Pole vaulting is a sport that requires speed, agility, and strength. If you don't have all three, you're bound to fall short—literally. It's a sport that Team Canada's Anicka Newell has pretty much perfected. In 2016 at the Port Aransas Beach Vault, Newell vaulted to a height of 4.67 meters (15.3 feet)—the highest ever by a Canadian woman. Later that year, she competed at the Rio Olympics—marking her first-ever Olympics games.
Though she's Canadian, Newell lives in Texas and is currently in the thick of training for the Summer Olympics, which are still set to be held in Tokyo this July. ("I grew up in New Mexico but my mom is Canadian, so I have dual citizenship," she explains.) "I train six days a week, anywhere from three to six hours a day," Newell says. The workouts, she explains, are a mix of weight workouts, cardio, and of course, pole vaulting.
But her training doesn't just happen in the gym or on the field; it takes place in the kitchen, too. What she eats is vital for having enough strength and endurance to be a record-setting athlete. "I don't follow any type of 'diet' per se, but I do work with a nutritionist who gives me a checklist of nutrients I need to get on a daily basis, with foods that have those nutrients," she says. Her eating habits aren't necessarily for the average person—her lifestyle is definitely not the norm!—but below she shares what works best for her.
What does Olympic pole vaulter Anicka Newell eat on an average day? Keep reading to find out.
Because Newell works out three to six hours a day, she says when she eats revolve around her training schedule. "Literally, I plan it down to the minute," she says. That starts with breakfast, which she eats at 6:30 a.m. On days when she's pole vaulting, she likes to make protein pancakes, with protein powder worked right into the batter. "I make them with banana and oats," Newell says. And to drink: a big cup of coffee.
After two hours of training, Newell says she'll take a break and have either a protein shake or a protein bar. "I make it with Fairlife chocolate milk ($30 for a 12-pack), protein powder, almond butter, banana, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds," she says. Then, it's back to training.
Newell says that on super busy days, lunch is either a sandwich or wrap, but when she has more time, she likes to make either chicken or tilapia with rice. "You know those rice packets that are ready in 90 seconds in the microwave? I love those," she says. After lunch, it's once again back to work with the team.
In addition to being an Olympic athlete, Newell is also a track coach at Elite Sportz SA. Practice is every night from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., so Newell says she pre-packs her dinner to eat while she's at practice. "I always have a protein, carb, and veggie of some sort but I mix up the sources of them," she says. Growing up in New Mexico and living in Texas, she's a big fan of Mexican food, so she often has tacos for dinner. "I make them with ground turkey meat, bell peppers, onion, and guacamole," she says. Even eaten on the sidelines at practice, it's still delicious.
Newell says she also always brings a Tohi ($29 for a 12-pack) with her too, a beverage she's an ambassador for. "It's really important to stay hydrated—especially being an athlete—and these drinks satisfy my craving for something sweet but are made with monk fruit, not cane sugar," she says.
Dessert is another time when Newell enjoys something sweet. "I like to have either Ghirardelli chocolate ($19 for a six-pack) or an ice-cream bar," she says. But when she's done with dessert, it's time to head to bed. After all, there's another early day of training ahead of her. Tokyo waits for no one!
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