Courtesy of Dr. Kirsty Fairbairn
Kia Ora from Down Under!
My name is Dr. Kirsty Fairbairn, I’m a Senior Consultant Sports Dietitian with Invigorate Nutrition, based in Dunedin, New Zealand. I have a BSc in Nutrition, a Postgrad Diploma in Dietetics, a Masters of Science degree in the Glycaemic Index of NZ Foods, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Sydney investigating the interaction between skeletal muscle fat and carbohydrate metabolism in athletes and the offspring of people with Type 2 Diabetes.
Over my 20 year + career in sports nutrition, I have helped many clients change their eating habits so that they can feel better able to balance study or work and sport. I have LOTS of experience in male team sport, with professional rugby league squads in Australia and professional rugby union squads in New Zealand. I have worked with swimmers since I started in Sports Nutrition during my PhD in Sydney, including a particularly satisfying relationship with a very successful vegetarian sprint swimmer in Australia. I see swimmers regularly in my private practice here in Dunedin, and I also consult to Singapore’s first ever gold medallist (at the Rio Olympic Games), Joseph Schooling. I was Head of Sport Nutrition at the Singapore Sports Institute during 2014 and 2015, so got to meet Jo then & continue to support him since moving back home. In Singapore, I also had the pleasure of working with Singapore’s very successful para-swimmers Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh, and the rest of the Singapore Swim squad (shout out to you all! Miss you!).
More importantly than all that though, I love food, I love sport, and I am a natural nurturer. I LOVE helping my gorgeous young clients be the best that they can be, in both sport and in life. I find young people so inspiring when they have their eye on a goal and they just go for it! But I am growing increasingly concerned about the changing role of both food and exercise in today’s ‘clickbait’ culture. We are fast becoming a society that only values food to make us look good or lose weight, and the only reason we would ever take part in exercise is for the same. To use a classic Aussie saying, “Crikey!” that is NOT GOOD (I am half-Australian and it sneaks out sometimes 😊)
As a parent myself, I see the the nutrition maze strike confusion and trepidation in other parents; whereever you look there is conflicting information! It’s a minefield! Honestly, there is no single ‘best’ diet or way of eating; instead there are so many ways that we can combine foods to ensure that we get the nutrients we need to sustain growth, maturation, study and sport. There is plenty of room for flexibility.
As a Dietitian, I am a person, not a diet. I do not have a particular dietary strategy that I believe EVERYONE should follow. I am not here to sell you products. If there are nutrition adverts on this page, that will be a coincidence or a paid advert for the magazine, and will not be an endorsement from me. In my practice I have a toolbox with many different dietary strategies that I would employ with a client at different stages of their season or different stages of their life. Most importantly, Dietitians usually will listen to their clients first, and then based on their clients goals, support network and personality, we’ll suggest a strategy that might appeal.
So I am going to be contributing to SwimSwam magazine in that spirit. I hope you enjoy these pieces. I will be exploring various aspects of nutrition with you. It will not always be about sports nutrition, as first and foremost we need to be healthy to succeed in anything we decide to do in life.
If you feel that you or your child needs further input and support (or convincing!) please do see an accredited Sports Dietitian. In the US they will be a Registered Dietitian and a member of SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition subgroup of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and be CSSD accredited. In Canada they will be a Registered Dietitian also, with experience in Sports Nutrition. In Australia and New Zealand, they will be an Accredited Sports Dietitian with SDA (Sports Dietitians Australia). In the UK they will be registered with SENr (Sports and Exercise Nutrition register). They may also be a member of the international organisation PINES (Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport). Each country has their own accreditation processes, however we all do like to connect globally to share our experiences and knowledge and ensure we stay at the top of our game. It’s necessary when you are working with elite athletes!
I am also happy to be contacted via my website www.invigoratenutrition.com. For further nutrition tidbits do follow me on Facebook (InvigorateNutritionDietitian) and Twitter or Instagram (@KFSportsNut – because that is what I am 😊).
I hope you enjoy this nutrition segment!