Since long time we keep contact to the Polish handbike rider Arkadiusz Skrzypinski. His motivation, efforts and passion made him not only UCI World Champion, but also participate at the Paralympic Games in London and Rio. How he reached these milestones and which role sleep plays in his daily routines you can read in our series "10 minutes with Arkadiusz Skrzypinski".
When did you decide to become a professional sportsman?
My adventure began in 1995. I worked for the radio and as a reporter I came to the Sports Club of the Disabled People in Szczecin (Poland). In one day, my whole life has changed. Until then, I had no chance of a "normal" life. I do not come from a rich family, all my life so far has been revolving around my city and at the football stadium.
In this Club I saw that I can travel, that I can have a normal life. I competed in marathons in wheelchair sports for 10 years. Discovering the handbike I even became the UCI World Champion and went to the Paralympic Games in London and Rio de Janeiro.
I like challenges, I do not like facilitations. I spent all my efforts and money on the biggest races in the world. I preferred to lose and learn something than to win a small race. In my opinion this is the way to the top. Something can always be done better.
How do you manage your daily training?
This is a championship! You can not have a quiet head without the help of people in the background. So, I wake up in the morning and go to work (Faculty of Computer Science of the West Pomeranian University of Technology). After that, I train a few hours and carry out my duties in my club where I function as the vice president for sports. In the evening, I do "everyday life stuff" and sometimes physiotherapy. Then, it's time for dinner and sleep.
The race period is stressy. Unfortunately, I have very little time for my family - this is the worst. Most of the races are on weekends somewhere in the world. Plus, I stay many weeks with the national team of Poland.
I'd love doing nothing. It is unfulfilled love.
How do you handle your nutrition in order to perform best?
It is a huge problem. It can happen that I exceed 1500 kcal and the next day I do not look at the weight. When I live in hotels, it is easier to watch my weight. When I am at home, I have to work which makes it harder to keep regularity. The time before the most important races i need full discipline. But while travelling... well, you start eating faster than you think.
Do you have any specific sleep habits and tips?
Nothing specific is possible with an intense life. One of my constants is my Technogel pillow for the night. My small travel pillow is what i pack first in my bag. The upper half of the body works on the handbike and, especially, arms and neck are very important. But in hotels the beds are usually very different. Thanks to my Technogel pillow i have some continuity that makes me sleep well without any neck pain in the morning. I also use it on the plane and in the car, because I have many trips over 1000 km.
At home, I have a large pillow where I just lay down and disappear. Many times I am so tired that the pillow is enough. So, see you tomorrow! ;)
What are your personal rituals before an important race?
In 2010, when I won the World Championship, one man gave me his commemorative medal which he brought from the Vatican. He said:"Take it and you will win!" I have it with me every day. My second ritual is not to think about what can wait for the winner. Every time I thought about it, there was something going wrong.
Side, back or stomach sleeper?
I sleep in every position.
How many hours of sleep you need on average?
I usually sleep 7, but I'd like 8-9.
The first thing you do once awake?
Banal: toilet, check the weather forecast, breakfast.
Early bird or morning grouch?
Neither this nor that. I always get up early, but I think and work best in the evenings.
And what's for breakfast?
Different: oatmeal, omelette, sandwich. Water, orange juice, mandatory strong coffee.