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Fitness and Nutrition | Football Exchange

Fitness and Nutrition

The staff members who work in football-related areas of Physiology and Nutrition and its associated areas, such as Chronobiology, are Dr. Barry Drust, Dr. Warren Gregson, Dr. James Morton and Dr. Andrew Hulton. The staff members work within the Tom Reilly building as well as working in the field to investigate a large number of topics. They do so with a multitude of partners from the football world, including research projects with Real Madrid, Liverpool, Everton, and Manchester United, Prozone, Professional Game Match Officials, Premier League, Coca-Cola Leagues, Glaxo Smith Kline, and Red Bull among many others (for a more comprehensive detailed list of partners and projects, see Partners sub heading). A further recent development has seen the establishment of the North West Cardiac Screening clinic in the Tom Reilly building. This facility was opened in association with Cardiac Risk in the Young and is the only regional centre that screens for potentially fatal cardiac abnormalities in elite young athletes.

This group work across a range of sub-disciplines: paediatric science including growth and maturation, physiology, nutrition, chronobiology, cardiovascular physiology, muscle physiology and cell biology. An example of the work carried out by this group in football is the design, implementation and evaluation of football training programmes (including the cellular and molecular responses to football-specific intermittent exercise). Current research programmes are examining appropriate approaches to monitor, record and evaluate the training load of players at professional clubs. Collaborations with both industry partners (e.g., Glaxo Smith Kline) and professional teams (e.g., Real Madrid, Manchester United) demonstrate the applied relevance of these projects. The recent evaluations of recovery strategies (e.g., cold water immersion) compliment this work. This area also extends into the identification of variables (both performance and physiological indices) that could identify player readiness and the possible impact of de-training on important fitness variables. Staff members are currently trying to identify the influence that important variables in training prescription (e.g., type, organisation, intensity, frequency) have on the adaptive response. Other projects examine the extent that factors such as nutrition and supplements can modify these changes. These adaptations are being examined from the level of the whole-body to the cellular and molecular level using innovative specially designed football-specific training simulations. Staff members have been extensively involved in devising and implementing acclimatisation strategies for competition in heat, at altitude and in different time zones.