Introducing Jacob Wilkinson! The inspirational youth sprinter, races for Wiltshire and Swansea, with his eye firmly set on breaking the university 100m record and aspirations of reaching the Commonwealth standard.
We caught up with Jacob Wilkinson (JW) to dig into the tactics, techniques and mindset of a very successful youth athlete. Hopefully, he will inspire many other young athletes to pursue their dreams of rising to the top.
YSN: When did you first hear of Youth Sport Nutrition?
JW: In September 2019, at the start of university. I was accepted onto the Future Athlete’s Programme.YSN: How did you get into your first sport, and how old were you?
JW: I was 9 years old, my friends played rugby and one day I went along to a training session and enjoyed it and it just developed from there. I started athletics in 2016, before becoming serious in 2017YSN: Did you have any key idols or role models that you looked up to and wanted to replicate, and if so, why?
JW: Usain Bolt because of his sporting ability, Carlin Isles because of his transfer between rugby and track and Yohan Blake because of his ability to overcome injury and still be World Standard.
YSN: How do you cater for your sports nutrition? What sort of meal plans/nutritional strategies did you utilise?
JW: I self-cater. I moved into cheaper accommodation to get a food card to use on university campus food outlets, and I home cook all my breakfasts and dinners.
YSN: Let downs and injury are a common feature of being a professional athlete, can you tell us how you motivate yourself and what keeps you going through major incidents or tough circumstances?
JW: I tore my LCL in 2016, and I went through therapy and rehabilitation to get back running. The lack of sports I could do motivated me to push harder once I was better, and I’ve never looked back.
So just don’t give up. Trust the process, do what is needed to be done to get back into a good physical state, you won’t take it for granted when you’re back doing what you love.
YSN: As a very successful youth athlete, how often do you train, and how has this changed depending on your sport?
JW: I train twice a day, 6 days a week. One session a day is either track training or weights, and the other is either mobility sessions or physiotherapy, osteopathy, or massage therapy.
YSN: What are your future aspirations?
JW: To take the University 100m record and reach Commonwealth Standard
YSN: What is your favourite quote?
JW: You must tell yourself – no matter how hard it gets, I’m going to make it’
YSN: What does your ‘internal chatter’ look/sound like in the run up to your event time? What strategies do you use to calm nerves and remain focused?
JW: I like to isolate myself, warm up by myself, listening to my own music. That way everything is under my control and I only need to focus on myself, and I don’t need to worry about unnecessary things or factors.
YSN: What advice would you offer to Parents of youth athletes regarding their training, the pressure to perform (academic and sporting) and catering for nutrition? How can parents best support their training objectives?
JW: Push them, but only so far that they still enjoy training. Be there for them when they compete but don’t set expectations that they’ll feel under pressure to achieve.
YSN: Any tips for balancing training, academic studies, competitions/games and a social life?
JW: Keep on top of everything – have a training schedule/ class schedule and be proactive around it. If you get work to do, do it soon after it’s set.
JW: I think it’s a really beneficial supplement. It’s a niche market that many other protein powder brands have overlooked and neglected to cater for. I personally use protein shakes on a day to day basis, straight after training. They’re faster to digest than food and so meet the demand more immediately