Dr Sharon Madigan
Job title Performance Nutrition
Employer Sport Ireland Institute
Qualifications BSc Biological Sciences, MSc Biomedical Sciences, PGDip Human Nutrition, Registered Dietician, PhD Nutrition Education FFSEM (Hon)
This Sport Exercise Nutritionist job profile is taken from A Guide to Careers in Sport and Exercise Science by Human Kinetics and The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). The guide is an excellent resource for anyone considering a career within the industry. A free version of the guide is available to download from the BASES website.
A sport and exercise nutritionist can apply knowledge of the science of nutrition to promote exercise and sport performance. It is the science of the effects of diet and dietary components on performance, and how exercise affects the metabolism of nutrients in the body and the body’s requirements for nutrients. Sport and Exercise Nutrition requires an understanding of physiological, biochemical and nutritional responses to the physical activity and exercise involved in all forms of sport and the special circumstances that occur during training and competition.
The scope of practice of a sport and exercise nutritionist includes promoting excellence in sport performance as well as promoting participation in physical activity, sport and exercise for health. The role requires the integration of scientific knowledge with an understanding of the social and psychological aspects of motivation and human behaviour. Sport and Exercise Nutritionists require proficiency in communication and education about their subject in order to give and formulate advice that is appropriate and relevant to an individual or group.
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Qualifications, Training and Experience?
Typically employers require an undergraduate degree in nutrition, sport and exercise science or biological sciences and a relevant postgraduate qualification such as an MSc, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate in Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Gaining postgraduate qualifications enables registration (at the graduate level) on the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register; (SENr) a pre-requisite for most employers.
How Did You Get Here?
My work experiences are wide-ranging and include roles in research, clinical dietetics and sport. These have helped me to develop skills that are extremely useful as a performance nutritionist. Working as part of multidisciplinary teams has also been a key part of my skills development. It teaches you that other professionals can play important roles in getting your messages across and there are many ways to achieve solutions to problems.
Opportunities and Pay?
Entry salaries for qualified nutritionists start at around £21,000 to £26,000 depending on the sector and employer. More experienced practitioners will typically earn in the region of £28,000 to £45,000. Opportunities to progress into management or policy roles are also available at many organisations and more senior/management sport nutritionists can earn up to (and in excess of) £55,000.
Home Country Sport Institutes (EIS, SISport, SWNC, SINI), National Governing Bodies and Professional Sports Clubs
Sport Ireland Institute, Dublin