Nutrition as a Performance Tool

Science and in particular nutritional science is fast advancing and evolving. What we know is that nutrition plays a huge part in our performance as human beings, whether that’s Sport, academic or employment. It has an integral role in regulating immune, bone, hormonal and physical health.

“In high pressure environments, chronic stress and competition can have a negative impact on mental and physical health, resulting in poor performance and outcome.”

This may manifest in different forms from dysfunctional relationships with food; compulsive obsessive traits; poor sleep or a depressed immune system, increasing prevalence of infections and illness.

The crux of the issue is usually more management of stress and anxiety. We all know that anxiety can be crippling and the desire to succeed in the work place, can heighten this considerably. In my work I am often approached by high profile individuals who have suffered “burn out” and are struggling with all aspects of their life.

Some examples include those who take up exercise as means of managing stress; there are numerous studies that demonstrate the link between improved mental well being and physical activity. It is a dose related response, to a point.

When you are someone who is ambitious, driven to succeed, I regularly observe that you put the same effort into your “hobby”. I have worked with many individuals with high pressurized roles who have taken up endurance sport- running, triathlon or cycling as a means of managing stress levels. What starts out as a means of “down time” soon, due to their personality traits, can become something else to fixate and obsess over; 5am long runs after 4 hours sleep or cramming in 3 sporting disciplines around a 12 hour work day become the norm. That need to succeed the driving force like a task master. In all the cases I have worked with, this soon transpires as over training resulting with the physical body and mind no longer responding.

Similarly, I have worked with young graduates, starting out on their career path, eager to please in order to get ahead in the competitive world of employment. They feel the stress and anxiety and run on adrenaline; but somehow its still not quite enough. Anxiety makes us feel uncomfortable –its our body’s way of responding to threat and so when we feel physically anxious, its only natural that we want to stop it. However, here is the thing, you can’t actually control anxiety –you have to learn to manage it. People use many ways to control –alcohol, exercise and the one I see, food. What sets out as a means of trying to “help” can soon turn into a list of food rules that help them feel in “control” and “safe”. Sadly, this dysfunctional relationship with food, while may have improved their anxiety momentarily, just comes back to bite them, resulting in social isolation and a complete inability to step outside of their box of food rules.

Most companies want productivity and consistency – and in order for this to happen, they need to be mindful of the welfare of their employees.

Good nutritional practices are one way to support this.

My seminars and workshops are designed to support a healthy attitude to food, living and work.

I will first and foremost debunk the myths around nutrition and help to re-educate your mind to understand what it is to have a healthy attitude towards food, rather than looking for the next so called “superfood” or “wonder supplement”

I will discuss nutrition strategies to prevent stress but equally look at interventions for those of you who may have already identified that you may be at risk of burn out.

I can offer practical demonstrations and recipes to inspire you to eat well and fuel appropriately, encouraging a healthy gut microbiome which has been linked to reducing the incidence of depression and low mood; improved immunity and weight management.

My biochemistry background means that I can interpret blood biomarkers and provide feedback that can help to devise bespoke nutrition plans.

Similar my dual experience of working in high performance sport both as head of performance and also nutrition means I can help you to identify how to monitor your progress and look at any potential barriers that may be preventing you from meeting your goals and targets