By: Elements Of Green
Interview with Professional Rugby Player Jamie Mackenzie
Q: Tell us more about who you are as a person and how you got involved in rugby?
A: My name is Jamie Mackenzie. I was Born in Scotland and moved to Canada when I was 1. I grew up playing hockey, but I was lucky enough to have an older brother who played rugby which is how I found my way into the sport. I played for my local club (Oakville Crusaders), in Ontario, and eventually went on to represent Canada at 3 World Cups and played professionally in the UK for Esher.
Q: What was it like when you first found out you would be playing for Team Canada?
A: I remember my first men’s tour. Every November Canada plays a series of games in Europe and I was lucky to be a part of this team in 2010. My first game for Canada was against Belgium in 2010. I remember being extremely nervous but very excited to play my first game. It’s very intimidating being on a national team at such a young age, but it was such an exciting opportunity. The whole experience was really a blur. The following year I went to my first world cup in New Zealand and was blown away by that experience. It’s absolutely amazing playing in front of 40,000+ screaming fans on the biggest stage in world rugby.
Q: Talk to us about your training regimen and how it helped you get to where you are?
A: I grew up playing every sport that I could which helped make me a well-rounded athlete and ultimately contributed to my success as a rugby player. I started training properly around 16 and this formed the base of my experience moving forward.
Playing professionally gives me access to some of the best resources and minds when it comes to training. Our dedicated strength and conditioning team write customized training programs for each athlete. Each program will focus on improving deficiencies (lots of mobility work), building a strong base, and maximizing the potential of each athlete. A typical week of training will look like this:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30am we get together to discuss the days training, start on our mobility and any other “extras” given to us from the S&C and physios. That means foam rolling, active stretching, and ironing out any tightness or problem areas. From there, it’s into our workout. Roughly about 45mins – an hour of strength training.
From there its straight onto the field for 60-90 minutes of rugby specific skills. We then break for lunch before another team practice in the afternoon.
Wednesdays is a morning recovery session followed by a team practice in the afternoon. Saturday is usually game day and Sunday is usually totally recovery focused.
Q: Injuries are a massive part of sports, especially rugby, what major injuries have you had?
A: The biggest injury I have had would be a torn labrum in my hip. I had to undergo surgery to fix the issue which lead to a very lengthy recovery process – approximately 1 year. I made the mistake of trying to play too early which created more issues and I basically had to start my recovery from scratch and take it slower.
This is one thing in my career I would have changed. I would have spent more time focusing on my recovery. If I were more patient, I think I would have actually been back playing sooner. Looking back, I also would have added CBD products to my recovery protocol. Even if a product only makes a 1%-2% difference, it’s worth it at the highest level. Any advantage you can get over the competition is huge. That’s why CBD products are a no brainer for me.
Q: How do you treat those injuries and recover? Have you tried opioids, what about cannabinoids like CBD?
A: I had to do extensive amounts of physio to recover. I was non weightbearing for 30 days which was horrible! Once I could start moving, it was a very slow process starting off with micro movements to get the joint functioning again. Unfortunately, it was at a time with very limited information about CBD and the benefits of using them for recovery.
Again, I wish I knew more about CBD and the natural health benefits they afford, especially related to recovery. Today, there are more places to get my news, I stick to sources specifically covering CBD and athletes like the Athletes Corner.
Q: How do you make sure you are recovered and performing at your best?
A: Recovery is king now that I’m starting to get to the twilight of my career. It is a major focus for my preparation leading up to my season and even more important during the season. I use CBD to help with my recovery from daily training loads in preseason and throughout the entirety of our regular season. CBD balms or creams are great to use on my joints as I have arthritis in my hip and have several sore joints, one of my favourites is fourfive CBD Muscle Rub from CBD Vital.
Also, making sure I get a good amount of sleep to help recovery is huge. I usually take CBD drops formulated to help with sleep from Elements of Green. It gives me a deeper more restorative sleep to help me recovery after training and ultimately perform better on the field.
Q: How important is a good night’s sleep for performance?
A: HUGE! It’s the best opportunity for your body to perform restorative functions and help repair damage done to the body during games and intense training. A good night’s sleep is paramount to performance. As I mentioned before, I use CBD to help me get a deeper and more restorative sleep.
Q: What do you use CBD for, and what are your favourite brands?
A: Hempfusion is one of my favourite brands. I currently have 3 “go to” products – Hempfusion balm for massage and to help with direct application to problem areas (i.e. all my joints), a smoothie additive to help with recovery, and a nighttime dropper to help me get the best sleep and improve recovery. I usually shop on marketplaces like Elements of Green because they answer questions quickly and have a bunch of different products to try.
I wish I had discovered the benefits of using CBD products earlier in my career, but I am thankful to have them in my routine now as I believe it will help to prolong my career.
Q: Do you wish you had done anything different in your career?
A: I don’t have any regrets in my career. I think I would have approached recovery different when I was younger. You always feel invincible until you don’t. It’s a bit of a weird saying but to me it makes sense. I never focused on recovery because I always felt great. It wasn’t until my body broke down all at once that I stopped feeling invincible. That’s when it hit me about how important it is to focus on your body and recovery BEFORE you notice any issues. That way you may never have to deal with those issues.
Q: What advice do you have to new athletes looking to conquer the rugby world?
A: Ask questions and be curious. Always be a student of the game – watch as much rugby as you can. Make sure you understand the importance of recovery and how it can affect your performance. Make sure that you understand how training, recovery, and performance effect each other and how to maximize each aspect. Most of all, enjoy it. Enjoy the process of making mistakes and learning every day. I consider myself extremely lucky to have played professional sports and I am so thankful for the opportunities it has given me and the friendships I have made along the way.