Meet Jack; the Ninja Warrior turned Ironman

We have some truly exceptional athletes in our #bindicrew, and it is always inspiring to hear their achievements and challenges along the way.

Jack Wheatley was inspired as he watched some TV highlights of the Ironman Hawaii Word Championships.  He felt the initial buzz of the challenge, and after reading online about the journey most Ironman athletes go through, he knew he wanted a taste.

Jack lives and trains in Melbourne, Victoria with Team Tri Coaching, and so has used Geelong 70.3 as the perfect lead up to Ironman New Zealand which he is racing tomorrow.  We caught up with him this week and delved into his training routine, his diet (Jack is a plant-based athlete) and also his goals for race day…. read on to discover his unique race day nutrition plan!

You’ve done a lot of different things and had a lot of adventures… can tell us about some of them?

I was lucky enough to walk the Kokoda Trek in PNG ANZAC Day 2016 with my best mate. The emotional and physical journey along the track is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to join a company and start leading groups of people across the track myself. I’ll be taking my second group of people this coming ANZAC day on the 8 day hike.

Another exciting adventure was competing on Season 1 of Australian NINJA WARRIOR. To be involved in a production involving so many amazing athletes was incredibly humbling and one I’ll never forget.

What do you do with your time when not swim/bike/running?

I’m a huge foodie and love to spend time in my kitchen cooking up plant-based meals. Being a top end Age Group athlete, I try to focus all my meals on nutrient dense anti-inflammatory foods.

How did Geelong IM 70.3 race go for you? 

My coach at Team Tri Coaching and I planned to race Geelong 6 months ago as my final prep for Ironman NZ. The race was about staying strong and executing my plan correctly. The results were a course PB for me while also racing under heavy fatigue without a taper.

You must be excited to be at the final stages of preparation for IM New Zealand, tomorrow is race day! 

I’m super excited to race in Lake Taupo. Not only to try and qualify for Kona but to see what my body is capable of once it’s had the chance to freshen up over the past fortnight since racing in  Geelong. “I’ve had New Zealand on my mind every day these last 6 months”

Tell us about your training group in Melbourne and how they have helped your preparation?

I got involved with Team Tri Coaching 12 months ago post IM Geelong. The Team is located all over Australia, but I train specifically under my coaches’ guidance out of Port Melbourne. The group is full of super motivating men and woman all chasing different Ironman Goals. Being surrounded with people looking to achieve the same goal has helped push through those brick sessions at a higher intensity while being able to pick everyone’s brain for tips and tricks.

What is your favourite training session?

Tuesday & Thursday mornings my club meets in Port Melbourne at 5:15am to start a Mordialloc Return trip. The session includes a 55km ride with 45km in the TT position at 95% effort. Working off each other during a 2minute rotating effort has taken my cycling to another level. I love this session because when I sit down at work post Ride and Run off it feels like I’ve accomplished so much before the day has even began.

What does an average day look like nutrition-wise during these big training blocks?

Carbs, Carbs & more carbs!!

My key focus is that you are what you eat, and your food is what not only fuels you, but what helps your body recover.

My diet is heavily focused around whole food plants and I include high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and nutrient dense foods in every meal.

What is your ‘go-to’ post session recovery meal?

I like to get a Protein Smoothie in as soon as I can after each session. This includes Pea Protein, banana, spinach, kale, chia/Flax/Hemp seed, Ginger, Brazil/Walnuts and berries. This way I know I’m replenishing my stores instantly before looking at a proper meal.

How have you gone about planning your race nutrition? 

New Zealand will be my 4th Full distance Ironman, so I’ve got a fair idea on what to expect from my body during the race.

I’ve been training these last 3 months specifically by fuelling every session on Bindi Sports Hydration

In particular my Saturday 6-hour race simulation rides this last month have all been fuelled on 2 bottles filled with 15 scoops (225g carbs) which gives me around 75gram of carbs per hour.

Do you have any lessons learnt with regards to race nutrition?

One of the main lessons I learnt early on in my Ironman racing life was that you need to be fuelling your body while training with the same nutrition you will be racing with. Training sessions are not just for physical performance but also to practice the nutrition plan you will be executing on the day.

How do you fit all your nutrition on your bike?

I have a little pouch that I will carry 4 gels as a backup in.

I’ll also be carrying a plastic bag with some No-Doze and Salt tablets to help with a pickup in case I need that little extra during the bike leg.

Hopefully it won’t be necessary and 90% of my fuel will be in the bottles carried on the back of my bike

Do you have any specific goals for Ironman New Zealand?

My aim is a top 2 age group finish which will get me to Kona.  This has been my dream for the last 3 years.

What keeps you motivated?

The constant improvement while also being able to see what my body is capable of emotionally and physically.  Also, the people I’ve met through the sport and how positive they all are has kept me involved.

What’s your favourite inspirational quote that you like to live by?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit.”