AIS Nutrition at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games


Here at the AIS there is 10 sport start dietitions,
8 of us on site, 1 in Brisbane full time on the Gold Coast. We also have a full time food
service dietition who basically just works in the dining hall and the food service environment
delivering the right type of food and the right type of nutrition to athletes. It’s
a big family and everyone plays their role. My names Greg Shaw, I am a senior sports dietition
at the AIS and my main responsibility is working with the swimming program both here at the
NTC as well as nationally as the national nutrition league. My role with the National
Training Centre and other service providers on a daily basis is to make sure that they
have got enough energy to train and adapt to the training that they are doing and make
sure that they have got all the skills and knowledge that’s required of them to train
at the optimum. At a national level I work with the national team on developing the catering
in the hotel in the staging camp in Manchester beforehand for the swimmers as well as overseeing
the supplementation in some of the recovery practises that happen in the Commonwealth
Games environment itself. Getting athletes the information that they need to survive
in the Commonwealth Games village and the dining hall that they may not be used to.
Nutrition for them pre games is about making sure they have enough energy to do the training
that’s required of them. If they don’t have enough over all energy there can be some
serious consequences to that. They can get sick, they can get ill, they can get injured,
they can just not adapt to the training load given to them. From a inner game situation
if they are not sure that their body is optimised for performance for beforehand they cannot
perform as well or id they are not recovering after some of the swims that they are going
in the meet there are consequences at the end of the competition week.
We work with the athletes to ensure that their daily nutrition plan is well formulated to
meet their training requirements and nutrition is there to support or amplify the training
that they are getting to help them adapt to the training. We look at a range of different
nutrients from carbohydrate, protein, fat as well as a range of different micro nutrients
and we never look at those things in isolation we look at them as holistic things and we
focus on a food first policy. We do provide supplement support to them both in training
and competition situation so they may be taking supplemental sports food, so protein powders
to help them recover and regenerate after training or they might be using things like
gels during training to perform and then during competition situations it will be a tailored
individualised package for them to optimise performance.
We do spend a lot of time intervening with the athletes and teaching them new skills
and knowledge but we also change the environment which they eat food and engage around food
to make sure that they’re not getting into trouble so the dinning all is a great example
of that is going into the Commonwealth Games dining hall there is a mass of choice and
a mass of variety and making sure they are not overwhelmed. That is one of the most important
things that we can teach them. Some fundamentals that apply to athletes across
the board is they need to be well planned they really need to have a good understanding
of their training requirement. We work heavily with the athlete in teaching them the skill
in how to fluctuate their nutrition in take to match their requirements never eating too
much and not eating enough to meet their requirements. They need to be planned and they need to have
good understanding of their daily training requirement.
For any athlete competing in the Commonwealth Games, I wish they enjoy it. These opportunities
only come up every four years so you’ve always have to take the opportunity and do
the best you can and you will walk away happy.