Scottish wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn is a sporting inspiration to us all.
The 21-year-old was left paralysed in December 2010 after she was crushed under the beam of a forklift truck in the snow. She had emergency surgery and spent five months rehabilitating in hospital.
While she was in the rehabilitation centre, she met Jo Butterfield – a parasport athlete who was undergoing rehab for a spinal injury.
The pair sparked up a friendship and Kinghorn was inspired to take up wheelchair racing.
“To find I could actually compete in sport in my wheelchair has just been incredible,” she said previously. “Sport has helped me to accept it really.”
Kinghorn competed in the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games 100 metres sprint, where she finished fifth.
She has won numerous medals previously, including Britain’s first gold medal in the T53 Women’s 400m at the 2014 IPC European Championships. She went on to win golds in the 100m and 800m races, too.
This year, the Paralympian is hoping to cover the marathon distance in an attempt to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
For the latest in our Fit Fix series, we spoke to Kinghorn about her training week and why she believes snacking is so important.
Talk us through your week in fitness.
“I workout in 12 sessions per week (I train twice a day, six days a week), and do a mix of strength and conditioning training, wheelchair pushing on the track and road and massage therapy.
“In the winter, loadings are greater and as we get towards the start of the season it becomes more speed and power driven.
“In March/April I generally do warm weather training for three weeks – this year I am off to Tenerife.”
What’s your favourite type of workout and why?
“Track pyramids, where you increase and decrease reps with a set recovery. This is because of the variety of the session and the high intensity work.
“I relish a challenge and these are the most challenging sessions that my coach sets me. In the winter, they are very long and gruelling.”
Do you have rest days?
“Yes I get a Saturday off and I like to sleep and hang out with my friends, although I sometimes have to juggle rest days depending on my life impinging on my training.
“I have a longer break around Christmas time which runs into my birthday and I love to get a sneaky Nintendo Wii session in there.”
What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?
“I eat high carbs during the day and, when training, no carbs at night. I always aim to eat healthily and make sure I prepare most of my food and keep it fresh and local (having been brought up on a farm I know the difference that fresh produce makes in terms of quality and taste).
“I particularly like seafood if I’m eating out.”
What are your pre and post-workout snacks?
“Pre-workout, I eat malt loaf and post-workout, probably chocolate milk (or something high in protein).
“I snack during sessions too, particularly when it is long and involved as it is important to keep fuelling the body when training. I always prepare a recovery drink before each session too.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?
“When you train you need to eat more and snacking is important (snacking on the right food of course). It is like fuelling a car, if you put the right stuff in the tank then the engine will be more efficient.”
Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?
“Yeah: ‘As long as you never give up you’ll never fail’, that is my mum’s favourite saying and it inspires me. My coach keeps telling me to believe.”
Do you always have fitness goals you are aiming for?
“This year I’m aiming to increase strength in gym sessions and increase racing speed to improve at my sport.
“Targets are important and you should always aim to be the best that you can be.”
What’s your ultimate workout track and why?
“Chasing Status’ ‘End Credits’ because it reminds me of hanging out with friends and our girls’ holiday that we had around three years ago, which was so much fun.
“I love music and always have it playing in the car or when training indoors.”
Sammi Kinghorn is part of the Christopher Ward Challenger Programme, which aims to support athletes to achieve their ambitions.