The services I provide are 1-2-1 consultations, team support, continuous nutrition coaching, seminars and workshops. My approach to nutrition debunks the myths and challenges the accepted antiquated norm. The aim is to combine science, research and common sense to enhance performance and general health.
My background (for those that are interested!) is as follows: My interest in sport and nutrition started many years ago. I kicked off my sporting career as a footballer and played for several top clubs in Dublin. It was while preparing for football matches that initially sparked my curiosity about nutrition, what to eat and when to eat. I stopped playing football seriously when I became a student at UCD (University College Dublin) but still continued to keep myself fit and healthy. I started running and taking part in local 5 and 10K road races which heightened my awareness about nutrition even further. I studied biochemistry and chemistry at university and graduated with a BSc in 1999. My degree opened the door to the pharmaceutical world and I spent several years working as a Formulation/Process Chemist. During that time, my sporting interests expanded and I tried everything from surfing to triathlons. It was after completing my first triathlon that I began to take training and nutrition seriously. I realized that nutrition makes a significant difference to how you train and to how you perform on the day. But to cut a long story short, the pharma industry and corporate world were not for me so I decided to further my education and pursue a passion by returning to university in order to make a career change. I moved to Loughborough, England, and attended Loughborough University to study Sports and Exercise Nutrition. I obtained an MSc and qualified in 2008. On completion of my MSc, I established my own practice OptimumNutrition4Sport and based myself in Loughborough. I then started working with athletes from a range of different sports, many of which were competing at an Olympic and World Championship level. These athletes ranged from track and field athletes to cyclists and triathletes. I also started presenting to teams, clubs and corporate business’s both in the UK and Ireland.
In addition to the practical experience I was gaining through working 1-2-1 and presenting at seminars, I continued to further my education through self learning. Through books, journals, articles and blogs, I invested a huge amount of time piecing together the vast amount of information on everything related to nutrition, from general health, to treating diseases to performance enhancing supplements. This enabled me to obtain a really deep insight into nutrition and I continued to expand my knowledge base (and still do). The more knowledge I gained, the better understanding I had into exactly how food functions and the physiological effect that it has on the body.
The science sometimes is mindboggling but fortunately my own science background has allowed me to decipher and interpret the information. Basically, I was able to make sense of the science, ignore the pseudo science but more importantly, I was able to translate it and put it into practical terms. At the end of the day, that’s what I believe makes the difference. I also became very aware that many of the general recommendations and concepts of nutrition were antiquated and simply incorrect. From low fat diets to calorie counting to sports drinks, there is a huge amount of misinformation and false advertising. This steered me towards gving impartial advice and telling it how it is. I’ve always had this trait in my character, if something is unjust, I will always try to be the first to object. This is what drives me to work is in this field and how I now approach every service I provide, if the theory is correct with supporting evidence, I will approve it, if not, then I won’t. And I won’t allow any financial, political or even “moral” incentive to persuade me otherwise.
Thankfully, my approach seems to work, and I have countless clients from the average gym goer to the elite professional athlete that will support my work and what I do… through their improved performance, improved body composition and arguably (and I’m going to use a very generic term here), improved “well-being”. I don’t advertise or flaunt my services, I simple allow “word-of-mouth” to be my main marketing tool. This may seem ironic having just read this paragraph, but I don’t want to tell people how good I am ! I much rather it comes from a 3rd party. I certainly now don’t know everything, I don’t have all the answers and I even sometimes get things wrong. That’s the beauty of nutrition, it’s infinite, it’s like a fashion, continuously changing and evolving. If I did have all the answers by now, I would have probably changed career !
Through my work and networks in Loughborough I have been able to make some good connections that has helped establish my business. I know and work with some of the best sports physiologists, doctors, nutritionists and coaches in the country. This allows me to further my knowledge and challenge my thinking and beliefs. It becomes very easy to work with the blinkers on so I constantly make sure my work is treated with objectivity. Another huge part of my game is that I practice what I preach. I strongly believe this is essential in order to have confidence with the nutrition recommendations one gives. I have a huge interest in food types, cooking, farming and food production. I also train and compete competitively as an endurance athlete. Having raced triathlons for several years, I still train in all 3 disciplines. I have now turned my attention though to ultra trail/mountain marathons and compete at 50-100mile distance races. I have won several races, represented Ireland at the 2011 World Championships and now race as part of the Irish Ultramarathon Team. This has allowed me to use myself as a guinea pig by applying all of my own nutrition principles and strategies. I have discovered some novel findings and believe that my results are in a large part not due to my training or “genetics” but more down to my nutrition. This is a case of “N=1” which I am very aware of, however, many of the strategies I use can be used by anyone. I feel that my sporting background, scientific knowledge and experience allows me to work closely with any athlete or individual that wants to improve their health and fitness.
My aim is always to deliver holistic advice and to make it specific for the individual concerned. I do not dictate and provide “food lists” or do’s and don’ts. I educate the client and ensure that they have a good understanding of the concepts and the theory. I then ensure that this knowledge is tailored for the individual so that the advice is individually specific and not generic. As an athlete myself, I understand the practical aspects of nutrition as much as the theory. I consider general nutrition as the keystone to any athlete reaching their potential.
My recommendations and advice are not only geared towards improving athletic performance, but more importantly, general health. I do this in a way that avoids all the traditional methods of using calories, macronutrient percentages and the “balanced diet” approach.
My main goal is to help people improve their health and performance by using the most relevant modern nutrition science in a way that is realistic, honest and practical to follow.
Barry Murray BSc, MSc.