Post-Graduate Diploma in Nutrition Medicine
Post-Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine
Bachelor of Science (Human Nutrition)
Bachelor of Physical Education (Sport Science)
New Zealand Registered Nutritionist
Professional Mountain Bike Instructor (Level 1)
I trained my very first client in 1994 working in a gym ("The Power Dome", Dunedin, NZ) to pay my way through university. It wasn’t glamorous. My official job title was gym instructor, but I actually spent most of my time picking up weights, realigning the dumbbells and barbells for the OCD gym owner, making protein shakes for the ‘big boys’, and scrubbing the toilets and shower block after closing. I knew that learning how the human body worked and using that knowledge to help people’s health was what I wanted to do as a career, and if making shakes and cleaning showers was a stepping stone to that, so be it. Eight years, two undergraduate degrees, and a couple of post-grad diplomas after starting what was supposed to only be a 4-year degree at the University of Otago, I started that career in earnest.
I’ve been a personal trainer, a group fitness instructor (spin and circuit), a rehab assistant embedded in a physio clinic, a nutritionist, a manager of personal trainers (I don’t recommend that one much), and a manager of new gyms (I don’t recommend that much either). I’ve been a strength & conditioning coach to elite international level athletes across several different sports, from track cycling to Ultimate Frisbee. I was researching, writing, and delivering workplace wellness programmes long before I knew workplace wellness was ever going to be a serious thing. I’ve worked for one of the largest workplace wellness providers in New Zealand as their lead researcher, writer, and behaviour change programme developer. I've researched and developed a behaviour change programme (More Social, Less Media) designed to get people to do less FaceTime and more face-to-face time. I’ve presented to many groups of various health professionals on a wide range of topics. I’ve run presentations and workshops for organisations of all kinds. I’ve given countless podcast interviews. I’ve spoken at international conferences in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States of America, and I've organised and run a couple of international conferences for other health professionals to speak at. Most recently, I was the lead researcher for a soon-to-be published book on circadian rhythms, seasonal health, and human connection.
For those who like to put people in boxes based on what they do, the above is a short precis of my career to date. But 25 years after working with that first female client in the gym, I’ve come to understand that the important thing is not what I do, but rather why I do what I do; the sense of purpose and fulfilment which fuels my passion. My 'why' (hat-tip to Simon Sinek) is:
helping people to increase their energy and capacity for living a better life.
Image credit: Carl Richards/Behaviour Gap
Whether it be working with individuals, speaking in a workplace, or addressing a conference hall full of people (the medium doesn’t matter), or helping athletes improve their performance, I have felt most fulfilled in my career when I have had the opportunity to help people understand their own biology, helped them prioritise the core elements of their wellbeing, and they have been able to use that information to increase their energy, their potential, and their capacity for what they want to achieve in their lives.
To foster my own energy and capacity, I like to spend time outdoors, in natural environments, with cool people. Preferably on a bike. Almost always preceded by (and often followed up with) good coffee.