Insider Interviews: Gareth Bale: Footballer & ROWBOTS Co-Founder

The superstar athlete on why mental workouts are the key to his success

by Amy Wilson Wyles

As a household name around the world, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Gareth Bale really doesn’t need an introduction. Yet behind this unfathomable level of fame & reported £93,000-a-day paycheck, remains a down-to-earth guy who loves nothing more than kicking back on the golf course and spending time with family.

So how does he manage it in our fame-obsessed world? Famously he doesn’t read the news and refuses to have many apps on his phone (instead employing a social media company to manage his accounts for him)  and credits these two things for keeping his focus on football, family and the important things in life. But it’s his latest venture, ROWBOTS, a London rowing gym that boasts formidable fitness results while focusing on mental wellbeing, that hints at the composure it takes to be a world-class athlete. We sat down with him to find out more…


The Experts

  • Barber/Hairstylist

    My wife does it! Very convenient & she’s a top stylist.

  • Workout Spot

    ROWBOTS – the best workout in London! It’s a class-based rowing gym that focuses on mental wellbeing just as much as fitness.

  • Favourite Rowbot Class

    I love the RESET class. At the beginning of the week I like to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. It tests you mentally and physically and gets you ready to take on the week ahead.

  • Ultimate Holiday Destination


  • Favourite Spa

    The spa at our favourite hotel in Mexico. It’s the best I’ve ever been to.

  • Treatment To Unwind

    Deep tissue massage is the best. 

  • Health Expert

    Eli Brecher – not only did she design the smoothies at ROWBOTS, she is also a lovely person and is extremely knowledgable!

The Rules

I realised early on in my career that fitness is something that starts with the body, but is maintained and enhanced through harnessing the power of the mind.

So the best piece of advice I could give to aspiring footballers or athletes would be to train hard, not just physically but mentally too. In those split-second moments, where a decision you make is the difference between winning and losing, you’ll need your mind to take over – that’s why you have to train both body and mind in conjunction with each other.

I actually use rowing a lot, especially in the off-season, to really get fit for the next year. Its not easy. It works every muscle – thats why I like it so much. It doesnt just work out the upper or the lower body, it does everything.

But what really interested me when I was approached about ROWBOTS, was their holistic approach to fitness and wider physical & mental health – and how they have built ROWBOTS on a foundation of mental health conditioning. 

Doing extra mental conditioning in the off season and incorporating the ROWBOTS workout into my wider training programme means that I stay strong, physically and mentally, so that in a competitive match I can take on each challenge by the scruff of its neck.

It’s also very important to have a balance and as I’m sure you know, I love a round of golf!

In fact, if I could choose any other sport to play professionally it would be golf. Golf is all about mindset and mental strength. Any professional golfer will tell you that. I love exploring and pushing both my mental and physical boundaries. 

Football is great but I couldn’t live without my family, friends and great golf!

The Kit

Skincare: Grown Alchemist and Byredo – that’s why we have those brands in our changing rooms at ROWBOTS.

Go-To Hair Products: I like the Natural Barber Co. They’re completely sustainable and great hair products with a cool design!

Signature Aftershave: Creed Aventus

Workout Wear Brand of Choice: Adidas!

Post-Exercise Go-To: Missfits Nutrition Vegan Protein Powder is great! It’s delicious and can mixed with anything to make a great shake!