Mammoth caught up with British triple jumper Nathan Douglas to talk sleep, comfort and handling the force of 15 times his own bodyweight through one knee.
Nathan, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into athletics?
I started athletics at the age of 7 after racing the fastest kid at school in the playground, and I won. He then became one of my best friends and invited me along to my local athletics club – Oxford City.
Can you describe the event you compete in and the kind of competitions you are involved in and what your typical fitness regime involves?
I compete in the Triple Jump. The demands of the event are incredible. When I land the hop phase a force of 10/15 times my bodyweight goes through my body. I have to be strong enough and powerful enough to withstand these forces.
I compete on the World Athletics Circuit each year in preparation for that year’s major championships. I have competed at every major championship at least twice – Olympic Games, World Championships, European Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Indoor Championships and European Indoor Championships.
As I explained the triple jump is demanding on your body, so I have to train to prepare for that. The majority of my training is based around power as triple jump is an extreme power event – training includes a combination of plyometrics, weights, speed work, general conditioning, pilates, proprioception and technical sessions working on my triple technique.
What is the hardest thing about your sport?
Handling the forces and stress that is put upon your body. You have to be a bit kamikaze to be a triple jumper.
In the world of elite athletics there is a lot of stress and pressure, mentally you have to be able to handle that.
What would you class as your proudest achievement to date (in sport or away from it)? And if you weren’t competing in elite sport, what would you be doing?
My proudest moment is tied between when I made my Great Britain senior debut which was also my first Olympic Games – talk about jumping in at the deep end. Also winning my first European medal.
If I didn’t compete in elite sport I would be doing what I also do now along my athletics career, working in the world of personal development. I am a Peak Performance and Mind Coach, helping individuals, organisations and companies to perform to a world-class level. Empowering them to become their very best, achieve their wildest dreams and give them the tools to handle stress and pressure.
What can you tell us about your work as a peak performance and mind coach?
I love working as a Peak Performance and Mind Coach, the work is varied and specific to the client’s needs. It is hugely rewarding for me when I see clients improve and personally develop.
What you learn in sport at a world-class level is that what often separates people at the top is their mindset and mental skills. I bring this to my clients, whether it’s performing at work or performing in life, the work is varied. I love helping people to flourish.
I also provide wellbeing events to companies. As an athlete every aspect of your life has to be on point to enable you to perform at your best – life balance, nutrition, sleep, rest and recovery. In the working world it is scary how many people are not looking after their wellbeing.
Mammoth mattresses are known for their health benefits, particularly for people recovering from injury or looking to make performance gains. How important do you consider rest time and recovery for both the body and mind?
Vital! My body and mind is put under a huge amount of stress on a regular basis. They need the rest and recovery time to adapt and recuperate to these loads. Recovery is such a vital step as I am constantly pushing myself close to the edge, so when it comes to recovery I take that extremely seriously. If this isn’t looked after correctly it can lead to injury which can mean missing competitions and a low level of performance. Recover hard to train hard.
Do you personally notice the benefits of good sleep? How many hours of sleep do you aim for a night?
Absolutely. I am well known for sleep taking priority over many other things. I aim for 8 – 9 hours of sleep. For me this is the optimal amount for a full mental and physical recovery.
As you have travelled to a lot to competitions in your sport, what do you consider to be a must-have to ensure a good night’s sleep away from home, and do you have an optimum environment to sleep in – e.g. warm and cosy, cool and clean?
Earplugs are a must. We stay in many hotels with many athletes that can cause a lot of noise. I make sure my sleeping environment is conducive to a good night’s sleep – as dark as possible, comfortable temperature and clean,
How did you find out about Mammoth mattresses and what attracted you to the brand in the first place?
In 2014 I picked up a stress fracture in my spine and then suffered with flare ups after it had healed. My physiotherapist has a Mammoth mattress and recommended the company to me to help protect my back and allow it to recover efficiently.
Can you tell us which mattress model you own and what you think of your Mammoth?
I own a Performance 240 and absolutely love it. As I am a front sleeper, straight away I could feel the extra support it gave my body and the better alignment of my spine. It has made a bigger difference to my recovery than I could have anticipated.
If you could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who’d be worth losing sleep over – and why?
This is a tough one, there are many people I would like to pick. At this moment I’d say Steve Jobs. He has completely changed the world as we know it with his creativity, design and innovation with Apple. He is well known for his work ethic, pushing boundaries and believing in the so-called impossible being made possible. I can imagine that his mind would be fascinating and that he would be able to talk about anything and everything.