My interest in sports nutrition stemmed from a sheer fascination with the science surrounding this topic and a love of sport. After two years of further study in this specialist area, I was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Nutrition from the International Olympic Committee in 2009. This course is run by world leaders in this field such as Professor Louise Burke, Director of the Australian Institute of Sport.
In 2009, I also completed level 1 ISAK training. ISAK stands for the International Society for Advanced Kinanthropometry and I have been trained to measure the sum of 7 skinfolds according to ISAK standards. This is a useful measure to allow me to monitor body composition changes in athletes.
I began working in the field of sports nutrition in 2007 and have worked with a number of Senior GAA Football Clubs including Cavan, Louth and Monaghan.
I have also worked with rugby academy players, rugby club players, athletes training for marathon and other endurance events as well as triathletes including those training for Ironman events. I have also done many nutrition sessions over the years in a range of sports clubs across many disciplines and levels.
Sports Nutrition Services:
- Dietary Assessment
- Assessment of body composition (weight, height, % body fat)
- Assessment of individual carbohydrate and protein requirements
- Assessment of fluid requirements
- Setting nutritional goals and action planning regarding how to meet goals
- Establishing training and competition nutrition and hydration strategies
Additional Services that can be provided:
By measuring the specific gravity of urine using a refractometer, hydration status can be assessed and monitored on an ongoing basis. This is something that can be easily built into initial and review visits on requests and can be very useful in establishing an individualised fluid plan for training and competition.
In-Depth Dietary Analysis
By completing a detailed food diary, a deeper assessment of nutritional status is generated using specialised software. This analysis will provide information in relation to key nutrients including energy, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals. It compares a client’s nutrient intake to recommended nutrient intakes and identifies any suboptimal levels in terms of sports performance and good health generally.
The output of the analysis is a detailed and individualised report and may be useful in particular for elite athletes. This analysis is completed by Dara between appointments and feedback is given at a subsequent appointment.
Personalised Menu Plans
Individualised menu plans may be provided as required. They contain information that is meaningful to the sportsperson such as the energy, carbohydrate and protein content of each meal and can take account of individual food preferences. In the case of Gaelic Football for example, specific plans can be provided for a range of scenarios such as resistance training days, pitch training days and match day. These client-specific menu plans are produced by Dara between appointments and given at a follow-up session.
Nutrition service can vary and depend on the needs of the tea. However, in general, it would include:
- Group education sessions focusing on performance nutrition and hydration
- Attending training sessions and games to monitor hydration and recovery strategies in practice as well as catering provision post-training/post-matches
- Hydration monitoring at training sessions & assessment of fluid requirments
- Individual work with players to achieve individual goals such as weight loss/weight gain/reduce fatigue in training and games/address re-current illness/address issues such as re-current muscle cramping/improve sports performance generally
- Assessment of body composition (Skin calipers – sum of 7 skin folds) or using Tanita scales
- Training and competition eating plans
- Orientation planning for athletes planning to compete abroad
- Food service issues such as food provision at training/competition can be addressed
- Supermarket tours with education on time management skills, reading food labels and low budget purchasing can be offered
- Cooking sessions for teams can be organised to educate on eating for sport in a very practical sense.