Personalizing Nutrition with Ian Craig of CISN

The Science and Strategy of Personalizing Nutrition with Ian Craig of CISN

Episode Overview

Episode Topic: In this episode of NutraPreneur, the spotlight is on the transformative realm of integrative sports nutrition with Ian Craig, the Founder of the Centre for Integrative Sports Nutrition (CISN). The discussion navigates through Ian’s journey from a competitive athlete to the establishment of CISN, exploring the key differentiators of an integrative approach compared to traditional methods in sports nutrition. Listeners are taken on a journey that underscores the philosophy behind CISN and its pivotal role in fostering the long-term health and success of athletes, both elite and recreational.

Lessons You’ll Learn: Listeners can expect to glean valuable insights into the unique aspects of CISN’s curriculum, with a focus on the integration of functional medicine into sports nutrition. Ian delves into the impact of courses covering topics such as gastrointestinal health and mitochondrial energy on athlete performance. The episode unfolds the feedback received from professionals who have completed CISN courses, shedding light on real-world applications and the evolution of practitioners’ approaches to sports nutrition.

About Our Guest: Ian Craig, the distinguished guest on this episode, brings a wealth of knowledge as the Founder of the Centre for Integrative Sports Nutrition. Drawing from his background as a competitive athlete, Ian is an experienced nutritional therapist and exercise physiologist. His passion for integrative sports nutrition shines through as he shares his journey and expertise, providing a unique perspective on the evolving landscape of athlete health and performance.

Topics Covered: The podcast covers a spectrum of topics, ranging from the integrative approach to sports nutrition and the philosophy underpinning CISN to the curriculum’s unique features. Personalized nutrition strategies for athletes take center stage, with Ian sharing a compelling success story where such strategies played a significant role in transforming an athlete’s career. Looking ahead, the discussion touches on anticipated innovations and developments in the field of integrative sports nutrition, offering a comprehensive exploration of this dynamic and evolving discipline.

Our Guest: Ian Craig- The Sports Nutritional Maestro of the Track.

Ian Craig, an accomplished nutritional therapist and exercise physiologist, stands as a pioneering figure in the realm of integrative and functional sports nutrition. With a rich background as a former middle-distance athlete, Ian’s competitive journey saw him vying for success within the prestigious British and Scottish leagues. His transition from athlete to Founder of the Centre for Integrative Sports Nutrition (CISN) reflects a seamless integration of personal experience and professional expertise. Ian’s dual roles as an ex-athlete and a seasoned practitioner uniquely position him to bridge the gap between theory and application in the dynamic field of sports nutrition.


Ian’s journey is marked by a commitment to revolutionizing conventional approaches to sports nutrition. His advocacy for an integrative approach is deeply rooted in his own experiences, both as a competitive athlete and a leading expert in the field. As a nutritional therapist, he champions personalized and holistic strategies, emphasizing the long-term health and success of athletes across diverse levels of expertise, from elite performers to recreational enthusiasts. His contributions extend beyond theory, as evidenced by the real-world impact of the courses offered by CISN, shaping the practices of professionals who seek to enhance athlete performance through cutting-edge nutritional insights.


An ex-middle-distance athlete, Ian’s athletic prowess is complemented by his role as a trailblazer in the integration of functional medicine into sports nutrition. His dedication to this evolving discipline is further exemplified by ongoing efforts, such as his collaboration on a forthcoming textbook, providing a comprehensive resource on Integrative Sport and Exercise Nutrition. In this multifaceted profile, Ian Craig emerges not only as a seasoned professional but as a catalyst for positive transformations in athlete health and performance, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of sports nutrition.

Episode Transcript:

Ian Craig: I look at the yin-yang. I really like the balanced old-medicine attitude. Let’s look at the yin-yang diagram. And yes, you’re training really hard. That means you need to recover hard as well. And when these two are in balance, you’ve got a sustainable career as an athlete. And then when they’re not an athlete anymore, they’ve got some life skills that can hopefully sustain their life. And the longevity equation is coming into a lot more discussion these days as well.


