Ever since graduating as a dietitian one of my career goals has been to become a sports dietitian. Earlier this year I ticked that goal off my bucket list and became an Accredited Sports Dietitian with Sports Dietitians Australia.
The Sports Dietitians Australia course is a four day long course held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra once a year. I was lucky to get a place in this year’s intake and flew over from the UK to attend.
I loved the practicalities of the course. There was supplement taking while running sessions (practice for marathons or triathlons), urine specific gravity testing to see who was the most dehydrated, VO2 max sessions on the treadmill, DEXA scan analysis and much much more. As someone who is deeply passionate about sports nutrition, I loved every minute.
I particularly liked how we got to eat in the canteen with the athletes who were training at the time. It was great seeing the variety of foods on offer – and observing the choices that were made.
Being only four days, the SDA course is absolutely jam packed, so getting out on the bike before or after really helped me focus while inside during the day. Yes I took my bike with me to Australia! Canberra is a sort of bike riding heaven, the roads are so smooth and designed for cyclists.
Since completing the course I have been working with my sports dietitian mentor Kerryn Boogard from The Wholesome Collective to gain my full qualification as an Accredited Sports Dietitian. This involves completing a number of hours every year of professional development, continuous training, reading and learning within the sports nutrition field and clinical practice with athletes.
My sports nutrition interests
My main interests in sports nutrition centre around cycling, triathlons and multi-day endurance activities. I thoroughly believe in using an individualised, whole foods approach where possible. However there is always a place for supplements, when used appropriately.
I’m working with a number of athletes at the moment, and will soon be the team sports nutritionist for Team 22 WRT. They’re an amateur women’s cycling team here in the UK who are doing extremely well for themselves. Exciting times!
What’s next for me in sports nutrition?
I am also extremely excited to be starting a Masters in Sports Nutrition at Liverpool John Moores University this month led by Professor Graeme Close and Dr James Morton! I’ve met a number of the lecturers and PhD students over the last year at various sports nutrition events and while being a participant in one of their many research trials and seriously cannot wait for this course to start.
Getting involved in research while working full-time has been an eye-opener in many ways. I’ve learnt lots of things that is useful in my own practice while designing research studies, and am working on becoming the best participant recruiter the uni has – particularly for women’s sport!
Long term I’ve always considered doing a PhD in sports nutrition so we shall see what happens about that. I would love to contribute towards the huge gaps of knowledge in women’s sports nutrition. Everything is based upon evidence in men and that needs to change!