Kalyn Ponga has some friendly advice for kids – be nice to your parents.
The Newcastle Knights star took part in a fun experiment that compared how many calories a stay-at-home parent burnt per day compared to a professional athlete.
He was left in charge of four children and a dog while a sports dietitian and camera crew tracked him performing normal parental duties.
These included making breakfast, cleaning the house, changing nappies, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, and taking the kids to the playground.
A device monitored his energy levels and measured his steps.
Ponga said the challenge was exhausting, but also eye-opening.
“I’d like to think I’m quite physically fit, but the challenge that a parent faces through their daily chores were actually harder than I expected,” he told Newcastle Weekly.
“The hardest thing for me was actually folding a pram – I couldn’t work it out, it was so hard.
“Cleaning, fixing breakfast, and doing the laundry were also equally as difficult.”
The results showed Ponga burnt about 1,988 calories over a 10-hour period, about 1,300 more than he would in an 80-minute professional rugby league game.
Ponga was confident of winning prior to the challenge but, soon after it had finished, said he would not dispute the findings.
The 20-year-old added it gave him a newfound respect for what his, and many other, parents did each day.
“As a footy player, we’re on the field for 80 minutes and we can put our boots straight up afterwards,” he said.
“As a parent, it’s a 24/7 gig and it’s not just the physical but the mental element that can really drain you.”
Ponga said he had another “10 or 20 years” before he would start thinking of kids again and was relieved to return to training with the Knights.
“I’m excited to be in the camp for a while then, after that, it’s into trials,” he said.
“It’s a good way to wrap up two-and-a-half months of preseason training.
“The vibe is really good, and I think everyone’s feeling excited to get into the season.”
The Stay at Home Athlete experiment was conducted by V8 Juice.