Andrew Henderson, is the current & 5 X World Champion Freestyle Footballerand the UK Freestyle Football champion for 8 years running. He has always been passionate about sports and played championship rugby until one unfortunate day in 2008 when he had to put his sporting career on hold due to a severe leg break. But this did not deter him as he continued on his endeavor to become the youngest (at age 19) world freestyle footballer champion at the time, despite what doctors recommended.
Obviously, every day looks different for you as it seems from your Instagram that you are travelling very frequently, but when in London what does a day in the life of Andrew look like?
Every day is different for me. I always try to mix it up as I think doing the same thing every day becomes boring. I love training martial arts so I try and get in around 2 sessions per day (usually of jujitsu or striking ), 5 days a week at Elevate Martial Arts in Richmond. I often shoot commercials or have meetings throughout the week so have to make sure I am organised as I am always busy. I am currently not training as much freestyle football as before, but I used to train around 6 hours per day 6 days per week.
Is all of your training skill-focused or do you have any other training interests (weights/fitness/hobby sports)?
With freestyle football I train mostly on the skills but I sometimes spend time working on different movements away from the ball that require gymnastics or breakdance elements that I need to work on separately. I have been into lifting weights and have no idea what I bench, squat or deadlift etc. I often play tennis for relaxation or canoe on the Thames. In the Winter I like to go skiing and snowboarding, but these are all more because I enjoy being active and not really to benefit my freestyle football skills.
How much focus do you place on recovery? (Sleep, massage or any alternative methods like cryotheraphy, acupuncture, cupping etc)
I have experimented with changing the amount of hours of sleep I get a lot over the past year and I have found that the best method for me is to sleep around 8-9 hours per night. I think that everyone is different when it comes to sleep and I often see top businessmen and women talking about how they sleep only 4 hours per night etc to maximise their daily output. I tried this and although I could fit more into my day, I felt I wasn’t fully focused and my body wasn’t recovering fast enough to keep up with the increased output and a lowered recovery time. I found that with that kind of schedule I also started to become more injury-prone. So now I stick to 8-9 hours on average per night and have never felt better. I don’t have massages, cupping or anything else too often, but I stretch every day and use the foam roller a lot as well.
Do you follow any diets or simply just see food as fuel?
I have been doing intermittent fasting for the past 2 and a half months. It is amazing. I highly recommend it if you want to lose body fat whilst still maintaining your energy. I usually have 19 hours of no calories then I consume healthy food within 5 hours for example. I have my first calories of the day with a meal at 4pm, a snack at 5pm, another meal at 6pm and a further meal at 8:30pm. I have a cheat day once per week where I eat whenever I feel like it. There is science behind the cheat day that says it actually showed little to no effect on the body fat loss rate which is great because it means it isn’t setting me back at all. When I do eat I eat healthy food mostly.
Tip: did you know many professional athletes use MCT oilas part of their intermittent fasting diet? Try it in your black coffee in the morning! ☕
How about supplements?
I use a combination of Truth Origins supplements daily. I particularly am regimented with the Curcumin, but also use Vitamin C, and Omegas. I have tried a few different protein powders etc but still haven’t found one that I have stuck to for any real length of time. If anyone has any suggestions hit me up! 😊
You defied the odds and despite a serious leg break (and being told you may never play again) you have shown extreme determination to be where you are today. What was your biggest driving force/ motivation?
1) Knowing I am going to die eventually
I know that one day I won’t be able to kick a ball up and down and I won’t be able to train martial arts again. When I broke my leg, it took those things away from me, because I got told that I may never walk again and will definitely not play sport again. To get back to full fitness after being told this means I am motivated every day.
Knowing that I have found things I love and being so grateful for finding them and being able to do them every day. I am blessed to have these opportunities and to honour that blessing I have to work my hardest to make the most out of those opportunities to be in a position to inspire and give back.
How important are goals for you? Do you have any you are currently focusing on?
Goals are super important. I say be as optimistic as possible especially if you have found what you want to do. You don’t have to tell anyone about them but tell yourself them every day. Get on the path to achieving them as soon as you can, and you will figure out how to get through the obstacles along the way.
I have achieved most of my goals in the sport of freestyle football. But one of them is to create my own academy teaching skills. I have run camps across the US and other countries, but I do not have a facility of my own to teach regularly at the moment. I feel that I owe this to the sport of freestyle football and I will make sure that I build this in the coming years.
In martial arts I will keep training in multiple disciplines and try my best to learn as much as I can. I take massive inspiration and encouragement from the coaches at Elevate in Richmond and will be proud to represent them this month in the London Warriors Cup BJJ competition. This will be my first martial arts comp ever and I have no expectations. I am going in to learn & enjoy it and support everyone from the club!
Shani Kaplan is a contributing writer for Truth Origins. She combines her knowledge gained from working within the fitness/wellness industry in Sydney and London for the last seven years as a Personal Trainer, and class instructor, with her addiction to research due to her BA in Business Marketing. Shani loves martial arts, resistance training, dance and yoga, nutrition, travel, design, photography, and art.