Sports Nutrition Collingwood FCCategoriesPLP Podcast Psych/Nutrition

Episode 68 – Emily Meehan

Navigating Sports Nutrition: Insights from Collingwood FC’s Senior Dietitian

In the competitive world of sports, nutrition plays a pivotal role in enhancing performance and achieving peak physical condition. Collingwood FC’s Senior Sports Dietitian, Emily Meehan, shares invaluable insights into the world of sports nutrition, offering guidance for aspiring dietitians and athletes alike. Sports Nutrition Collingwood FC Emily Meehan is the Senior Sports Dietitian of Collingwood FC. She is also Collingwood AFLW and Magpies netball and consults for the Malaysian Track cycling team (currently in Tokyo).

Prior to the Pies, Emily worked with the Western Bulldogs FC and Melbourne Victory and completed her Ph.D. in nutrition and high-performance sport. Emily is also the vice-chair of the AFL Sports Dietitians Australia group. Sports Nutrition Collingwood FC

Highlights from the episode:

  • Emily’s advice to her past self when she was starting as a dietician
  • Her advice to newly hired dieticians on how to educate a club or team
  • Her strategies when working with elite athletes 
  • Emily’s approach to developing athletes who want to bulk up
  • Ideal snacks for athletes who are on the go
  • How she helps in improving an athlete’s nutrition

Resilience as a Foundation

Reflecting on her journey, Emily emphasizes the importance of resilience for developing dietitians. She believes that every experience, whether challenging or rewarding, contributes to professional growth. This resilience, she asserts, is the bedrock of a successful career in sports nutrition.

Volunteering: A Path to Success

For aspiring dietitians seeking a foothold in the sports nutrition arena, Emily advocates for volunteering and networking. By actively engaging with VFL clubs and similar sports environments, budding dietitians can gain invaluable hands-on experience and open doors to exciting opportunities.

Tailored Nutrition: A Game Changer

Drawing from her experience at Collingwood FC, Emily stresses the significance of personalized nutrition plans. She emphasizes the need to move beyond generic approaches and instead focus on tailoring diets to individual athletes, optimizing their performance and recovery.

Navigating Time Constraints

In the fast-paced world of professional sports, time is a precious commodity. Emily highlights the challenge of securing dedicated time with athletes amidst their rigorous schedules. She advises prioritizing interactions with younger players, ensuring they receive the essential nutritional guidance right from the start.

Muscle Gain Strategies Unveiled

Addressing the specific needs of athletes looking to gain muscle, Emily provides a strategic approach. She underscores the importance of understanding current dietary habits and training routines. Balancing calorie intake, protein distribution, and healthy fats, Emily reveals the keys to achieving optimal muscle growth.

Smart Snacking for Athletes on the Go

With athletes constantly on the move, selecting the right snacks is crucial. Emily recommends convenient options like muesli bars, protein bars, and nut packs, ensuring athletes have quick and nutritious fuel readily available. She emphasizes the importance of choosing quality products for sustained energy and performance.

Incremental Changes for Lasting Impact

Changing established habits can be a challenge, especially for young athletes. Emily advises starting with small, realistic goals that are tailored to the individual. Whether it’s portion control or learning basic cooking skills, making achievable changes sets the stage for long-term success.

Empowering Athletes Through Goal Setting

To ensure lasting results, Emily encourages athletes to take an active role in setting their nutritional goals. By involving them in the process, athletes feel a sense of ownership and are more likely to commit to positive changes. This collaborative approach fosters a healthier, more sustainable relationship with nutrition.

Conclusion: Fueling Success in Sports Nutrition

Aspiring dietitians and athletes can glean invaluable insights from Emily Meehan’s wealth of experience at Collingwood FC. By prioritizing resilience, tailoring nutrition plans, and adopting a collaborative approach, success in sports nutrition becomes an attainable goal. With Emily’s guidance, the path to peak performance is well within reach.

𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐀 𝐏𝐫𝐨

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Performance Nutrition ExpertiseCategoriesPLP Podcast Psych/Nutrition

Episode 64 – Jess Spendlove

In the dynamic realm of sports nutrition, achieving peak performance surpasses a generic diet plan. Athletes often immerse themselves in periodized nutrition, aligning fuel intake with training and competition demands. In this exploration, we delve into the Performance Nutrition Expertise of Jess Spendlove, renowned dietitian and consultant for the GWS Giants FC. Jess’s extensive experience and knowledge shape elite athletes’ dietary strategies, emphasizing tailored nutrition for optimal performance.

