Emily McWilliams

McWilliams SideDivision you will compete in: Kettlebell Sport

Age: 32

Height: 5’7”

Weight/Competition Weight: 58kg

Current personal records in the jerk, snatch, and/or long cycle: First competition in February 2017 so no real PRs yet!

City: New Orleans

Years as a vegan: 8

Why you became a Vegan: There are a few facets to this answer that all worked together to my becoming vegan. For much of my life, I had a lot of issues eating meat; for me, meat was very clearly an animal. Even as a child, I connected the meat on my plate to the living animal I loved in life. There were many times throughout my childhood that I would refuse to eat the meat my family would prepare, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized there were other ways to eat that were not only compassionate and ethical, but healthy, both physically and mentally. A large part of my final decision to eliminate all animal products from my lifestyle was almost a decade ago when my partner and I started dating. He was already vegan, and since I also love to cook, I started experimenting with vegan cuisine. It did not take long for me to realize that I was comfortable with and fully supported, in theory and practice, this lifestyle. Being vegan is one way to support animal, environmental, and economic welfare; health benefits are a great bonus!

History Competing: First competition in Costa Mesa, February 2017

What drives you to compete: On a personal level, I deal with social and performance anxiety. I grew up studying classical piano, and piano recitals were an absolute nightmare for me. It wasn’t until college that I started being able to overcome that stage fright. Competing allows me to continue working on my own self betterment and handle the very things that cause fear in me. On a more global level, competing as a vegan athlete brings awareness to issues of animal welfare while also disproving the common misconception that athletes need animal protein to thrive.

What do you see as the biggest advantages of being a vegan athlete: My energy while eating a healthy plant-based diet is far better than it ever was before I became vegan.

What types of supplements if any do you use: I take sublingual B-12 and use a protein powder on training days. My favorite for taste and absorption is Plantfusion.

How would you describe your diet while preparing for a competition: My diet is generally the same year-round. I feel my best – most energized and strongest – eating a balanced diet with veggies, a grain, and a protein. I will occasionally go through a building phase, where I up my caloric intake and usually favor a slightly higher protein and carb intake, but typically, I follow a very similar diet day-to-day. I have a sweet tooth, but I limit my processed sweets consumption, mostly because I feel better when I don’t have too much sugar!

Favorite food in your prep diet: I like protein smoothies with fruit and veggies (favorite is a blend of blueberries, ginger, tiny slice of red beet, kale, banana, and protein powder).

How would you describe your training for a competition: Since I am new to this, my training leading up to my first competition in February 2017 has been a couple months of general strength training with a custom program the owner of Cypress Fitness in New Orleans wrote for me, where I have had the opportunity to experiment with the different kettlebell sport lifts to see what was coming along with the best form and progress, while simultaneously building strength. In December, I segued into a combination of strength and endurance training before the competition, focusing on pacing and reps. On a weekly basis, I have two dedicated kettlebell workouts and one GPP workout. Every day, I do mobility and flexibility exercises. For endurance, I enjoy using the row machine and jumping rope.

Favorite exercises: I enjoy most exercises! With kettlebell sport, I really enjoy exercises that break down a full movement into its individual parts (i.e. breaking down long cycle into swings, cleans, bumps, and jerks). I like seeing how the parts make the whole. As far as the competition lifts go, I favor kettlebell snatch at the moment. I also enjoy any support exercises – powerlifting, bulgarian bags, body weight movements.

How many hours a week do you spend training: 7.5-10

Today I am most proud of: Helping others live well and compassionately; I strive to do this in my job, which is in the music industry, and I always strive to do this in my personal life, in each interaction with others I have.

Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lulu_mcwill/

Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emily.mcwilliams.3