Bethany Jolley: Welcome to Nutra-Preneur, the Neutral industry podcast. I’m your host, food scientist and nutraceuticals consultant, Bethany Jolley. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive in the nutraceutical industry. From conversations with successful nutraceutical entrepreneurs to venture capitalists to tech executives whose innovations are reshaping the nutraceuticals industry. We explore the innovations and trends that are shaping the next generation of nutraceutical businesses. Welcome back to Nutra-Preneur, the leading platform for insights into the evolving world of nutraceuticals. I’m your host, Bethany. Today, we’re honored to have Ian Craig, the founder of the center for Integrative Sports Nutrition. Ian, an experienced nutritional therapist and exercise physiologist, brings a wealth of knowledge from his days as a middle distance athlete. Today, he’s here to discuss how integrative sports nutrition is revolutionizing athletes health and performance. Welcome, Ian. It’s so great to have you today.



Ian Craig: Thanks, Bethany. Thanks for having me.


Bethany Jolley: So first, I think it’d be great for you to just share your journey with us, from being a competitive athlete to founding the Center for Integrative Sports Nutrition.


Ian Craig: so back in the beginning, I was a keen middle-distance athlete when I was a kid. And when it came time to go to university, I started looking at my options and found this course at Glasgow University called Physiology and Sports Science. And that always intrigued me because I always loved to study how the body works under the load of training, and that’s basically led me into a life’s exploration and a life’s work of how does the physical body operate under load. And the assumption is that athletes are these highly invincible folk that just can do anything, but actually, they and me in the past were all human. Humans actually need more support, more physiological support than a regular person. So that’s really fueled my desire. Excuse the fuel pun there. And to get into the area of what can we do to support athletes. And when I use the term athlete, I could be talking about a recreational person, often with a lot of life load going on. They’ve got a lot in their life. Family commitments, work commitments, might be compromising on sleep, but at the same time, they’ve got this epic big goal that they’re trying to work towards, like Iron Man or could be CrossFit competitions. There’s lots of big challenges nowadays, or it could be an Olympian and, they’re all under a lot of pressure. So that’s been my journey initially through physiology. Then I get into strength and conditioning, and then I discovered a different way of doing nutrition. because I was a bit bored with the calories and the carbs, fats, proteins at university, it didn’t really inspire me. But then I listened to Geoffrey Bland present when he came to London, and he was the founder of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and he kind of blew my mind and made me realize, whoa! Okay. The nutritional interface with the human body is huge, and I will be studying the rest of my life, as will all of my peers and all of my students to come. So yeah, that’s kind of the journey I’ve been on ever since then. And that was 20 years ago.


Bethany Jolley: Yeah. That’s great. And in your experience, how does an integrative approach to sports nutrition differ from the traditional methods?


Ian Craig: So it might help with a definition, first of what integrative is in my mind anyway because I’m really the only person calling it integrative sports nutrition. So I studied a way of doing nutrition called nutritional therapy. It’s a UK qualification and it’s somewhat similar to something like naturopathy or applied functional medicine in the US. And it’s looking at the health of the body systems rather than just saying, okay, here’s my athlete, he’s male or female. he or she needs this many grams of carbohydrate for this sport that they’re participating in, I’m interested in. Okay. Well, how is his or her gastrointestinal health? How is his or her musculoskeletal health? How is their immunity? How are their neurotransmitters? How is the whole body health at an integrative level? And the word integrative means kind of togetherness. So you can’t just study the gut or the immune system or the muscles. And you need to understand that when we influence one, every other organ system and body system gets affected. Okay, so if there’s a weak link and all athletes have some weak link to a greater or lesser extent, we need to understand the weak links. Let’s improve our digestion. Let’s improve the immunity so they’re more stable through the winter months and they have fewer days off from sickness. Let’s reduce their inflammation so that they recover quicker between training sessions. Ultimately, inflammation is a process that creates “First damage but then adaptation between training sessions”. So it’s very important to understand all those aspects rather than just saying, “Okay, how many calories do they need? How many grams of carbs or fat or protein do they need?” So that’s what integrative is to me. There’s another knock-on kind of aspect and that is integration of practitioners. So to really support somebody you need nutrition support strength and conditioning coaching. You need maybe psychology support, physiotherapy, body conditioning. So there’s all these different elements depending on the person to provide better support for them. So that’s what integrative is. And I think the reason that’s so powerful and so important for people is kind of in my answer already, we need to be nourishing them from a very very deep level.


