Scotland rugby player Kieran Low made the move from London Irish to Glasgow for the 2015 season. And with the help of his new Mammoth Performance 22 he has been able to ensure that the preparation for the new season has been better than ever.
We spoke to Kieran about battered bodies, a hellish pre-season and sleeping like a dog.
Hi Kieran, what made you decide to become a rugby player?
I’ve played rugby from a young age, so to become a pro and do what I love for a living was always what I dreamed of.
If you had to describe your rugby career in three words, what would they be?
Battered Bruised Body
How would your rugby teammates describe you?
What would class as your proudest moment – either in sport or outside of it?
That would be my first international cap for Scotland
If you weren’t playing rugby, what job do you think you’d be doing?
Most of my family work in a trade, so I could very easily have gone into something like that. I’m also not bad with numbers so perhaps something like accounting or banking. I may even have gone into the Forces – but thanks to being involved in rugby from an early age I’ve never really had to think about it so I’ve no idea.
Do you ever get star-struck – if so, who has left the greatest impression on you?
I wouldn’t say that I get star-struck, but playing in a training game against Jonny Wilkinson was pretty good.
During the season we get most of the hard work done on a Monday and Tuesday: two hard gym sessions covering both lower and upper body; two hard rugby sessions, occasionally with extra fitness sessions at the end. We’ll then have a unit session, which normally involves the forwards trying to beat each other up!
Towards the end of the week things taper off into lighter sessions as we let our bodies recover for matchday. This includes a power session or what we call NAHP – a Neural And Hormonal Primer to get the body ready for the weekend’s game.
Of course, this all happens after a grueling pre-season, which is just hell. I don’t even like thinking about the training we do during this period because it can involve torturous double and even triple sessions a day. It’s during this block of the year that my Mammoth mattress came in most handy.
Can you tell us what you are looking forward to in the next 12 months and your hopes for the club?
Having just arrived at a new club my focus is on getting that starting shirt and then holding on to it. I’m joining a squad that have just won the league and will be striving to retain the title. This and ambitions to do well in Europe should make it an exciting season.
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?
I’ve had many injuries over the course of my career so far. As any rugby player will tell you, you never play fully fit. I’ve had ankle surgery and face surgery to fix a broken cheekbone; my AC joint in my shoulder isn’t attached any more; I’ve had numerous broken fingers, a dislocated thumb, a broken wrist, several concussions, bursitis in my knee, a hyperextended elbow, shin splints . . . the list goes on. But my main issue is lower back pain – I’ve injured a disc in my lower back a fair few times and I’m constantly having to rehab it in order to be able to play. This is where a mattress with proven health benefits is worth its weight in gold.
What’s the worst injury you’ve seen someone suffer whilst playing rugby?
I actually saw a guy break his neck once. He showed up at the team hotel a couple of hours later in a neck brace and was laughing and joking about it. He’s fine now and still playing.
Would you consider rest time and recovery an important part of your training regime?
I would say rest and recovery is the MOST important part of training. Plus, it’s the best part of my day. Who doesn’t love sleeping?
Ideally, how many hours of sleep do you aim for a night? Do you usually reach your target?
Ideally, I get 8-9 hours in. But during pre-season I was getting more like 10 or 11 hours as it was so tiring.
What impact does it have on you if you feel you’ve not had a good night’s sleep?
I can’t function properly without a good night’s sleep: not just physically but mentally, too. Anyone who’s ever tried maintaining focus on the pitch and calling a lineout on 5 hours sleep will know how important it is?
What kind of a sleeper are you? Perhaps a light and restless sleeper, or do you sleep like a log, as the saying goes?
I’m a very good sleeper. I will have a nap at any chance I get and I sleep like a dog.
With touring a lot, what’s a must have to ensure a good night’s sleep away from home?
For me, being a big guy at 6ft 6 and nearly 18st, it’s most important that I have a big enough bed really.
Do you have an optimum environment to sleep in – e.g. warm and cosy, cool and clean?
I like to get in bed when it’s cold and warm up under a big king size duvet. There’s nothing better than climbing into a bed with fresh sheets, either.
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 typically get into bed early and put a movie on, or read a book and just wind down.
How did you find out about Mammoth mattresses?
A lot of friends on the team were raving about how good they were so I had to try one out for myself. I visited Tudor Williams in New Malden and they helped me to choose my Mammoth Performance 22 Kingsize.
What attracted you to Mammoth in the first place?
I love my bed and I spend a hell of a lot of time in it, so for me only the best will do. Once I’d tried a Mammoth out and heard about the benefits to athletes in terms of rest and recovery, it was an easy decision.
If you could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who’d be worth losing sleep over – and why?
I wouldn’t lose sleep for anyone… lights out for me
Kieran Low sleeps on a Mammoth Performance 22 available at Mammoth stockists around the country. Catch him playing in the Pro 12 league for Glasgow Warriors this season.