It seems that on every blog, forum and magazine there is advice about what you should (and shouldn't) be eating, not to mention the foodie pictures on twitter and instagram, plus all the cookery books that promise you more energy and better health...
I was perplexed by the cornucopia of advice, even after my studies to become an exercise professional, which did indeed touch on nutrition basics and the body's energy systems.
So, when I saw the ad's for Shaw Academy's online learning on Sports Nutrition, I was intrigued. Intrigued and also extremely sceptical: who are Shaw Academy? What would I really learn, and would it be pseudo-science? Who would be teaching, and would they know their onions?
|combine ingredients for healthier outcomes|
The Scope of the Course:
or "wisest is he who knows he knows nothing"
Let's be clear, completion of this course does not qualify you to call yourself a nutritionist or anything close to that, and the course disclaimer which flashes up at the beginning of lectures in no uncertain terms lets you know the limitations of what you are learning, but in my view this is a strong selling point: knowing the scope of what you are about to learn can only be a good thing.
The Teaching Team:
I need not have worried about the lecturer: Laura Kealy is an expertly qualified nutritionist and sportswoman, and is supported by two other professionals who answer questions in the chats as the sessions unfold. Webinars are delivered from Dublin, in a charming Irish lilt.
|eat real food|
Lectures, or webinars take place at an allotted time, and it is a matter of personal choice whether you attend live, or watch them at your leisure. If you attend live you can of course re-play the session at will. There are definitely advantages of attending live though: not only do Shaw Academy offer incentives, but you can ask any questions to the team. Also, with six lectures in the first fortnight it is easy to get behind. The technology is really easy to navigate too, which is a bonus.
There are suggested set texts to accompany the course, lecture notes provided for each session, case studies plus short online tests for your own benefit. There is an online exam at the end in order to get your certificate. Tutors are available to contact for any extra help should you need it, and they even give you a follow-up phone call to check you're doing ok.
Covering most things you could want to know about macro- and micro-nutrients, water, supplements, the body's different energy systems, glycemic index and glycemic load, the timing of meals etc, this course is a pretty comprehensive guide to nourishing your body to take care of it and make sure you are performing to your max. There is not a blanket approach- you are given the tools to work out what is right for you personally. Something else I really respect is that there is no "Thou shalt not eat..." approach: whether you are a steak fan or a vegan or somewhere in-between, the ways to get the best out of your diet are covered.
|balance carbs & protein|
The Nuts & Bolts:
In short, I am finding this course invaluable. I still have three sessions yet to complete and I am overjoyed with what I have been able to understand already. I am beginning to get a handle on what I should be eating and drinking, when, and most importantly why. I know where to look for up-to-date advice on supplements, and I know how much water I should be taking on. Implementing all this know-how and seeing the benefits doesn't happen overnight, but I fully expect that what I have learned will prove to be powerful and useful.
The whistle-stop pace means that you cannot possibly learn everything you'll ever need from this course, but with the key building blocks provided here and the suggested reading I'm really satisfied that I'm well set up to better understand the value of any advice I might be curious about in the future.
I would consider studying another course with Shaw Academy, now that I have seen the standard of what they deliver (they do offer Advanced Sports Nutrition).
Also, I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who finds themselves, like I did, completely at a loss as to what, when, and how much to eat to fuel their active lifestyle. I guarantee it will make you wonder why you didn't learn all this important stuff about how your own body actually works back when you were at school!
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