The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) aims to support Australian athletes to become world’s best. As an official NSWIS Performance Partner, Musashi works alongside the Institute’s leading experts and dietitians to assist in the provision of a world class service delivery to athletes.

Sports nutrition can play a key role in the success of an athlete’s career and Musashi continues to impact a wide range of NSWIS athletes, as detailed in our case studies.

Fuel and recovery strategies ahead of International Competition

Declan Stacey started his athletic career in gymnastics before successfully converting to an international level of diving. Having Commonwealth Games bronze in 2018 and gold at the World Cup Trials event in February 2020, he now has his sights firmly set on international glory and is leaving no stone unturned on his journey.

Identifying performance improvements

Declan’s diet included balanced and varied meals with healthy food choices. He has learnt to review and refine his diet and nutrition habits over time to suit different physical requirements and training demands; especially in transitioning from gymnastics to diving.

Body composition and physique is important for the sport of diving to allow strength and flexibility for complex dives. Therefore, it’s important Declan maintains a consistent weight to avoid any unwanted impacts on the torque and spin of his dives, and the impact of hitting the water.

Declan’s weight was on track and stable, however when looking at eating habits, portion sizes and meal timings, there was an opportunity to make improvements to Declan’s body composition and energy levels by manipulating what and when he ate.

While making healthy choices, he was eating large meals at fewer intervals over the day, meaning limited opportunities to eat between morning and afternoon training to both recover and prepare for the next session. At the end of a long training day, he would rely on a larger dinner to replenish what he had used through the day.

Expert intervention

Declan did not need to eat less but had to eat more efficiently for both muscle gain and fat loss. This meant manipulating meal times and portions for improved protein delivery and metabolism. Working closely with NSWIS dietitians, Declan added a larger mid-morning snack to prepare for afternoon training and, rather than wait until dinner to eat, included a 100% whey protein shake after training. Making space for this extra energy around training came from reducing and redistributing that large dinner time meal for better nutrients and protein delivery throughout the day.

The 100% whey protein shake provided 25g of protein per serve to facilitate muscle protein synthesis while offering a lower total energy content (at 550kJ per serve) which allowed for a controlled energy intake to start muscle recovery without ruining his appetite for dinner.

This change in energy distribution and increase protein intake make it easier for Declan to manage his portions and appetite, while providing a better recovery strategy for training the next day.

Performance outcomes

Body composition assessment showed a decrease in body fat and increase in muscle mass, while body weight stayed consistent with just a few key shifts in protein timing.

Declan took these strategies into the World Cup Trial event in Sydney (February 2020) where he won gold in the men’s platform synchro event. Now that Declan has practised some solid and successful nutrition strategies to support performance outcomes, he can continue to focus on returning to peak form.

This sports nutrition case study and associated intervention was conducted by NSWIS Senior Dietician Sally Walker. Sally has an extensive history working in high performance sport across a range of professional sports and alongside her NSWIS role is the Dietician for the Australian Olympic Team for the upcoming Tokyo Games.