Bethany Jolley: Right. I think you bring up a lot of good points because all of those systems work together. And so if you’re just isolating, gut health or something like that and not looking at the body as a whole, you’re not really seeing what needs to be done to perform optimally. So I think it’s great that you bring up that point and want to look at everything throughout the body.


Ian Craig: Yeah, absolutely. And we need to get to know the person as a person.  and not just a body that’s doing these disciplines. And Within an integrative approach. We need to understand them personally. You know, they’ve got some gut issues or they might not have any evident gut issues, but they’re just not digesting as well as they can do. And then all that well-planned nutrition that a dietitian might have handed them isn’t working so well because they’re not absorbing it so well. And that is a fundamental thing for me. So can we take something and optimize it? Can we take something and make it better? But we need to understand each person for that. And. just to follow the gut example of there are the functional medicine 4 or 5-hour approaches. Working clinically with people, it’s like, “Okay, let’s knock out the bugs. Let’s improve their digestive enzymes. Let’s give them some gut repair. Let’s re-inoculate with probiotics.” And that’s a kind of functional medicine approach. But for many people, I’ve done that approach and it hasn’t made any difference. But then you start tapping into their personality and it’s like oh! Okay, I should have looked at this before. They’re an anxious personality. They become stressed under the pressures of competition or even for a non-competitive athlete. They become stressed under the load of life. All the expectations to pay the mortgage and to provide bread and butter for the wife and family or to be somebody to everyone around them. That’s a pressure and I tend to call that the ecosystem of the person. Now I have to credit my good friend Paula Wren, who’s a strength and conditioning coach, here in the UK, and he’s come up with this analogy where you can zoom in and academics tend to do this while academics does do this because it has to measure detail. If you try and do academic research, study through too big a lens, you just get waffle. So academia is done through a very focused research lens. So as he says, you might be in a rainforest. And you’re looking at the rings of the tree.  how old is the tree? You step back one little bit. You can see the tree. You step back a little bit further. You see a group of trees. step back much further, You see the whole rainforest and that becomes the ecosystem. So too often I think we’re zooming into the detail of how many grams of carbs does that athlete need. But you haven’t clocked the facts that. Let’s say her parents divorced when she was 15, at a very vulnerable age when coming up to kind of national level as a swimmer, for example, I’ve worked with a lot of swimmers and that really affected her mentally, emotionally, which is carried into her career. And now she’s not digesting so well and she’s getting anxious. But it’s a very deep level because it’s based on earlier trauma. So that’s one example of kind of going off and wandered there. But just gives you an example of Who we should be looking at when we’ve got somebody in front of us as a nutritional practitioner.


Bethany Jolley: Absolutely. And I think that’s a very unique and interesting approach because most people probably aren’t thinking about personality and lifestyle and all of those things when they’re putting together a nutrition plan. And so how does CISN’s philosophy contribute to the long-term health and success of both elite and recreational athletes?


