I am currently down at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) getting the low down on the latest in the sports nutrition research space. It has been a strange few days on a couple of fronts – good, challenging and also a little weird.
First the good – there are some great minds here and it has been a fantastic opportunity to see some of the research, interventions and protocols being used in some of the elite programs and individual athletes currently. It has also highlighted how many different niches there when it comes to nutrition and performance and also how many questions that remain unanswered and how much we are yet to fully understand. In particular, and perhaps of particular interest to me one such area is that of gut health, microbiota and how this plays into athletic performance. As well as how these implications then might affect dietary goals and interventions. This is an important area that I would love to explore more but really we are just starting to scratch the surface (both in terms of health as well as in a sporting context).
Aside form the course presenters themselves there are also some great people here with extremely varied backgrounds. While I may not agree with or practice many of the usual dietetic or even sports dietetic recommendations, it is always beneficial and interesting to appreciate individual perspectives and background and what they can bring to the table of understanding. Especially as nutrition is an area that we have much to learn, I think anytime there can be collaboration and sharing of ideas, especially if they are disparate and diverse according to backgrounds and beliefs then I think progress can be made.
The challenging – this will be the longest I have been away from my little girl. She turned 2 just weeks ago and previous to this I had been away from her for just over 48 hours. However the challenge does not seem to be so much of a two way street. Judging by my FaceTime calls she is barely missing me at all and is having so much fun staying with my parents (and her daddy) with a packed social schedule of activities, that there is probably no time to consider my absence! While it is nice to be missed, I am actually happy that she doesn’t seem to miss me – it makes being away easier for me but also makes me confident that I have helped her be an independent well adjusted little being who has no doubt that I will in fact return soon.
The weird – being back at the AIS in Canberra and staying in the athletes ‘resi’ block. Never a fan as an athlete here on camp, it is even stranger returning to the cell like rooms with the bathrooms outside for a course and being heavily pregnant too. It is a bit nostalgic though – back then my days were filled with hard training session and lots of testing. Now my days are filled with long days of sitting, including learning about some of those tests that I have so frequently undergone as an athletes. Only now the tables are turned. There have been some changes to the facilities and campus, but much is the same. The old ‘resi’ rooms are the same. The sheets are the same (ie bad), the doors are the same (heavy and noisy) and the key cards the same. Yep the doors still shut behind you and if you have forgotten to take your key when ducking out to the bathroom then a call to security is necessary to get back in. And of course this always happens when in a hurry. I also don’t think (scarily) that much has changed in the dining hall. The location has changed but the food seems remarkably the same. And disappointingly seems to be focused around low fat as a focus. Who makes scrambled eggs with skim milk????? Please add in some butter and cream.