Registered Nutritionist and Course Leader of Applied Human Nutrition
Education:King Edward VI High school (Birmingham), University of Glasgow, Massey University (New Zealand), University of Southampton
Qualifications:BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD
Work History:University of Southampton and Solent University
Course Leader of Applied Human Nutrition
Sports Nutritionist. I also run the Applied Human Nutrition course at Solent University.
I’ve made a little video to show you the kind of things I do as a Sports Nutritionist and the types of people I work with….
My Typical Day
I don't have a typical day! Different athletes have different nutritional needs. I work one to one with them or even with big groups. I also do a lot of teaching on the Applied Human Nutrition degree.
I’m basically batman. I help athletes do super-human things by getting them to eat and drink the right things. Check out this video to find out more…..
My day is massively varied – no two days are the same! A lot of my time is spent running the Applied Human Nutrition degree at Solent University – teaching, marking, and helping students achieve their career goals. October to May is usually pretty busy!
The Spark – where I do some of my teaching (photo taken by Solent University).
The University is an amazing place to teach. The technology we have is unreal! Things have changed so much since I was at uni!
One of our lecture theatres. It even has sockets so you can charge your laptop or phone while you learn! (Photo taken by Solent University)
The course isn’t just about lectures – there are lots of practical sessions, including ones in the biochemistry lab, where you learn about the science behind nutrition (photo taken by Solent University).
But I also spend a good chunk of my time working with athletes. These can be people who’ve just started a sport, or are doing their first marathon, all the way up to elite athletes. I’m lucky enough to work with athletes from the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, which is a Sport England programme that supports talented student-athletes. I also work with the High-Performance Academy at Solent University, and have worked with Paralympians.
Aaron Phipps (GB wheelchair rugby) – one of the Paralympians I work with (photo taken by Solent University).
At the moment I’m also working with a team of Explorers who’re planning to be the first Scout group to cross Antarctica.
Checking to see how much body fat the Antarctic Explorers have (photo taken by Solent University).
The type of work I do as a Sports Nutritionist is really varied. I might have workshops in our nutrition lab on how to make a sports drink, or cooking some recovery snacks. Or I might be finding out how much body fat athletes have, to see if they’re in the best shape they can be for their sport. I also look at what they’re eating to find out if there are any quick fixes they can make to be better at their sport.
The nutrition lab – where the students had a healthy Bake-off at Christmas. The results were delicious! (photo taken by Solent University)
Although you may not think it, there’s a lot of science involved in all of this. You have to understand why you’re suggesting a particular sports drink, or what effect a supplement will have on the body. So to do this, I spend a lot of time reading about the latest developments in sports nutrition, and even doing my own research. I’m particularly interested at the moment in whether chillis can improve sports performance.
How I got into this job
I started off as a plant scientist, but then found I was more interested in how food can affect you. I always loved sports when I was growing up, and it made sense to combine my two loves - food and sport!
What's the best thing you've ever done in your career?
The best thing I've done so far is working with Paralympic athletes. Any elite athlete is incredibly inspiring, and being able to help them win is amazing.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be in the same career as you?
Get as much experience as possible. It shows that you’re interested in what you do and makes you stand out in job interviews.
What do you see as your next step in your career?
Working with more elite athletes.
What other sorts of jobs can you do with your qualifications?
Anything in nutrition. Lab scientist, health promotion, researcher, teacher, freelance nutritionist.
What's the best part of your current job?
Working with athletes, telling them what to eat and then getting to watch them win medals!
What don't you like about your current job?
There isn’t much I don’t like, although I hate it when people get tricked into believing something about nutrition that isn’t true and then making themselves ill from it.