Jessica Rothwell: How an Australian Champion Race Walker Stays Balanced
Jessica Rothwell is an Australian champion race walker, whose achievements include placing fourth in the IAAF World Junior Championships. Jess is a 2012 Nestlé/Australian Institute of Sport scholarship recipient, which is assisting her in her nutrition studies. Originally hailing from regional Victoria, Jess now lives in Canberra.
We caught up with Jess recently to find out how she stays healthy and finds balance, despite a hectic schedule.
What’s an average day in the life of an AIS athlete like?
A busy day includes a morning training session, followed by some time in the recovery center. Then, there might be an afternoon training session, which is normally a little bit lighter, or I’ll go to the gym. I might have appointments with the doctor or other specialists, then there’s uni and work too.
Sounds like your schedule is pretty busy! Do you have any advice for other people who are trying to balance exercise with study and work?
It can get quite busy! It’s a bit of a cliché, but when you’re really busy you can usually fit a lot in. I’d say stay organized, write out a ‘to do’ list, keep a diary, and get enough sleep.
Have your studies in nutrition helped you to achieve your own healthy lifestyle?
I’ve learned so much more about nutrition through my studies. Specifically following recent surgery, I had to rebuild muscle, so lots of protein and dairy helped.
I’ve also learned more about nutrition through speaking with dietitians at the AIS, like Louise Burke. She has really helped me out and I’ve learned so much more from her.
Do you have any nutrition advice for people who are starting out with healthy eating?
Certainly use dairy as a re-fueling source - try either yogurt or a milkshake. Recovering with enough protein is really important, and so is a balanced diet.
Enjoy a colourful diet too! In terms of fruit and veggies: mix it up, try lots of different colours. Try different types of food, like different grains. Try to make food fun - and eat in moderation.
Do you have any favourite foods?
I have lots of favourite foods. I love breakfast, especially a good Bircher muesli. I make my own - it’s easy to do. I add a bit of honey to it.
How has your time at the AIS, as a 2012 Nestlé/AIS scholarship recipient, helped you with your sport?
My time at the AIS has reinforced the idea of balance in me. Last year, I had a busy year post surgery and looking back, it was all a bit of a rat race where I was burning the candle at both ends. It’s important to know that it’s okay to have an easy session or a rest session if your body needs it - don’t feel guilty!
What’s some advice you can offer to aspiring young sportsmen and women?
Keep persisting with your chosen sport. Know that while consistent training is important, recovery is equally as important. It’s important to have the right balance. Keep everything in perspective, enjoy it, and have fun!
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