SALLY GARRARD |Advanced Sports Dietitian & Exercise Physiologist
I’m Sally, and my nutrition story gathered momentum as I was competing as a lightweight rower: either you weigh in at 57kg, or there is no race. Wow. No pressure right? Sports like this don’t exactly nurture a healthy relationship with food, and after taking advice from fellow rowers and coaches to ‘just eat carrots’ I decided to seek professional help to make weight. Seeing a Sports Dietitian opened my eyes to the human body’s incredible ability to respond to an eating plan. It was very simple, and it worked to drop the weight. It wasn’t easy or sustainable, but it did show me some very basic rules that govern physique goals.
It also showed me that with all the advice that is out there, athletes are very much at risk of developing UNhealthy food behaviours, and a poor relationship with food, especially when performance expectations and tight time frames exist. But I don’t believe it has to be this way, and many athletes I’ve worked with will attest this to be the case when we have turned their eating behaviours around. It is possible to have optimal performance and wellbeing in the same athlete. In fact, this is precisely where optimal performance is created!
My body type is the opposite to Angie’s – geared towards sprint & power, yet it was the lure of travel that saw me morph to a distance athlete. My first half marathon was in Malta, and I saw obscure parts of the UK each weekend by trawling the Runner’s World events calendar for somewhere new to run. The real endurance test was when I discovered ‘up-hilling’ while I was living in the ski fields of Colorado. Each day I would skip the ski-lift and walk up the mountain on snow shoes instead. I’ve never moved so slowly yet had such a cardio-vascular challenge. Even the half Ironman didn’t come close to my first uphill race! I love the endurance athlete, and all that comes with it (caffeine anyone?)
Now that I have 2 young kids, the training & racing is closer to home, and I experience the exotic destinations via my elite athletes who chase the summer year-round. To date I have worked with Olympians and world champions, and national scholarship athletes from Diving, Rowing and Tennis Australia, Triathlon, Cycling and Athletics Queensland.
While I love the elite nutrition scene, my heart lies with the ‘everyday athletes’ who are out there, balancing the commitments of a busy life, and striving to achieve their goals, and doing so without the fanfare of the world stage. Those who are doing to for their kids, and doing it for their health and well being. My perfect day at work is when I design a nutrition plan for an everyday athlete that will deliver their ideal physique, keep a healthy relationship with food and not only allow them to train, but train hard. Not to mention still having energy to burn when it comes to the busy-ness of living life. Behind each meal plan I write is the combination of cutting edge sports nutrition and undeniably basic fat loss principles. Mix with this learning’s from other food cultures and healthy eating behaviours, and I believe this is what creates a meal plan that delivers optimal results, and a base from which you can make food decisions for the rest of your life!