Champion Fuel: 5 Keys of Rose Wetzel's Diet

What makes a champion? Are they gifted, or is it their genetics? Maybe it’s a combination. But make no mistake: those rising to the top aren’t merely riding the wave of luck. And they aren’t leaving their success to chance either.

To excel in any sport takes dedication, skill, and focused training. Few know that game better than female Spartan legend Rose Wetzel. If you’ve been with Spartan from the start, you’ll know that Rose Wetzel’s name is synonymous with Spartan elite women, and she’s got the stats to prove it:

  • Lifetime Spartan race record: 41 races; 20 wins; 36 podiums; 40 top-5 finishes
  • 2013–2014 Spartan Points Series—second place
  • 2014–2015 Spartan Points Series—second place
  • 2016 NBC Championship Series—third place
  • 2016 Spartan race results: 8 races; 3 wins; 7 podiums; 8 top-5 finishes
  • Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge 2015

With a recent addition to her family, new mom Rose has had to put even more focus into her training as time management and stress can easily be lurking around any corner. But as Rose shares, it’s not just a strong training plan that keeps her on the path to a kick-ass 2018 season. She owes a lot of it to her years of focus on nutrition. “I’ve spent a lot of time focused on nutrition, so now it’s second nature,” she says. Knowing what works for my performance has been years in the making.”

Wetzel's Spartan Racing record is remarkable: In 41 races, she's made the podium 36 times.

Where can you start? We’re all individuals, with bodies that respond differently. Here’s what has worked for Rose:

1. Listen to your body

“On one hand I have put a lot of thought historically into what I eat, but because I did that, it has now become second nature. So I listen to my body and let it tell me what I need. Sometimes all your body needs is simply to take a nap. You have to know whether you’re hungry, stressed, or tired.”

2. Be mindful of choices, but don’t deny yourself

“I have a sweet tooth. I know myself and have realized that I need to never deny myself, but always have an awareness of when having some is OK, and when I need to stop.”

3. Be aware of how a food affects you now, and later

After 20 years of competing, nutrition is now second nature. But it wasn’t always that way. I used to eat more foods based on taste and enjoyment. But now I know that I it’s more about how I feel after that matters. You also have to make sure that you’re eating enough so you can continue to perform and be at your best. I often find that, women especially, don’t eat enough”

4. Avoid processed foods and shop the perimeter

It’s all about whole foods. In general, I tend to eat what many would consider to be a Paleo diet. But at the end of the day it’s really about eating whole, unprocessed foods. These are the sorts of things found on the perimeter of the store.

Awareness, Wetzel says, is crucial to sustaining a good diet. Sometimes it's more a nap that you need then a snack.

5. Timing matters

“As you become more in tune with what you eat, you start to look at timing. I have definitely started to look at the timing of my protein intake as my training became more focused on strength along with my running. My focus on nutrition also changes in time throughout the race season. I may be most mindful in the 2 to 3 days leading up to a race during the first half of the season, but then becoming more focused as far as a week out during the second half. It can depend on how well I am doing and how much I need to push to perform better.”

One consistent message that Rose had?

Know yourself, eat whole foods, and eat mindfully.

The right food is the most powerful health drug of all. Download a free Spartan Meal Plan.