Over the past 8 seasons, Jess has been the Dietitian Consultant for the GWS Giants FC, contributing to their success in the Australian Football League. Her impact extends beyond football, with over 30 professional sport seasons, collaborating with Giants Netball, Giants AFLW, Western Sydney Wanderers, Sydney Kings, Cronulla Sharks, and NSW Waratahs. Jess, holding a master’s degree in nutrition/dietetics and a bachelor of science (nutrition), showcases her commitment to continuous learning and staying at the forefront of Performance Nutrition Expertise and sports nutrition research.

As a co-founder of the nutrition consultancy Health and Performance Collective, Jess is devoted to working with motivated individuals, helping them live and perform at their best through Performance Nutrition Expertise. Her approach transcends traditional methods, incorporating periodization, caffeine supplementation, and a holistic understanding of an athlete’s unique requirements. Whether you’re an aspiring athlete or a fitness enthusiast aiming to enhance your training, embracing Jess Spendlove’s insights from Performance Nutrition Expertise can be transformative toward unlocking your full potential.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Jess explains about periodizing your nutrition
  • How to use caffeine for the long season and how much to take
  • How Jess upskills herself and hone her craft
  • The best way to bulk up for critical mass for developing athletes
  • Advice for athletes using supplements
  • Difference in nutrition advice for male and female AFL players

Periodizing Nutrition for Optimal Results

Jess Spendlove introduces us to the concept of periodized nutrition, a tailored approach aligning dietary intake with an athlete’s energy expenditure. Key to this strategy is the adjustment of carbohydrate intake, particularly vital for sustained energy during extended and intense training sessions. While the theory is clear, the practical application can be nuanced, considering individual preferences and the timing challenges athletes often face, such as fueling before early morning training sessions.

Caffeine: A Performance Game-Changer

Caffeine emerges as a star player in the realm of performance supplements. Jess sheds light on its acute benefits and the need for a targeted, measured approach. Research-backed recommendations suggest an optimal range of 1 to 3 milligrams per kilogram for athletes. The discussion extends to the long-term use of caffeine, especially during pivotal moments like finals, emphasizing the importance of thoughtful supplementation throughout a season.

Continuous Learning: The Evolution of Expertise

As an expert in her field, Jess reflects on the evolution of her learning journey. From the early days of scouring Twitter for insights and reading research papers to engaging with industry leaders, her approach has transformed. Podcasts and immersive experiences, including visits to top-tier clubs like Arsenal, have played a pivotal role in shaping her expertise. This section delves into the importance of continuous learning for professionals in the sports nutrition arena.

Muscle Development and Weight Gain Strategies

Gaining muscle and weight in athletes, particularly during the demanding AFL pre-season, presents unique challenges. Jess intricately discusses the educational aspect of guiding athletes through their body’s development. Using a metaphorical analogy, she likens muscles to bricks and connective tissues to cement, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach. Understanding the nuances of an athlete’s hormonal profile and how it influences weight gain adds another layer to her comprehensive guidance.

Nutritional Guidance for Young Athletes: A Pyramid Approach

For athletes under 18, Jess outlines a pyramid of nutritional guidance, emphasizing education as the foundational element. This hierarchy prioritizes fundamental knowledge about energy input and output while cautioning against the risks of supplements. The “food-first” philosophy takes center stage, stressing the importance of mastering the basics before exploring additional nutritional strategies. This section provides valuable insights into tailoring advice for younger athletes, considering their unique growth and development needs.

AFL Nutrition Ebooks: Tailored Wisdom for Men and Women

Jess’s commitment to sharing knowledge culminated in the creation of two comprehensive ebooks during the lockdown. Tailored for AFL men and women, these resources provide specific guidance while acknowledging the similarities in nutritional requirements. Addressing preferences and hormonal influences in women, the ebooks stand as a testament to Jess’s dedication to offering detailed and practical nutritional insights to athletes at various stages of their careers.

In Conclusion: Elevate Your Performance Through Informed Nutrition

As we conclude this exploration into periodized nutrition and expert insights from Jess Spendlove, the overarching theme is clear—fueling athletic success requires a personalized and informed approach. From periodizing nutrition for optimal energy to leveraging caffeine strategically, the journey is multifaceted. Continuous learning, muscle development strategies, and tailored guidance for young athletes further enrich the tapestry of athletic excellence. By incorporating these insights, athletes and enthusiasts alike can elevate their performance, unlocking their full potential on the field or in their fitness pursuits.