Ian Craig: So the health I mean, our pun, our underscore if you feel like the health feeds performance, so starting at the end, our assumption is that if you have better health or body health, then you’re going to support performance better. And one example is the gut health thing. If your gut is working better, you’ll absorb more of the nutrients from the well-calculated out diet. But you’re on. And you’ll have more nutrients available to fuel your muscles for exercise and at the same time supporting your brain cognition and keeping your immune system buoyant and repairing your muscles after exercise. so that to me, it’s not really a research question, but hopefully future research will start to kind of tease that out the health performance aspects. but if you really delve into what are the body systems and how do we support their health through that, then we start to, let’s say feed the person more than just with food, and checking their body systems are good, checking into their ecology, that ecosystem of theirs. And for me, getting to know them as a person is fundamentally important. I’ve supervised quite a lot of people like students doing nutrition programs, and the thing that they often do is they go into the clinical detail. And, you know, Mrs. Smith is short on vitamin D and could do with some more vitamin C, and maybe they need some acetyl-l-carnitine. So that’s the detail. That’s the zooming-in. But I’ll just sort of sit back and say, “Well, tell me about Mrs. Smith. How did she appear to you when you consulted with her? what is her personality and What weaknesses are in her life? What’s her challenges? What’s her stresses and how’s she taking your information?” And there’s another really key element. We have got a course that I run on Ergogenic Aids. And when I started the course, like probably everyone else thinks about it, I thought we’d be going into creating and caffeine and so on. But one of the lecturers I brought into the course started talking about the practitioners and ergogenic aid. So how do we interface with the person can make a huge difference to their success? And so that’s a start. All of these layers, this sort of, let’s zoom out approach, the zoom in, they’re all important. But we need to take them all in, as opposed to just skipping to, “Okay, how many grams of creatine do we need to get this guy with bigger guns in the gym?” Okay. Let’s actually see if he’s going to absorb all that creatine first.


Bethany Jolley: Yes. And you’ve touched on this a bit already, I think. But can you delve into some of the unique aspects of CISN’s curriculum, particularly, the integration of functional medicine into sports nutrition?


Ian Craig: Yeah. So the main course that we run is called the Certificate of Integrative Sports Nutrition. And it’s two large modules and then two small modules. and the first large one is the integrative body systems. So we, we kind of go into personalization gut detox musculoskeletal immune, etc. And so that kind of, to me that creates the health aspect that underpins module two, which is that your classic performance nutrition, macros, micros, hydration, electrolytes, pre/during/post exercise. so the main point of difference is that first aspect. But even when we go into the energetic stuff in the second module, we delve in quite differently. We really question the prevailing calorie story because not as all as it seems. We’re not mechanical beings that work like a machine, just burning fuel, burning food to create fuel. so those are kind of main points of difference. And then we have these small specialty modules and you pick two on the certificate course, but all of them are available to do a CPD. So we’ve got the Ergogenic Aids one. We’ve got hypertrophy, gastrointestinal. We’ve got mitochondria which is obviously energetic. And we’re bringing in a mind-body one this year and a RED-S. So relative energy deficiency in sport. and also we’ve got natural sports cookery. And that’s quite a special one to me because it’s run by my wife Rachel Jessen, who’s passionate about food. But secondly, it’s more to me, it gets down to what is nutrition. if you if you just do a picture in your head, what is nutrition? What’s the visual that comes? And you’ll generally get greens and reds and different shades of food. But when you go into a textbook, it’s some numerical. So we have dataized nutrition. And there’s appropriateness there at some level. But we also need to recognize that nutritionist food. So let’s start with the food, the quality before we delve into the quantity. And if you can do the two together then you can be a really good practitioner or a group of practitioners working with the person. And lastly, on our curriculum, we’re just about to launch a postgraduate diploma, which will take all of those things, but push it up to a equivalent of a master’s level. It kind of stops short of a master’s. And then you need to obviously do a thesis for a master’s degree.


Bethany Jolley: Yeah. And so how do these courses that are on topics like gastrointestinal health and mitochondrial Énergie influence an athlete’s performance?


