An Interview with Harrison- The Nutrition-focused Triathlete

Hazel Needham

Hazel Needham

Harrison Rolls-King is the real-life nutrition-focused hero that’s tackling ironman competitions, triathlons, and sharing his journey from a passionate young sportsperson to a top-class athlete! Training and health are top priorities for Harrison, and as somewhat of a nutrition guru, he brings his holistic approach to training to his social media channels.

1 - Harrison Rolls-King in a Blueseventy wetsuit on a pebbled beach

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Let’s meet Harrison our nutrition-focused triathlon hero

We sat down with a nutrition-focused triathlon star to talk about how he preps for such a physical lifestyle and grabbed some tips for success.

Eastbourne native Harrison has been passionate about sport since he was a child, and he knows the only way to a healthy body is good nutrition! With plant-based protein brand Nuzest as his recovery and health partner helping to make sure he’s in peak condition, and a genuine love for food and sunshine, we wanted to know what makes an Olympic triathlete tick.

Harrison, you started triathlon training at the tender age of ten! Did you always know how important nutrition was as a kid?

Starting sport at such a young age within a high-performance centre, nutrition was always a hot topic of conversion for maximising growth and recovery. I was lucky I had a lot of older and very experienced athletes to learn off but I wasn’t the easiest kid to encourage to eat their 5 a day. I have clear memories of my mum always trying to get me to eat my broccoli and me always wanting to only eat the leaves and not the stalks but I’d like to think I am a lot better now!

A real turning point for me growing up was when I was a teenager and I was growing a lot in a short space of time. I was constantly getting sick and colds became chest infections, my immune system was cream crackered. At that point, I knew nutrition needed more attention and work to make my immune system more robust as I grew.

2 - Harrison Rolls-King running in an “attack the day” vest shirt

And what was the first sport that got you into triathlon training?

So, as a kid, I started playing tennis and did swimming from the age of 5 years old. I turned my focus to swimming more at aged 8 and at age 9 started working with my new coach of 15 years, Glenn Cook at Team Bodyworks in Eastbourne who transformed me into the triathlete I am today! Funny story actually; initially I was petrified of water. I refused to go to the swimming pool. I would sit on the edge and scream the place down.

Not even a lifeguard with a big bag of Haribos could get this food-loving child to get in the pool. In the end, it was time to just take the plunge! Remember I was only 4/5 years old, my dad just picked me up and dragged me into the pool kicking and screaming for me to realise a few minutes later, it was okay and the rest is history!

What do you consider your most challenging discipline now? Has it changed?

I think my running has always been a work in progress and still is to some respect. I am a much more rounded athlete across the three disciplines and that gives me confidence as I continue to develop. I think it is also fair to say if you ask any multipart athlete, each discipline presents its own challenges at different points whether that be an injury, technical improvements and changes or fluctuations in fitness so it is always a big juggling act. 

3 - Harrison Rolls-King running in a blue zipped track shirt
Plant-based Nuzest is our favourite protein supplement, what’s your favourite thing to blend it with, any recipe recommendations?

Ooo yes! My favourite Clean Lean Protein flavours are strawberry and chocolate. Love to make vegan chocolate Oreo brownies including the Nuzest CLP Chocolate powder! I am still perfecting the recipe but when I have nailed it, I’ll let you have it! 

(Our editor will be holding Harrison to this promise . . . ) 

My favourite clean lean protein flavours are strawberry and chocloate - Image of a pot of chocloate protein with a milkshake

It’s super sustainable too, being out training in nature, what do you say to people trying to be more environmentally conscious?

Super sustainable for sure! For those trying to be environmentally conscious, don’t worry about doing it perfectly all the time. Having lots of people being environmentally friendly, imperfectly, is far better than having a few doing it perfectly! All the little day to day changes can add up to a big change overall. 

We couldn’t agree more! We heard that you’re pursuing the long course racing license, how is that different and what challenges do you face going forward?

Yeah, that’s right – I have around 8 years of experience racing the National Elite Super Series (short course) and experience at European Junior Cups. However, long course racing over the full and half distance is managed by a different world governing body but athletes still have to prove they are able to perform at the level required by British Triathlon to get the license.

Now, this criteria is one of the toughest globally, which is good because when you get it, you know you will be competitive when you land in the pro field. This also makes it a challenge to get the licence in the first place. The criteria can be hit in many different ways and are pretty complex.

Will Cowen has some great nutrition-focused advice 

A good friend of mine Will Cowen did a really good explanation on his youtube channel here. I sometimes have to refer to this video to make sure I am understanding it right! The crux of it is, every race I do I am improving and in several cases, this has been by over 15 minutes on a 4hour+ race. So the jumps are big and training is remaining consistent. Balancing it with a full-time job has its challenges for sure but I still love what I do and I know it’s just a matter of hard work, consistency and time. 

5 - Harrison Rolls-King wearing a Nike camo jacket
The ironman is hardcore! Can you tell us a little bit about the meal prep you do in the days leading up to the event? How do you get the right fuel for your body?

I think for me I like to keep things pretty basic. In race week the fruit and veg consumption goes down to reduce fibre intake and helps avoid tummy upset come race day. Ensuring that I am eating enough carbs and protein is key to absorbing all the training I have done before taper/race week and I have enough fuel for the long day of racing ahead. I tend to go for rice and pasta dishes often with some basic side salad and were available some simple chicken breast. I’ll often try to book self-catered apartments to help keep costs down and have the food that I want, prepped by me!

You’re a total social media guru, what message do you want to spread on your platform so that others can reach for success like you?

I hope to share my views on the events I do and a level of transparency on how they went. I try to be as open and honest as possible, especially with post-race thoughts because sport isn’t straight forward and neither is life. I have had some exciting wins this year and also some disappointments not achieving goals I really wanted to.

Having perspective on this is key and important to have. Something else you will notice on my social channels is the brands I work with. I truly believe in the products I use and promote. I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise. I am always on hand to lend technical product advice to anyone looking to start using them and help out where I can. 

Clean Lean Protein - With Nuzest

Thank you so much for the nutrition-focused chat Harrison! 

Thanks so much for chatting with us Harrison! Consider us here at One Tribe pumped and ready to get our wetsuits on. If you got inspired reading Harrison’s story, check out his website to learn more, and while you’re at it, check out his sustainable plant-based partners over at nuzest!

One Tribe are committed to bringing you the best in climate action news, thought-provoking personality interviews, and ways to save the planet wherever you are in the world. Why not browse our blog for more inspirational pieces? And check out another great story with another health and fitness influencer – Cassie Amber. 

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