People mentioned:

  • Brett Deledio
  • David Joyce
  • John Quinn
  • Lachlan Wilmot
  • Simon Harries
  • Nick Poulos
  • Helen O’Connor
  • Wayne Campbell
  • Josh Kelly
  • Adam Teloar
  • Jeremy Cameron

Connect with Jess:



Listen: iTunes | IGTV | Spotify

Sports Nutrition Success StoriesCategoriesPLP Podcast Psych/Nutrition

Episode 32- Ben Parker

Unlocking Success: Journey to Elite Sports Nutrition

In elite sports, optimal nutrition often separates good from great athletes. Sports Nutrition Success Stories Ben Parker, AFL Performance Nutritionist and Chef for the Gold Coast Suns FC blends culinary expertise and sports nutrition knowledge. Let’s explore his journey, insights, and nutrition’s crucial role in athletic excellence. Sports Nutrition Success Stories Ben Parker details his path into sports nutrition, starting as a chef & nutritionist with AIS and the Australian swim team.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Importance of working hard and trying things on yourself first ie nutrition manipulation for body composition
  • Why whole foods are important for health, performance, and career longevity.
  • Tips and tricks to optimize recovery and gain critical mass.
  • Why vegetables are so important and how elite athletes like Novak Djokovic eat clean, unprocessed foods.
  • Why setting up your eating ‘environment’ in your kitchen or football club is so important for nutritional success.
  • Ben’s role at the Gold Coast Suns and with competition/training camps.

From Chef to Nutritionist: Ben Parker’s Transformation

Ben’s story showcases the seamless integration of culinary arts and sports nutrition. Initially a chef for a decade, he transitioned into sports nutrition through a degree. His dual expertise positions him as a valuable asset, understanding the balance between flavorful meals and athletes’ nutritional needs.

Nurturing Talent: Internships and Collaborations

Before the Gold Coast Suns, Ben interned with teams like the Reds and Queensland Cricket Team. His journey includes stints at AIS, Paddle Australia, and the Australian Swimming Team, shaping his understanding of diverse nutritional requirements in different sports.

Beyond AFL: A Diverse Portfolio

Ben’s influence extends beyond AFL. His involvement with athletes like Novak Djokovic, and Gary Ablett, and organizations like Surfing Australia showcases his adaptability and effectiveness in catering to various athletes.

The Path to Elite Sport: Going the Extra Mile

A recurring theme is Ben’s commitment to going the extra mile—volunteering for research, sacrificing free time for internships, and taking on responsibilities. His work ethic played a pivotal role in entering elite sports nutrition.

Nutrition Strategies: Insights from the Expert

Ben’s nutrition approach focuses on optimizing body composition, fueling, recovery, and overall well-being. He emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods and provides practical insights for athletes.

Campaigns with Champions: Behind the Scenes

This post explores Ben’s role in intensive camps, like the one with Novak Djokovic, shedding light on meal preparation, challenges faced, and strategies for optimizing performance.

Connecting with Freshness: Sourcing Quality Produce

Ben’s dedication to quality extends to sourcing the freshest produce. This section discusses the importance of fresh, minimally processed foods and Ben’s efforts to guarantee the best for his athletes.

Guiding the New Generation: Nutrition for Developing Players

For emerging athletes, Ben outlines key starting points, advocating for adopting the athlete lifestyle and providing practical tips for healthy eating habits.


Ben Parker’s journey from chef to elite sports nutritionist offers a captivating narrative of dedication, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. His insights provide not only a glimpse into the life of an AFL Performance Nutritionist but also practical advice for athletes.

People mentioned:

  • Garry Slater
  • Novak Djokavic
  • Garry Ablett

Listen: iTunes | IGTV | Spotify

Nutrition for Athletic SuccessCategoriesPLP Podcast Psych/Nutrition

Episode 31 – Simone Austin

Unlocking Performance: The Intersection of Nutrition and Athletic Success

In the fast-paced world of sports, athletes are constantly seeking the edge that will elevate their performance. While rigorous training and skill development are crucial, the often-overlooked component that can make a significant difference is nutrition. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the dynamic relationship between nutrition and athletic success.

Simone Austin Is one of the most recognized AFL sports dietitians in Australia. During this podcast, she discusses her love for food and how she goes about nutrition for football preparation.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Importance of learning how to cook 5 meals
  • The importance of having plenty of colour from real food ingredients
  • Why dieting isn’t the best for athletes
  • Supplements and how to go about selecting the right one
  • The importance of fruit & vegetables

The Foundation: Passion for Nutrition

Every journey has a beginning, and for many, the path to becoming a sports dietitian starts with a passion for nutrition. In our live chat with Simone Austin, an AFL Sports Dietitian with a rich history of success, we discover the roots of her love for nutrition. From early interests in home economics to a pivotal decision during high school, Simone’s journey unfolds, illustrating the blend of science, sport, and culinary arts that defines her career.

