Moe Sbihi is an Olympic gold and bronze medallist from 2016 and 2012 respectively, and is currently training for my third Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
A British and World Record holder on the rowing machine, Sbihi started rowing after being picked up by a talent identification scheme called World Class Start, having never rowed before, at the age of 15.
He shares his experiences, training insights and reveals the essential items in his kit bag in this latest edition of The Checklist.
What was the last thing you trained for?
The last thing I trained for is hard to answer. I am always training and we have many competitions that we are aiming towards. I recently competed in the menâs 8 in the European Championships. However, we are always training towards the Olympic Games which we have a little under 400 days to go.
What kind of schedule/program did you follow. What were your goals?
I follow the training program set by the British Rowing Team. I have been in the team since 2010 and have been following the program set by our coach Jurgen Grobler. He is one of the most successful Olympic coaches ever and the program is considered to be the best.
We train three times a day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Two sessions on Wednesday and Saturday and finally a session on Sunday. We will have a day off, normally a Sunday, every couple of weeks and we train 49 weeks of the year.
My daily schedule is wake up at 6am to be at the centre early for our first session. We leave the centre for 4pm and head home.
How do you evaluate your performance of a training session? What does a successful one look like?
It depends. Sometimes success during a session is just to complete it. The training program we follow can sometimes put you in a hole and getting through a day looks impossible. So there needs to be mini goals you set yourself.
However, normally you assess the physical and the technical. Rowing is a very technical sport and you can analyse it accordingly. The difference sometimes felt amongst people within the same boat can be huge so it is good to talk this throughâŠwhat worked well and what didnât.
This over a span of years can develop a true blind understanding with your fellow crewmates and create harmony within the boat.
Whatâs next? What events/challenges are you looking forward to/training for now?
I have this summers racing season ahead of me. It is an exciting year for us in rowing. This summer at the World Championships, we have our qualification regatta for the Olympics.
Each event has a quota that can be qualified ahead of next year. So it is important for us to get the biggest possible team at the Games. As athletes, you are not qualified but the boat seats are. So therefore, if we have an 8 that qualifies this summer, the 8 seats are available for the Olympics. Then next year the coaches will select the rowers to sit in those seats.
Sometimes success during a session is just to complete it. The training can sometimes put you in a hole and getting through a day looks impossible. So there needs to be mini goals
Do you have a kit sponsorship?
Personally, I do not have a kit sponsor. The team does and we will wear that when representing our nation. However, during training and other competitions, I will wear what I like.
What trainers do you use?
We are lucky that we do not need trainers to train. So long as you have footwear to walk to the boat then you are sorted. The boats all come fitted with trainers. When I am on the rowing machine, I will just go barefoot.
It was something that we all took to a few years ago. There are rowers within the team that use trainers or weights shoes when on the rowing machine, but I have been too long without to change now.
During weights, I will always lift with proper Olympic standard Adidas weights shoes. Wearing weights shoes is a must in my opinion.
What are the key items in your kit bag?
Mpow Flame waterproof headphones
$19.99 | Amazon
For the long sessions on the ergo. I used to have the same Apple iPod Shuffle and connected headphones for seven years and tried different Bluetooth headphones but they always broke. However, these are affordable and so far, have lasted through the sweat levels.
Nike Swoosh sweatbands
$6.99 | Amazon
Nike sweatbands. On the rowing machine, it gets very sweaty and they way you hold the handle will mean the sweat drips down towards your hands and often makes the grip too wet. This can be annoying. Sweatbands allow you to wipe your brow and keep the handle dry.
Adidas Leistung II 16 shoes
$135 | Amazon
Adidas Leistung II 16 shoes for the weights room. If anyone needs to power clean, squat or do anything that involves your lower body, weight shoes are key for the best possible performance.
JL all-in-one. They are the market leader in rowing kit. Trust me when I say a bad all in one lycra can ruin your life. This is no over exaggeration. If you are to get a chaff or cut in the wrong area, it can make life hell.
Whereâs the best place you ever trained or competed?
I am lucky to have travelled the four corners of the world and raced there. Bled, Slovenia is beautiful and I am very lucky to have raced there. It is extremely picturesque, which makes up for the fact it is very difficult to row there as the water is very bouncy.
Whatâs the exercise you hate doing the most?
Split squats. I only say this because for a long time I hated doing them because I was doing them wrong. But even with better techniqueâŠthey still hurt.
Whatâs your ultimate workout song?
They Donât Love You No More - DJ Khaled. This song just resonates with me.
How many push-ups can you do in one go?
I am crap so I will say 20.
If you could compete/train anywhere in the world where would it be?
Anywhere that is warm and has good food. Thatâs all it needs. And it can not be windy. Basically anywhere that is not the UK.
Whoâs your fitness/sporting hero?
Is there any sport youâre really bad at?
Whatâs your favorite post-competition/challenge meal?
Anything. It changes but normally McDonalds as it is what is at most airports when we travel.
Supplement or natural?
Always natural. I keep on top of my nutrition by having Fresh Fitness Food tailor my nutrition to my training and deliver my food daily, already prepped and ready to eat which means I have more time to focus on training and I'm always fuelled.