Mat Tarrant is currently on holiday after confirming the GB Men's 8+ entry to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games - taking bronze at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
He's been a stalwart of the GB squad since the age of 15. And, after missing out on racing at the Rio Olympics, he's got his sights firmly set on retaining his 7 seat in the Men's 8+ for Tokyo.
Mat is a nice guy. His manner is unassuming, he's relaxed, and keen to lend a hand without being asked. Not what you'd expect from someone who's been in the GB rowing setup for so long.
However, his hands tell a different story.
The size of spades, and calloused like a rock enclave, they describe his journey, and his tenacity. They tell stories of daily 18k ergos, countless kilometers on the water, 2k tests, 6k tests, and the struggles and forfeits an elite athlete has to make to be at the top of their game.
Maybe this is why Mat started RowElite - to help other athletes, at any level, to get the most out of their training by harnessing his experiences for guidance, support and encouragement.
While Mat has some, quite frankly, well-earned downtime, we talk to him about RowElite, and how it all started.
SB: What's the background to RowElite?
MT: I've represented Great Britain every year since the age of 15, winning a few bits and pieces along the way, and meeting hundreds of talented athletes who are no longer on the scene.
These athletes had so much potential but through lack of structure, support or guidance, challenges arose that lead them to leave the sport - whether that be physical injuries, or mental obstacles that never got addressed.
SB: When was RowElite born?
MT: It was born during the holiday period following the Rio Olympics in 2016. I find it difficult to switch off. While sitting by the pool in sunny Spain I was brainstorming ways of impacting the world of rowing through other means than just my own personal achievements.
I wanted to support, encourage and create the same confidence I received in the early days of my rowing career that saw me move from a 52nd place finish at my first Boston trial, to a seat in the Worlds squad that same year in Beijing, China.
SB: How is RowElite different from other fitness platforms?
MT: At RowElite we want to create a structure through personalised training programmes specific to an athlete, not just churn out generic copy & paste plans in a one-size-fits-all approach.
We want to educate athletes on proper nutrition - how to structure your diet for optimum performance and reduce the need for supplements.
We also offer consultations as a safe place for you to talk about the issues you're facing with your own development as an athlete. Whether that's how to balance training and studying or work, conflicts with your coach or teammates, hitting plateaus in your training, worries about upcoming ergo tests or not being selected for your school or club's crew.
SB: Beyond the one-on-one coaching and training plans, does RowElite offer anything else?
MT: If you didn't know already, we have recently started our very own Indoor Rowing Team. We wanted to create a place where athletes from all around the world can socialise, support, and encourage one another. Our team is open to everyone from all sporting backgrounds and it's totally free to join.
We have challenges popping up every other month for both individual and teams - so you'll never be short of ways to push yourself and measure your progress against other like-minded athletes. Our team is registered with concept 2 and you can join the team through this link: https://log.concept2.com/team/11581
Once on the team, you'll be invited to the RowElite Indoor Crew private Facebook page which is always buzzing with support, new PBs and conversation.