One of the IFNH’s newest members, PhD student Drew Price, has shared his experience of being interviewed by the BBC this summer.

Drew was interviewed by BBC1 during the summer for their World Cup coverage on the subject of Ramadan fasting, and its potential impact on performance.

Before starting his studies at Reading, Drew worked as a nutrition consultant in the Premiership of both football and rugby, as well as with a range of elite athletes. Drew says:

“Ramadan fasting involves abstaining from both food and water during daylight hours, which presents a number of challenges for the athletes. First and foremost is their hydration, and then calorie and nutrient intake. At all times the coaching and support teams are balancing the need to train the players with the impact fasting has on health and recovery. They do this by closely scrutinising training volumes, intensity and timing, the training environment and monitoring health using metrics such as resting heart rate data, urine specific gravity and so on.

The other less obvious impact is the disruption to daily schedules and circadian rhythms. As night time is the only opportunity to feed and rehydrate, the teams must maximise this phase of the day while minimising the disruption to the athlete’s sleep and daily routine.

All this is a major challenge for the medical science teams supporting the athletes. There’s little standard guidance, and whilst there is some interesting literature on Ramadan and physical performance, it has to be remembered that elite athletes are, by definition, outliers and that the literature is not always relevant to them.”