Tuesday 12 November 2019

Real Health Podcast: Elite Performance Nutrition with Leinster Rugby and Dublin GAA's Nutritionist, Daniel Davey


Dublin performance nutritionist Daniel Davey ahead of the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Dublin performance nutritionist Daniel Davey ahead of the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leading elite nutritionist Daniel Davey has spoken about the intense health and nutrition regime Irish rugby players adhere to as part of their training.

Davey, a performance nutritionist for Leinster Rugby and Dublin's senior footballers, recommends most people consume 2g of protein per kilo of body weight.

Considering the build of some high end rugby players he said that would translate to "eating around 7 - 8 chicken breasts a day".

"Some athletes will be drinking a litre of milk with five meals. They will be consuming 4,000 calories a day," he added.

Dubbed Irish rugby's 'unsung hero' Davey has been monitoring the nutritional needs of Ireland leading athletes and understand the pressure they place on their bodies.

"I have seen athlete lost 5kg of body weight [in sweat] in an 80 minute game. It is an enormous amount of fluid."

He grew up outside the Sligo town of Tubbercurry and food was always an integral part of his life; he remembers collecting eggs on his grandparents farm and the emphasis his mother placed on quality produce.

He was a keen athlete and played Gaelic football for his local team, Coolaney/ Mullinabreena, and for Sligo.

Davey studied Agricultural Science at UCD and completed a master's in nutrition and physical activity at Bristol University.

Working with elite athletes he came to understand the importance of eating properly to enhance workouts and earlier this year he released his first cookbook Eat Up Raise Your Game: 100 Easy, Nutritious Recipes to Help You Perform Better.

"I never anticipated the amount of work in a book. I have no idea how many drafts I did," he said.

Speaking on Karl Henry's Real Health Podcast, he discusses the practical ways people can make the most of their workouts.

Prior to heading to the gym, he advises focusing on the kind of workout you intend to do.

"The intensity of exercise you are doing will heavily dictate what you eat and the choices you make in preparation.

"You need something that is easy to digest if you are performing high intensity - like GAA athletes or rugby players.

"Going to the gym is slightly different, your heart rate is not going to be as high, there will not be the same gastrointestinal challenges so the timing isn't as critical."

Davey recommends eating between one hour to two hours before the gym. That meal would be a carbohydrate protein combination.

"It doesn't have to be complicated. It can be a chicken sandwich, it can be yogurt and fruit, overnight oats. Of course we want variety in life but consistency around having a protein carbohydrate combination is the most important thing," he said.

He doesn't think pre-workout supplements are necessary and advises having an espresso if you need a caffeine kick.

During workout, it's all about hydration. "I will use sports drink if someone is a heavy sweater. in that case an electrolyte drink may bu used," he said.

"I have seen athlete lost 5kg of body weight in an 80 minute game. It is an enormous amount of fluid. If you can off set loss of fluid it will help performance. The greater access to fluid during those high intensity work outs are critivcal. It's all about off setting fatugue."

Post workout he says that replacing the energy you have expended so your body may recover is of paramount importance.

Listen to the episode, read Daniel’s book and you’ll find out what you should be eating and at the right times to help improve your body and mind.

For more episodes, tips and advice from the show just go to: www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-re…health-podcast/

And you can get in touch - I’m @KarlHenryPT on Instagram and Twitter and realhealth@independent.ie.

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The Real Health podcast is in association with Laya Healthcare.

For more episodes and information from the Real Health podcast you can also go to: https://www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-real-health-podcast/

The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry in association with Laya Healthcare.

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