Professional rugby player, Tom Youngs puts his body through more than most on a daily basis. Having represented Leicester, England and the British Lions in a professional career that has spanned 12 years, the 29 year-old faces a constant battle to recover and refuel during a season in which he trains and plays 6 days a week.
Renowned for his intensity and physicality on the pitch, Tom is also known as one of the sport’s good guys off it. Having recently purchased a Mammoth Performance 240 Superking from Colourbank in Leicester, we caught up with Tom to chat about giving 100% on the field, sleeping effectively and facing New Zealand Captain, Richie McCaw.
If you had to describe your rugby career in three words, what would they be?
I think that would have to be – Enjoyment. Love. Honesty
How would your rugby teammates describe you?
I’d like to think they would say I was 100% committed to the team. It is important to me that I leave everything out there on the pitch and, win or lose, never get back into the changing room thinking I could have given more.
What would class as your proudest moment – either in sport or outside of it?
I’ve had many proud moments on the rugby pitch. Making my debuts for Leicester, England and also the British Lions has been special, but nothing comes close to the birth of my daughter.
If you weren’t playing rugby, what job do you think you’d be doing?
Most likely a farmer.
Who would be the toughest player you have ever come up against?
There are plenty of players who I would consider to be tough, but the ultimate competitor would have to be the New Zealand Captain, Richie McCaw. He’s just retired from rugby, but he’s done something nobody has ever done before – leading a team to back-to-back World Cup wins.
What does your typical training regime involve?
It can vary quite a lot depending on whether it’s pre-season or towards the back end of the season, but I’m generally playing or training six days a week. That includes lifting weights in the gym; training out on the pitch as a team or unit; and going through recovery and rehab sessions. Typically the only day I get off during the week is a Wednesday at Leicester.
Can you tell us what your targets are for the rest of the season and into next?
The main goal at the moment has to be getting Leicester into the play-offs, with the ultimate aim of winning the Premiership. In order to do that, we are going to have to work incredibly hard as a team and simply focus on improving on a daily basis.
Mammoth mattresses are known for their health benefits, particularly for people recovering from injury or taking preventative steps to maintain condition. Have you suffered any injuries during your career? If so, do any of them still hinder you today?
Yes, I had to undergo a back operation in 2011. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with my back, which is probably part and parcel of being a front-rower. But to date, everything is working fine and my back is in relatively good condition. Conditioning yourself to manage the wear and tear is something that takes place on a daily basis – as is putting the right tools and technologies in place for recovery.
I have seen someone suffer a bad neck injury before. Fortunately, they recovered really well and are back playing professional rugby.
Would you consider rest time and recovery an important part of your training regime?
Yes, it is massively important for the body to recover. Without adequate recovery it is impossible to stay in prime condition throughout the season and maintain the fitness levels.
Ideally, how many hours of sleep do you aim for a night? Do you usually reach your target?
8 hours is my target for sleep. Yes, I’m pretty good at reaching this, as I know how important it is to my recovery.
What impact does it have on you if you feel you’ve not had a good night’s sleep?
It’s been proven that being tired and fatigued makes you prone to injury. That’s one reason why our medical and conditioning teams at Leicester are keen to ensure we sleep well.
What kind of a sleeper are you (e.g. light, restless, deep)?
I’m a deep sleeper.
As you tour a lot with the team, what’s a must have to ensure a good night’s sleep away from home?
I always take my Mammoth pillow with me. It ensures my head, neck and shoulders are in a comfortable position and well supported.
Do you have an optimum sleep environment – e.g. warm and cosy, cool and clean?
Cool, quiet and clean works for me.
What is your typical bedtime routine? Do you like to relax in bed with a DVD? Read a book or magazine? Or is it straight to bed and lights out after you’ve brushed your teeth?
I like to read a magazine before bed for around 20 minutes.
How did you find out about Mammoth?
I actually first heard about Mammoth through team-mates and other professional sportspeople who were singing the praises of the mattress. After that, it was simply a case of test driving the range myself and choosing the product that was most comfortable for me.
What attracted you to Mammoth mattresses in the first place?
The key benefits promoted by Mammoth all appealed to me. Proven better sleep; comfort; support; and the fact that they are recommended by Health Professionals.
Which model have you purchase?
I own the Performance 240 Superking
How have you enjoyed the mattress so far?
The Mammoth mattress and pillows are the best I have ever slept on. I go to bed feeling incredibly comfortable at night, and I wake up feeling more refreshed than ever. I would recommend the brand to anyone who values their sleep.
If you could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who’d be worth losing sleep over – and why?
That would have to be Winston Churchill because he was just an amazing man.
Image courtesy of Leicester Tigers