerance until you expose yourself to it, so starting slowly and progressively extending the exposure time is key instead of trying to stay in for 10 minutes your first time. Also, the temperature: ease into this at the same time and progressively get colder as you adapt. Of course consult your doctor beforehand if you have any pre existing heart conditions.

What are your top three supplements?

  1. Creatine. For me creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market for maintaining and building strength.
  2. PERFORM is my favourite protein for sure, such a great protein with super clean ingredients. 
  3. Omega 3. I have this every day without fail; Omegas 3 and 6 are really important for the brain and something I’m really conscious of getting enough of in my diet.