Evaluating fitness and nutritional information for research

Evaluating fitness and nutritional information for research

Fitness and nutritional information plays a large role in coaching and training facilitation, especially when working with high performance athletes. Assessing the quality of information that is becoming increasingly available can be difficult. We approached Tim Stockwell, head strength and condition coach for the Maroochydore Swans Union Academy for some guidance on how spot the real from the fake.

Tim has completed a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2009, specializing in Biomechanics and Performance Enhancement. He has now recently completed his Honours Degree in Exercise Physiology at USC, looking specifically at the effect of exercise modality on energy expenditure in the elderly. Tim is also currently completing his PHD at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Tim where do you find reliable nutrition and fitness information and how do you evaluate the quality of research?

The easiest way for us is to go through a Google search but you do it through Google scholar, that’s basically where all of the review articles or peer reviewed journals are based and kept. Unfortunately you need to login through an institution.

So if you know someone at a university, you can go and look up anything you want to but that’s basically where you’ll find all of your relevant and up to date and peer reviewed information and that’s what all the researchers go off.

So any guidelines that you’ll see from the government pretty much come off things like that rather than someone just saying ‘that sounds like a good idea lets go with that’.

Do you have any advice for everyday people who wouldn’t necessarily have access to university research?

That’s the tough thing, they’ve [university resources] got to be the places that you go to for research. Books written by celebrities; pointless. They’ve heard information from someone and either the message is just wrong in the first place or it gets misinterpreted or misconstrued, so it just gets further and further away from what the actual research has found.

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