Investigating the Nutritional Requirements of Elite Gaelic Footballers
Researchers: Mr Luke O'Brien (PhD) and Dr Farzad Amirabdollahian
Gaelic Football is a high intensity intermittent field based sport and it is one of the most popular sports played in Ireland. Despite its popularity very little research exists on the nutritional status of elite Gaelic football players.
Due to a lack of research, nutritional recommendations must be interpreted from studies carried out in other team sports. Physiological requirements of Gaelic football places heavy demands on energy, the limited amount of nutritional studies regarding Gaelic footballers suggest that their energy intake is insufficient and they are at the lower end of recommended carbohydrate intakes which could be detrimental to training adaptations, performance and overall health.
This project will provide an in-depth investigation into the nutritional status of elite Gaelic footballers, it will examine dietary intake and energy expenditure during a competitive week and also assess hydration status pre and post training. This novel evidence will provide GAA managers, coaches and nutritionists with valuable information regarding elite Gaelic football player’s energy, macronutrient, micronutrient and fluid requirements. Also to date there is no field based or laboratory based exercise protocol that simulates the activity patterns of an elite Gaelic football match. Many of these protocols exist in other sports, therefore another aim of this project is to create a valid and reliable exercise protocol that replicates match play demands of elite Gaelic footballers. This will be an excellent tool that will be used to evaluate the efficacy of different nutritional intervention strategies on Gaelic football performance.
- To determine if current energy and macronutrient intake of elite Gaelic football players meets the current recommendations for team sport athletes in the literature.
- To investigate energy balance in Gaelic footballers by comparing accurate energy intake against a valid method of energy expenditure.
- To assess micronutrient intakes of elite Gaelic footballers and compare to current guidelines.
- To investigate energy and macronutrient intake of pre and post exercise meals and explore if this is in line with the latest recommendations.
- To create a valid and reliable exercise protocol that mimics the activity patterns of an elite Gaelic football match.
- Use the above exercise protocol to test the efficacy of different nutritional intervention strategies on Gaelic football performance.
For more information about this project, you can contact Luke directly at the following:
T: 0151 291 3815