‘Cooking Up A Storm’. Rosemary Daniel

This week we staged our annual ‘Ready Steady Cook’ healthy food cookery workshop for UL sports scholarship students. This year we had 20 aspiring athlete chefs that were put to test and did incredible well ! The purpose of the cooking workshop is to deliver sports nutrition education in an applied way where we not only teach athletes how to prepare healthy meals, but to give them practical skills so they can do it at home. The content of the workshop involves the athletes’ working out their caloric intake and macronutrient requirements (Carbs, Protein, Fat) for their sport as well as looking at the nutritional content of different meals. The athletes’ then have the opportunity to cook a selection of lunch, dinner and snack options (chicken curry, beef stir-fry, spaghetti bolognese, winter warmer soup and smoothies). The overall aim of the workshop is to help athletes’ understand the importance of eating a balanced diet, not only for their growth & development but also for performance in their chosen sport.

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Figure 1 UL Sports Scholarship students prepare food during annual ‘Ready Steady Cook’ workshop
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Figure 2 Students experimenting with different recipe’s

Earlier in the week saw us poolside working with the Munster High Performance Swim Squad & Coach John Szaranek. The swimmers hydration status was monitored prior to an early morning and evening training session. Fluid consumption during training along with pre and post weigh ins were also recorded and used to estimate sweat rates during training. Next week we return to the pool with a team of undergraduate sports science students that will be involved in lactate profiling the swimmers during a submaximal swim test.

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Figure 3 Hydration testing with Munster High Performance Swimmers

Finally some of our sports scholarship students were in for injury screening clinics. This assessment measures the athletes’ range of motion (flexibility) across all joints, postural analysis and muscle strength tests which are used to determine muscle imbalances, tightness and weaknesses. The athlete also completes a number of movement tasks (Drop Jumps, Counter Movement Jumps, 1 legged rebound jumps for balance and the Landing Error Score Test). This assesses the athletes’ leg power capacity but also their functional movement stability and balance which is important for injury prevention. As most of the athletes are in pre-season training at the moment it gives them plenty of opportunity to address any imbalances before the training intensity increases in their next phase of their training cycle.

Rosemary Daniel is an Experimental Officer in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick.  Contact Rosemary via email at Rosemary.Daniel@ul.ie



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