Emma Wiggs is a Para-canoeist and Great British Meat Company ambassador who has had a quite phenomenal 12 months which has seen her retain the British, European and World Championship titles. Along with her Gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, this means she currently has the distinction of being a Grand Slam champion, a rarity in modern sport, and puts her amongst the greats of British sporting heroes, including athletics’ Sir Mo Farah and swimming’s Adam Peaty.
“I’ve found swapping from supermarket meat to quality meats from Great British Meat Company means I can ensure I’m getting brilliant quality protein by weight without the worry of losing it through water in cooking.”
In addition to her phenomenal success as an athlete, Emma is also a Youth Sport Trust athlete mentor and is committed to ensuring that the next generation of talented young athletes appreciate the importance of quality nutritional to give them a competitive edge. We recently spoke to Emma about what it takes to fuel such competition excellence.
What is a typical day training for you?
I train 6 days a week so its pretty hectic. During the winter months there is more focus on gym work to build lean muscle and strength and then as we approach the racing season towards in the Spring I look at transferring this new strength onto the water. I generally always have 3-4 training sessions in a day so fuelling well throughout the day is vital.
What do you eat on a typical training day?
- Breakfast 1 – porridge with berries and nuts
- Breakfast 2 – eggs, chicken/steak spinach and seed bread
- Lunch 1 – Chicken Breast and rice or Lean Chilli and rice
- Lunch 2 – Tuna and oatcakes or Yoghurt and protein
- Supper – Lean Meat and lots of veggies with either potatoes or rice
- Bedtime snack – yoghurt with almond butter and berries
I try to hit high levels of protein to help build lean muscle but the crucial thing is getting enough carbs in the winter alongside lean quality proteins to ensure I have an energy surplus.
What do you typically eat on a non-training/cheat day?
I sometimes find it hard to eat on a rest day (a Sunday) as I’ve been so strict trying to get all food in during the week, but I do try to keep up the regime of eating every couple of hours. I do have the occasional treat which would maybe be a homemade pizza or sometimes coffee and a cake if I’m out somewhere. Generally I’m pretty good all year round but I will admit to having more treats in the regeneration period in September.
What meal do you eat most often?
Probably chilli made with lean beef mince and rice. I do however eat chicken in some form everyday too! I’ve found swapping from supermarket meat to quality meats from Great British Meat Company means I can ensure I’m getting brilliant quality protein by weight without the worry of losing it through water in cooking.
What is your favourite meal?
Roast dinner of any kind! Lots of veggies and a good homemade gravy. I’m also really keen on a steak and often have one Friday nights as something to look forward to after a brutal day on the water.
Is what you eat essential to your training and recovery?
Completely essential!! I’ve been an elite athlete for quite a few years now but I’ve seen a real difference in my gains from the gym in the last few year when I’ve started to take nutrtion really seriously. I firmly believe that good diet and proper recovery is not only essential for performance but also general health and wellbeing, I’ve not had a cold for a couple of years now so touch wood the better diet is doing something right!
How do you stay motivated?
I think it’s vital to have the belief that you can improve and get better in whatever you are doing. I can’t control my opposition and how they perform but I can control my effort, my attitude and my performance on a daily basis. It motivates me that I know I believe I can be faster, stronger and better than I am now and that drives me on!
How do you like to relax?
I love to have a pyjama day at home. I think it probably sounds boring to some but I crave a quiet day at home after 6 days full on pushing myself in sessions and constantly eating! I also enjoy taking our dog for walks and having breakfast out!
What are the goals you are aiming for?
As always I’m aiming to be faster and stronger than last year. It’s only year 2 of the next cycle on the road to Tokyo 2020 so we are still in a building phase where we are trying to get as strong and big as possible while tweaking technical aspects. So I won’t be expecting any super fast times this year but I know it’s all part of a process and it will come! One thing is for sure 2018 will be exciting!