Challenged Athletes Foundation Ambassador and first bilateral above the knee blade runner to complete the IRONMAN World Championship on prosthetic legs.
Roderick Sewell Jackson, a Challenged Athletes Foundation Ambassador, is the first bilateral above the knee blade runner to complete the IRONMAN World Championships on prosthetic legs. Born missing tibias in both of his legs, which prevented him from walking, his mother had to make the difficult decision to either have both of his legs amputated before he turned two or for him to live his life in a wheelchair. She chose to have them amputated.
On October 12, 2019, at 27-years-old, Roderick completed the IRONMAN World Championship at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The race involved him completing a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race using a kneeler-style handcycle provided by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and a 26.2-mile marathon on running blades.
We chatted with Roderick about his diet, what fuels his training, and how to easily sneak protein into his plant-based diet. His biggest hacks? Grazing throughout the day and incorporating fruit into your diet. “I train for two to three hours, six times a week, so I want to make sure my protein intake is high,” he says. “Before I started eating a high-protein, plant-based diet, I was wondering where my protein would come from, not even realizing I was getting what I needed the whole time.” Here are Roderick’s top hacks for getting the protein your body needs...
Hack one: Graze Throughout the Day
“I try to have some source of protein in all of my meals. I have my favorites but I try to switch it up every once in a while. I love to snack. Anyone who knows me knows that I am constantly snacking on something—my metabolism is like a fire. I try to keep the fire going and not let it go out. You want your metabolism to stay high. If I go three hours without a meal, burning as many calories as I do, I am already starting a deficit.”
Hack two: Incorporate Fruit and Vegetables into Your Diet
“I’m always eating apples but I’ve learned to not eat them without almond butter. Adding that little bit of protein to fruit has made a world of difference. I snack at least three times a day, with an hour and a half between meals. This way I don’t have to eat a lot of food at each meal—I eat enough to get what I need without starving before or feeling too full afterward. I always want my body to have fuel to burn.
One of my favorite vegetables is spinach, I put it in all of my smoothies. A little added spinach—cooked or raw—always helps. Vega Sport® Premium Protein has more than enough grams of protein for pre or post-workout fuel. If I make a mix with Vega Sport® Recovery or Vega Sport® Nighttime Rest & Repair then I add more spinach.
Hack Three: Eat nuts and double up
Another snack that’s an easy source of protein is peanuts and almonds. These two options have always been a go-to—I even go as far as to have it in my salads. When I make salads, whatever I put in, I always double up. The one thing I double up on the most is lentils, which are a good source of protein. I also make sure to double up on broccoli, kale, and mushrooms.
Hack Four: Listen to your Body
When I was younger my mom and I were going through financial hardship. We would eat very basic meals, and at the time I didn’t realize how healthy those meals were for me. Beans and rice were a common meal and although that was all we could afford; I was still getting major benefits at a young age which helped play a part in forming the diet I train on today. It all starts with listening to your body and learning what you need.