Zac Purchase will be one of Britain’s medal favourites at London 2012 when he and Leander Club’s Mark Hunter team up in the lightweight men’s double scull.

The pair claimed gold in Beijing and won the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia.

But as 26-year-old Purchase, who lives in Wallingford, explained, it requires a phenomenal effort to stay on top of the world.

“We do about 35 hours training a week, seven days a week,” he said.

“It is pretty relentless, yes, but it is really good fun. We have a great group of people here, making sure we are on top of our game all the time.

“We get a day off every two or three weeks and that is when we have a nice sleep in.

“You get up at 10am rather than 6am and it is lovely.”

As for his daily routine, Purchase said: “My alarm goes off at about 6.10am and I tend to roll out of bed at 6.30 after I have pressed snooze twice!

“I have half a box of cereal for breakfast, get in the car and drive down to Caversham for 7.45am.

“I have a quick stretch before going out on the water for a couple of hours, then it is in for a fully-cooked breakfast, which is the challenging part of the day.

“The second session can be a two-hour bike ride through Watlington and Henley, but normally it would be weights for an hour and a half or so.

“Then it is lunch and an afternoon snooze, which is the most difficult part of the day. It is really challenging to make sure you do it with as good quality as you can.

“The third session of the day is about an hour and a half on the rowing machine before going back home for dinner and bed.”

Life in Wallingford suits Purchase, who keeps a fairly low profile.

He said: “I bought a house in Reading, but then moved in with my other half, who moved to Wallingford.

“She wanted to be somewhere really quiet and out of the way and quite nice as well.

“It is a short trip down the road to training. Sometimes you get stuck behind a tractor, which isn’t great, but normally it’s alright.”

Does being a defending Olympic champion provide Purchase with extra pressure?

He said: “I put most pressure on myself. I make sure I produce the best stuff I can in training.

“Then when I go out to race, I am thinking how can I replicate that.

“Whether everybody else expects me to win or expects me to come fifth, it doesn’t really matter to me as long as I produce the very best I can, and hopefully, that is a gold-medal performance.”