We talk to GB Rowner and Mammoth sleeper Alan Sinclair about winning his first International gold medal, preparing for Rio and, of course, getting a good night’s sleep.
Hi Alan, can we start by asking you what made you decide to become a rower?
My dad co-founded Inverness Rowing Club and he took me down a few times when I was at a loose end on a Sunday morning as a 14 year-old. At the time, I was the youngest in the club by around 20 years, so it never felt all that exciting to me.
I don’t think there was ever a lightbulb moment where I suddenly loved the sport but the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it. By the time I was done my first term of Uni I was completely addicted and couldn’t get enough of it.
If you had to describe your career in three words, what would they be?
Relentless. Patient. Rewarding
How would your fellow GB teammates describe you?
I’d dread to think what expletives they’d use but I hope I’m considered fun, laid back and an athlete they can depend on both on and off the water. My teammates are also my best mates
What would class as your proudest moment – either in sport or outside of it?
Within rowing it would either be winning my first Henley Royal Regatta medal in 2011 or this year winning my first senior international gold medal at the European Championships.
Off the water it would have to be being best man at my little brother’s wedding.
Do you ever get star-struck – if so, who has left the greatest impression on you?
I’m sure it must have happened a few times. To be honest, the greatest impression a rower has ever made on me was from Alex Gregory – Olympic Champion and 4 time World Champion. But chatting to him you’d think he was just a mate from down the road. He’s an all round great guy on top of being one of the best athletes in the world and a role model for absolutely anyone.
What does your typical fitness regime involve?
Without revealing the “secrets”, a typical winter day would be a weights session in the morning followed by around 20km on the water and then another 16km on the water or on the rowing machine after lunch.
Can you tell us what you are looking forward to in the next 18 months and your hopes for the GB squad?
Well, we are just entering our winter training period now off the back of competing in the World Rowing Championships – where my crew won a Bronze medal. We are now into an Olympic year so the prime objective is to make sure I put myself in the best possible position for selection to go to Rio.
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?
I’ve been pretty fortunate in my career in that I’ve never had any major injuries or long-term problems. But I think that’s partly down to being able to listen to my body quite well and understanding what it wants.
Would you consider rest time and recovery an important part of your training regime?
Massively. The time we spend training means that making full use of rest is paramount to our performance gains.
Ideally, how many hours of sleep do you aim for a night? Do you usually reach your target?
It depends if I’ve had a nap during the day, really. I try to get around 8 hours where possible, but it can depend on training loads and the type of training also.
What impact does it have on you if you feel you’ve not had a good night’s sleep?
I can usually grind out the day and get training done to a satisfactory standard but it will inhibit the gains I would normally expect to achieve. I’ll also be in a pretty dull mood which I’m sure affects the guys I row with so I always try to catch up on lost sleep with a nap or getting to bed especially early.
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 think it would have to be the latter, when I’m out, I’m out! I’m sure a lot of the guys I room with on camp will say the same.
You must travel a lot from training camps to regattas, what would you say is a must-have to ensure a good night’s sleep away from home?
A good pillow is crucial to avoid the snoring and making sure you’re not too hot before going to bed.
Do you have an optimum environment to sleep in – e.g. warm and cosy, cool and clean?
I would always much rather be cold and using the duvet than being hot and pushing it off the bed.
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’d be lying if I said I didn’t check my phone and watch stupid videos my mates have sent to me. After that I’ll turn on my sleep tracker app and go to sleep.
How did you find out about Mammoth mattresses?
Through one of my best mates in the team who bought one a few years ago. He got it following an operation he had on his hip and swears by it to help his recovery massively.
What attracted you to Mammoth in the first place and how are enjoying your rest on the mattress?
I liked the fact that Mammoth have obviously spent a lot of time working out the best way to keep body temperature regulated and ensuring no one point of the body is being overheated.
Also, the sales team I worked with were very patient and helpful in ensuring I got a mattress that not only suited my preference but would maximise my recovery from training.
If you could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who’d be worth losing sleep over – and why?
Maybe my late uncle, I never met him and my grandfather always used to say how similar I was as a kid.