Ian Craig: So I’ve given the obvious example of if somebody is not digesting and absorbing the food that they’re consuming well enough, they just won’t have all theoretical nutrition in their system to use to fuel their muscles or support their mitochondrial energy, or to recover properly. So that’s easy one. But another one is the gut. The modern gut is inflamed very easily. We live in a very, one would say clean society compared to, let’s say, living in a rainforest or living the old-fashioned farmer lifestyles that we used to not that long ago. So the ecology of our gut has changed. And within sports nutrition now, there’s a lot of focus put on the microbiome, which is really quite exciting. So it’s now been accepted that this gut health is really key for an athlete’s health and performance. And I just take that a bit further because the microbiome is the bugs. We also need to consider, okay, well, when we consume food, how well is it getting digested and the different stages of digestion, and how well they’re working. so it’s optimizing that uptake and also decreasing things like inflammation, improving recovery. When we consider that give or take, 70% of the immune system is in or around the gut. Well, then there’s quite a strong immune component in the gut. And what I’m seeing as a personal practitioner is more and more autoimmunity coming into the sporting space. Because it’s not some amazing new disease that’s suddenly happening or new bugs, of course, they’re there as well. But I just see people’s life load getting higher and higher and toxicity that we’re living in getting higher and higher. And I think these are the two main components in autoimmunity. So then as a practitioner, you need to start unpacking that toxicity and load unpacking their bucket in other words. So we use this analogy of how many things are in your bucket before it overflows and causes all these horrible symptoms like autoimmunity or thyroid conditions or inflammation. And so can we unpack the bucket a little bit before we actually go into the detail of getting you ready for the sport? And the other one, Mitochondria is a really good example. it’s my favorite lecture of the last couple of years. So I did a lecture and a webinar called Three Dimensional Approach to Mitochondria. If you pick up like a university sports nutrition textbook, mitochondria is all about glucose. And at the top comes down through glycolysis, goes through the Krebs cycle. And you spin off ATP in the process. and it’s simplified that much even though there’s a lot of biochemical steps. But it’s all within the mitochondria. And the mitochondria have evolved from bacteria. So now we recognize that our gut bacteria if the microbiome is in good health, that actually helps the mitochondria be in better health. The mitochondria membranes are very susceptible to oxidative stress. So if we’re mindful of getting enough antioxidants in our diet it can make a huge difference to just to the health of the mitochondria. And there’s recent research starting to coming looking at emotional health and trauma and mitochondrial health. So there’s various different layers thereof supporting the mitochondria. But the basic function of mitochondria in every cell in our body is to make ATP energy out of fuel. So you can see why fuel is only a tiny bit of nutrition. But it’s been heightened into what nutrition is. So that’s a couple of examples why health-based thinking can actually fuel the performance.


Bethany Jolley: Yeah, absolutely. And what feedback have you received from professionals who have completed these courses, especially regarding their application in real-world scenarios?


Ian Craig: We see all sorts of people. We’ll see people in professional teams as students. We’ll work with students who have, I call them students, but they’re mostly practitioners already. so we’ll work with collegiate practitioners of different levels, but mostly we work with single practitioners. So they’re working one-on-one with clients. And that’s very much the personalized approach in a team scenario. Traditionally, it’s more been a nutrition specialist coming in and creating a dietary focus for the whole team. But actually, we need to be doing an equals one I personalized. So yeah, I mean most of the people kind of do the course and shoot off, but the ones we are in contact with. I don’t believe in revolution. I believe more in evolution. So it’s evolving their practices, and the people that we tend to attract, tend to already be doing some of it. It’s just helping them enhance this pattern. So the results are not dramatic. They’re subtle. Because when you start working with somebody’s health, it takes a while to kind of get it in place. But the general feedback is something like, “Oh, I went through last winter and only had one cold.” Whereas the last couple of seasons I’ve been off 3 or 4 times, or I seem to getting injured less, or a recent example from a practitioner from a previous course was just supporting somebody with weight management and a lot. That’s a lot of people in sport. They’re trying to balance their weight and by getting them eating better, They’re not having to deplete the calories to get the weights balanced. And in the process, their energy goes up. So just their useful energy to support the training is improving. So hope that gives you a few examples.


