Nutrition student and Plymouth Argyle football player

A team of health students from Plymouth University are hungry to find out what’s on the menu for footballers in the city to help boost their studies while looking at ways to improve player performance.

Undergraduates on the Nutrition, Exercise and Health, and Health and Fitness degrees are being matched to sporting ‘partners’ from local clubs, University teams and sports scholarship students, as part of the practical element of their course.

This year is the first time students have teamed up with Plymouth Argyle Football Club, who welcome the chance for feedback on ways to up their game.

Three students – Sebastian Readhead, Samuel Downs and Katharina Gross – have been selected to work with the Argyle Academy players, where they will meet for an initial interview, give them a dietary assessment including recording the players’ height, weight and body fat, and task them with keeping a record of training, as well as food and drink intake.

Gail Rees, Associate Professor in Human Nutrition from the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences, said: 

“We are delighted the club has come on board with the study. The students learn a great deal from working with real clients. It helps their professionalism and communication skills and provides a ‘real life’ assessment in the module. Most students enjoy the ‘hands-on’ approach.”

Once the information is collected, it will be analysed using a computer programme which will calculate the player’s intake of energy, fat, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals. Each player will receive a full breakdown of their diet and some advice on how to modify it, which their coaches can also use to support them in the future. 

Sebastian Readhead said: 

“It’s great to be able to put the things we have learned in the classroom into practice. Our bodies require increased amounts of essential macro and micro-nutrients to sustain intense or prolonged physical activity. We want to advise the footballers on how they can maintain the right diet to help with their development and give them the edge in their game.”

James Greenacre, Commercial Operations Manager at Plymouth Argyle Football Club, said: 

“We value any advice which affords our players the chance to increase their performance, and we are hoping to see great results on both sides from this partnership.”

Nutrition students meet Plymouth Argyle football players

  • Sebastian Readhead with Liam Knowles

    Pitching ideas

    Sebastian Readhead with football player Liam Knowles
  • Samuel Downs with Andrew Hannah

    Sharing ideas

    Samuel Downs with football player Andrew Hannah
  • Katharina Gross with Owen Jones

    Exchanging ideas

    Katharina Gross with Owen Jones