Leanne graduated from University of Ulster with a BSc (Hons) in Human Nutrition, followed by a PGCE in Food Technology. She has over ten years` experience in the food industry, with a focus on sports nutrition, weight management and digestive health, as well as experience teaching Food Technology. Leanne supports our ESS Defence and Offshore sectors, a pretty unique role and probably the only nutritionist to fly out to an oil rig to deliver nutrition education!
We squeezed in some time with Leanne to ask her some popular sports nutrition focused questions. Here are the first six questions from our catch up (more coming soon!).
1. What is the most important nutrient for a sports person?
Carbohydrate hands down! Whilst there have been many new pieces of research that show fat or protein is better over the years, the guidelines always revert back to carbohydrate. The reason being that carbohydrate is broken down the most efficiently during intense exercise. Whilst there are certain techniques that may help the body adapt to utilising fat better during exercise in particular ultra endurance exercise, given the chance the body will always use carbohydrate first.
2. Is there a certain amount of carbohydrate I should be aiming to have?
For the general population it is recommended that 50% of your total daily energy (calories) should come from carbohydrate, 30% from fat and 20% from protein. For an athlete this should increase to around 60% of total daily energy (calories) from carbohydrate with fat and protein decreasing proportionately. This may vary from athlete to athlete, type and length of exercise however aiming for this guideline will help maintain performance and overall health during training and events.
3. What advice would you give to someone who exercises three times a week, for an hour at a time, doing a class such as spinning, Zumba, body pump or quite a vigorous swim session?
Provided they have a healthy balanced diet and re-hydrate throughout the day they don`t need to eat anything extra on board. The International Olympic Committee state that you only need to think about refueling strategies for exercise lasting over 60 minutes. There is no need to take sports supplements for any of these types of classes/exercise.