Evolution of Sports Dietetics

As we traverse the landscape of sports dietetics, Simone takes us through the transformations witnessed over her career. From her time at the Western Bulldogs to the present day, the emphasis on nutrition has shifted. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all approach, replaced by individualized plans tailored to each athlete’s needs. Simone sheds light on the evolving strategies, emphasizing the move from generic carbohydrate-focused regimens to nuanced, personalized nutrition plans.

Nourishing the Athlete: Beyond the Plate

Simone’s approach extends beyond prescribing diets; she is an advocate for developing cooking skills among athletes. The ability to prepare nutritious meals is a valuable life skill that contributes to long-term well-being. We explore Simone’s experiences in teaching athletes not just what to eat but how to create nourishing meals themselves, empowering them to take control of their nutrition.

Mindful Eating: A Game-Changer

In the pursuit of optimal performance, Simone introduces the concept of mindful eating. It’s not just about the quantity of food but the quality and the awareness with which it is consumed. Athletes are encouraged to listen to their bodies, understand hunger cues, and avoid the pitfalls of mindless eating. Simone shares anecdotes and practical tips, emphasizing the importance of being attuned to the body’s needs.

Addressing Weight Goals: A Balancing Act

For athletes with weight-related goals, Simone provides insights into the delicate balance of achieving and maintaining optimal weight. Whether it’s gaining muscle or shedding excess pounds, the focus is on sustainable, healthy practices. Simone challenges the conventional approach of fixating on the scale and promotes a holistic view that considers overall well-being.

From Passion to Practice: Simone’s Impact

Simone’s influence extends beyond the individual athletes she works with; she is a media spokesperson for Dietitian Australia and an author. Her book, “Eat Like an Athlete,” encapsulates her wealth of knowledge and provides a resource for those looking to optimize their nutrition for peak performance.

Conclusion: Fueling Success

In concluding our exploration, it’s evident that the intersection of nutrition and athletic success is a multifaceted terrain. Simone Austin’s experiences and insights illuminate the path, emphasizing the significance of passion, evolution, practical skills, mindfulness, and a holistic approach to nutrition.

People mentioned:

  • Luke Breust
  • Andrew Russell
  • Anthony Fernon

Listen: iTunes | IGTV | Spotify 

CategoriesPLP Podcast Psych/Nutrition

Episode 21 – Luke McDonald

In this episode of the Prepare Like A Pro Podcast, I am speaking with Luke McDonald, Sports psychologist for the Boxhill Football club. Luke is well experience working in the clinic and athletes for both recovery & performance preparation. We discussed with Luke his love for helping others with athletic pursuits and health. Mentor’s along his journey from his father Barry Mitchell to past peers at the Sydney Swans. Tom provided insight into his approach to assisting footballers with mental tools to help to cope with performance anxiety. The importance of understanding everyone is different and not one approach suits all.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Luke career journey from start to now
  • His mindset and the importance of hard focused work
  • His business leading psychology and what he does to help others
  • The challenge of 2020 and how he coped with it personally and helped his clients to cope
  • The lessons learned from the experience of valuing life balance
  • The importance of working on your strengths and making the best they can be
  • What has worked and what has and hasn’t throughout his career

People mentioned:

  • Max Bailey
  • Damian Mascitti
  • Josh Deluca
  • Vincent Adduci
  • Dylan Vizzarri
  • Daniel Napoli
  • Sam Mitchell

Listen: iTunes | IGTV | Spotify

CategoriesPLP Podcast Psych/Nutrition

Episode 11 – Nick Green

The sports dietitian for Boxhill Hawks and consultant for Bupa.

  • Nick career journey from why he chose to study dietetics to working at Bupa and the VFL system
  • His upbringing and how he approached his development living in Tasmania
  • How much he loves helping others whether it be for sports performance or improving your well-being
  • His tips for footballers wanting to gain muscle or reduce body fat
  • Why what you eat is so important for recovery
  • Tips and tricks for developing Dietitian’s wanting to work in elite sport

People mentioned:

  • Simone Austin
  • Daniel Napoli
  • Sean Murphy
  • Chris Newman
  • Max Bailey
  • Luke Boyd

Definitely check this chat out we dive into some topics any football fan, footballer or staff member needs to hear.

Connect with Nick

Listen: iTunes | IGTV | Spotify