Application of a nutrition support protocol to encourage optimisation of nutrient intake in provincial academy rugby union athletes in New Zealand: practical considerations and challenges from a team-based case study

Charlie Roberts, Nicholas Gill, Christopher Martyn Beaven , Logan Posthumus , Stacy Sims

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Provincial academies represent an important bridge between amateur and professional level rugby union in New Zealand. Athletes are provided with professional-level coaching; however, limited direct nutrition support is available. Congested training schedules and the requirement to work or study due to a lack of financial support may present a challenge towards athletes meeting nutrition requirements. The aim of the study was to facilitate improvement in nutrient intake, body composition and subjective well-being in provincial academy athletes via the implementation of a nutrition-support protocol based around behaviour change techniques. Significant increases in total energy (pre: 2492 ± 762 kcal; post: 2614 ± 625 kcal), relative energy (pre: 24.4 ± 7.5 kcal·kg; 25.5 ± 6.0 kcal·kg), total protein (pre: 131.1 ± 41.8 g; 153.8 ± 37.1 g) and relative protein (pre: 1.3 ± 0.4 g·kg; post: 1.5 ± 0.3 g·kg) were observed. Furthermore, changes in subjective sleep quality, stress, mood and upper body soreness were observed following the intervention. No changes were observed in body composition, carbohydrate or fat intake. Significant variability in nutrition and body composition changes highlights the importance of applying an individualised approach to nutrition support provision in developmental athletes. Practitioners working within these environments should be aware of the challenges and influences contributing to athletes’ nutrition choices and habits.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science and Coaching
Early online date7 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Behaviour change techniques
  • body composition
  • diet
  • energy intake
  • Subjective well-being
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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