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Ian Craig: It very much goes back to that ecosystem, understanding what level you’re going into. And if you’re a sort of one-on-one practitioner, most people create a bit of a niche for themselves. So I’ve got some colleagues who will only see clients when they’ve spent a few hundred pounds on testing to go into huge clinical detail. And then I’ve got other colleagues who will work with people who don’t have much money and therefore they can’t do any testing. So each practitioner has a different kind of style. But within that, you need to be ready to be adaptive. Was based on the person that comes through the door. And do you do testing? Don’t you do testing? What’s a focal point? And the number one aspect of personalization is getting to know the person. Now personalization tends to be linked to genetic testing. And genetic testing, basically, in the last 10 to 15 years of consulted with a genetics lab in the past. So I’ve watched the kind of evolution of that. And the testing is getting better and better, and there’s more snips and more data, and I think it’s really useful. But we always need to pair it with the person. So it’s always going to come down to how well have you taken a history from that person. And then from that history, you add on genetic testing or blood testing or stool testing or functional testing and get that bigger kind of personalization picture. and then that’s only the start of it. And then you go on a journey with your client. So okay. Well, step one, here’s a few dietary suggestions. I don’t create a diet for a client. I create dietary suggestions based on what they’re already doing and based on what my perceived needs are and based on what they want to do. Because I’ve got a clear goal from the client is really important. So focus on that and then start them off and get them coming back in 2 or 3 weeks with a detailed food diary and do a reflection food diary as well. How did you feel? How is your energy, your mood, your your gut health? Whatever symptoms they presented with related to the food that they’re eating, what their sleep patterns were. So you start teasing information out of their reflective practice. And then okay. Right. So you’ve learned this. Let’s go in a bit deeper. Let’s make a few more adjustments. Let’s add in some supplements and really start getting into the zoomed-in situation. The whole time, Kind of being able to zoom out and check your client is progressing nicely as well. So ideally I do a minimum of four sessions personally in my practice because I feel I need that time with them to start unraveling some of the old stuff that they’re carrying and to start implementing new stuff. Our practitioners, We have these conversations all the time. They all have various different ways of working. But it’s certainly part of our discussions that we have as they try and optimize their package approach.


Bethany Jolley: Yeah. And I feel like those food diaries and the reflective aspect of it could be beneficial for all individuals, not just athletes.


Ian Craig: That’s a really key thing you just said, Bethany. It’s like going back to an athlete or a sports person or an active person as a human. so the way how I have learned nutritional therapy is not for athltherapyritional therapies, just to help people with their health. Anyone and obviously people will specialize into different aspects of working. But I’ve just applied it over to my early passion of people who are active.


Bethany Jolley: Yeah. And do you have a success story that you could share with us where this personalized nutrition strategy significantly impacted an athlete’s career?


