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Life of an Elite Australian Triathlete with Emma Jeffcoat

Apr 27, 2023

Australian elite triathlete Emma Jeffcoat shares her journey into triathlon, what it's like being an elite triathlete and her insights into how nutrition played (and still plays) a crucial role in her success.


Emma has achieved amazing feats, including competing in Tokyo 2020, being named the Australian Elite National Champion in 2021, the Australian Elite Super Sprint Champion in 2021, taking gold in the Tizzy World Cup, the Abu Dhabi mixed team relay, the Mooloolaba World Cup, bronze in the Hamburg WTS mixed team relay World Championships in 2019, and winning numerous other races.

She came from a strong swim-focused background, having competed in Surf Life Saving and swimming at the national level. Emma's first triathlon was in Year 12, and she enjoyed it but was fully invested in Surf Life Saving. It wasn't until later, when her coach asked her what she really wanted to do, that she considered triathlon seriously.



Emma shared how COVID-19 affected her training and racing, and how she had to adjust her mindset to focus on the day-to-day aspects of training. She also talked about her nutrition habits, how she fuels her body for racing, and her favourite pre- and post-race meals and emphasised the importance of listening to your body and finding a nutrition plan that works for you as an individual.

Emma also shared her journey of shifting her perspective on nutrition. She used to think that she had to "earn the right to eat through exercising," but now she views nutrition as a way to "fuel the work required." She emphasised the importance of being proactive and aggressive about eating to get the most out of herself, especially before and after workouts.

She learned this lesson the hard way, having experienced injuries and energy availability mismatch. She now feels comfortable and confident sharing her story and educating other athletes about the importance of proper nutrition.



Emma noted that she thought it impossible to meet her calorie requirements for the day but realised that if she continuously under-met it, it would be putting her at risk for energy availability issues, injury, illness, or poor performance. She had to learn through experience that eating more can actually help her fix her body composition and put on lean muscle tissue that increases her metabolic rate. She admits that her mindset of restriction and having to earn her food came from her background in swimming and surf lifesaving - feeling guilty about eating carbs, leading to negative and spiralling behaviour. She felt that the sport was biased towards a lean physique, which contributed to her unhealthy relationship with food.

Take a listen to the podcast as we discuss Emma's experiences with nutrition, body image, and mental battles around food. Thankfully she learned to embrace her strength and realised that racing her best happens when she is strong and healthy.



Emma's goal is to continue improving and be a role model for the next generation of female and male athletes coming through the sport to have healthier habits and body image, saying "It's a wild world out there when it comes to nutrition. So I just think the more people (that) can be educated with the right people around them and the right information - it's so critical."

Emma is strong, driven and determined within the sport, yet humble and committed to doing the things that make her happy outside the sport. A great role model.



To dive deeper, listen to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy Podcast, EP 91 - Life of an Elite Australian Triathlete with Emma Jeffcoat  

If you are interested in learning more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy Program and what it can do for you, head HERE to join the waitlist for our next opening.


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