We are delighted to announce a partnership with Performance Nutritionist, Henrietta Paxton, to further enhance the support services available to WLTF Athletes. With an MSc in Personalised Nutirition, and a background in Performance Sport, it was an obvious choice for us to forge a partnership with Hen's company - The Nourished Soul LTD.
"Our aim in building this relationship is to provide WLTF athletes with cutting edge advice, to support their recovery, well-being, and progression" Ellie Spain explained. "With so much information available online, it is difficult for athletes to filter the relevant from the irrelevant. Using a nutritionist who deeply understands the demands of speed power events, and will work personally with the Athletes under our care is going to be a huge advantage to our Team."
Over the next few weeks, Hen will be sharing a series of educational articles for athletes. These will be focused on introducing some of the fundamentals of performance nutrition, and will give an insight into how Hen approaches her work.
In the mean time, we are happy to share our recent Q&A, which reveals how The Nourished Soul LTD came into practice, and what Hen's philosophy is a a Performance Nutritionist.
WLTF: Hen - we're exciting to be working with you to support the Athletes at WLTF. First of all, lets learn a little more about your background: What led you to become interested in this career path?
Hen: As an international athlete, I was always aware that good nutrition played a role in my health and performance, but it wasn't until I faced career threatening injuries and real emotional lows that I truly started to understand the power that food really held for me to reach my full potential.
Born and brought up in the south west my mother used to be a caterer then re-trained as a nutritional therapist in her 50’s. I was therefore very lucky growing up with beautiful local produce on my doorstep; food that was nutritionally sound but also incredibly tasty, and never understood the belief that “healthy food tastes bad”… my home cooked meals were always delicious!
Competing at an international level for over 15 years has meant I have pushed my body to its limits in pursuit of my goals. Unfortunately, but like so many others, I have had an injury plagued career, at times hating my body for continually letting me down. After missing the 2012 Olympics due to a major knee injury, soon after which I ruptured my hamstring, and then lost my father to Cancer I found myself in a very dark time, battling physical injuries at the same time as huge emotional upheaval. I turned to nutrition, as a therapy and a discipline. The awareness of the role that my diet was playing in my health as an athlete, led me to undertake an MSc in Personalised Nutrition at the Centre for Nutrition and Lifestyle Management, one of the most well respected nutrition Institutions in the world. The knowledge I gained here and with the help of my Mum I really started to appreciate how amazing my body was, and how hard it worked for me every day just to keep going– injured or not. When I started to love my body back, instead of punishing it, I found a new lease of athletic life, allowing me to qualify for my second commonwealth games in Glasgow in 2014 (not 20 miles from where my father was born!).
WLTF: How have these experiences helped you to gain a global understanding of nutrition?
Hen: I believe these experiences set me apart as a nutritional therapist as being able to understand the fundamental functional imbalances many athletes face, but which are often masked by training, performance goals or a good physique. These imbalances and problems are echoed throughout society and all populations. I am passionate in the belief that everyone can nurture themselves to a more balanced state, taking control of their own health through a better understanding of the incredible instrument that is the human body, and just how powerful good food can be in your life.
WLTF: What are your strengths as a practitioner?
Hen: The robustness of my degree allows me to base my recommendations in the latest scientific evidence, supported by my knowledge and experience of human physiology. However, I think my true strength is not my qualifications or experiences but how these combine with a fundamental love of food and cooking. When I cook for other people I want to make them happy through my food. This makes my recommended interventions always based on the celebration and enjoyment of food and the human body, keeping them centered around the individual and achievable for people in whatever circumstance they find themselves.
WLTF: Hen, thanks for your thoughts.
Keep an eye open for Hen's series, which will launch on our website next week!