Sky Academy Sports Scholarships: Gymnast Sam Oldham explains the importance of nutrition in sport

By Sam Drury - Follow on Twitter

Last Updated: 26/03/2017, 15:45 GMT

Sam Oldham
Sam Oldham: Explained some of the measures taken by athletes to reach top condition

Nutrition plays an important part in top level sport and Sam Oldham has revealed just some of the things athletes must take into consideration, not only to stay healthy, but also to avoid accidentally falling foul of anti-doping laws.

The Nottingham gymnast is now used to the way the system works and having to allocate an hour a day, during which an anti-doping agency drug tester can show up to test him if they so choose.

However, he admitted he had to make adjustments when he was younger in order to stay in peak condition and compete at the highest level.

"The nutrition side of things is a big deal now," he said. "When I was younger, I'd say about 16, I could eat whatever I wanted and I didn't put on any weight at all, so I could have pizzas when I got home from training and it just didn't have any effect. Then I sort of hit 16 and it was sort of like 'wow'.

"So we got a nutritionist and she advised me on what I need to eat and stuff like that. So I got educated from a young age on what I needed to eat and in terms of banned substances and stuff it is quite difficult."

Careful

Things that used to be taken for granted, such as taking cough medicine, now require careful consideration.

"If you get ill you can't just say 'Mum, have you got something for a sore throat?' Oldham added.

There are websites you can go on and check all the ingredients and tells you whether it's prohibited in competition or out of competition or whatever, so you just have to be very careful of what you're taking
Quote - Sam Oldham

"You have to check it out but there are websites you can go on and check all the ingredients and it tells you whether it's prohibited in competition or out of competition, so you just have to be very careful of what you're taking."

This is an area where the Olympic bronze medallist is grateful to have the help of the Sky Academy Sports Scholarships to ease the burden of such worries.

"The scholarship funding is going to help me big time with my body preparation side of things," explained Oldham. "So getting sports therapy, massage, physio and the nutrition side of things as well - it means I don't have to worry about buying them."