Ian Craig: I’ll give you a little sneak preview too. I’m writing a textbook at the moment. It should be out early 2025, with my colleague, Professor Justin Roberts. And it’s going to be called the Textbook of Integrative Sport and Exercise Nutrition. So chapter two is personalization. And I wrote the case study, and then we had a couple of specialists, who edited it for us. So the case study is based on, are you still living in South Africa? So, it was a South African Ironman triathlete. He was a pretty good level, but she wanted to improve and she was a lawyer, single, thankfully. She didn’t have any kids or family commitments. It was work and training, work and training. But she was very overwhelmed because she was a lawyer, therefore working long hours. And she’d taken on a South African coach who had done well internationally himself. And one of these coaches that just applies, “Well, it worked for me, so it has to work for everyone else.” And she was doing insane volume, so I was like, “Okay, how am I going to support this person?” Because this is a stress,  it just depletes everything we do gets deplete by just the volume of training. but thankfully, at the time, she’d negotiated pulling back on her law hours, so she was only working the equivalent of four days a week, and then it meant she did have the time to train, but she wasn’t putting enough emphasis into her food preparation. she was eating bland, and she had bounced around nutrition approaches through various professionals, having been on the standard high carb approach. And then she went to go see a dietician during, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Banting era in with Professor Tim Noakes in South Africa. Then she was put on a Banting diet. and the high carb made her feel really up and down with energy. So she didn’t have sustained energy for the long efforts. The low-carb approach made her extremely constipated and her acne got worse and her mood fell through the floor. So I always go middle line if I don’t know anymore. So I started in middle line with her kind of Mediterranean-style approach. But then I got her to do some genetics. The genetics of metabolism supported that middle-line approach, but then genetics of detoxification showed that she had a couple of SNPs. That meant she didn’t detoxify so great. And her inflammation wasn’t great either. And I remember she had SNPs on some musculoskeletal collagen genes. So in other words, with all the heavy running training, she had a high susceptibility to tendon injuries. So I very much asked her to request the coach or negotiate with the coach a decrease in volume slightly, so that she had a bit more time in the day to prepare food and eat food in a slow, mindful manner because you might get all that right. But if you rush the food. You need to be in a parasympathetic nervous state to digest properly. And of course, she wasn’t. She was rushing. And her adrenals were really tired, in my view, even though I didn’t test it. I just had lots of experience testing adrenal function. So we just worked with this basic dietary approach, and I brought in more cruciferous vegetables, plus some supplements that used a sprouted broccoli powder to sort of rev up these glucosinolates, which are good for detoxification, got more antioxidants in. We worked on things like ginger and turmeric, getting some spices into her bland cooking to get some anti-inflammatories in there. And. Like I said earlier, it wasn’t like this revolution that suddenly, a month later she was winning world championships. It was a slow kind of, “Oh. My energy is a bit more stable. Oh! My God. I’m going. I’m having a poo every single day. Oh! That’s different. I haven’t had a cold for three months now and my mood is better.” So it’s things like that, and then like many people do, she did some like 4 or 5 sessions with me and then disappeared off. I didn’t see her again. But I was listening to the radio maybe two years later, and her name was announced as the winner of the South African Ironman. Not the Masters, the total. And I missed that out earlier. That was her goal to win an international Ironman competition, which my chin hit the floor when she asked me that, but she was determined and I obviously contributed to some of her journey, but then she carried forward a lot of different things and got her success.


Bethany Jolley: Yeah, that’s that’s incredible. And I think, like you said, it’s a slower process, but it’s a sustainable process. And I think in the long run it works for them.


Ian Craig: Yeah, if I can, I’ll just add on to that because it’s not just health for the sake of assuming health is supportive of performance. It’s for the longevity of the athlete as well. In the UK we call it football, you call it soccer. if you look at an average soccer player’s career, there’s a lot getting into the mid-30s now, some in their late 30s. And when I turned 40, I almost celebrated and jumped off the couch when a 40-year-old was on one of the stages on the Tour de France. So yeah, there’s more older athletes there, but in order to do it, they have to look after themselves. If they really go for just performance, they’ll tend to burn out. They can lengthen their career and also in the process, because they’re habituating themselves with good health patterns and hopefully a more balanced attitude. I look at the yin-yang. I really like the balanced old-medicine attitude. Let’s look at the yin-yang diagram. And yes, you’re training really hard. That means you need to recover hard as well. And when these two are in balance, you’ve got a sustainable career as an athlete. And then when they’re not an athlete anymore, they’ve got some life skills that can hopefully sustain their life. And the longevity equation is coming into a lot more discussion these days as well.


Bethany Jolley: Yes. And so looking ahead, are there any innovations or developments that you foresee in integrative sports nutrition?


Ian Craig: It’s a very good question, Bethany. Because I’m kind of old school, I go with touch and feel a little bit in supporting athletes and what I feel is Right. So I’ve talked a lot about the health aspects, but I haven’t touched on the technology. The technology is things like microbiome testing I think is very exciting. We’re in an early phase of that. I’ve got mixed minds with artificial intelligence, but I know that that’s starting to get into lab features and then all, all speed up the understanding of patterns that are picked up from lab testing. You’ve got nutrigenomics and all the genetic type testing. That’s really exciting. I just hope we don’t try and go to the point where we start trying to pick athletes at a young age because of their genes. Because I don’t think it can. I think we use that information in line with who the person is and, and connect the dots. So they’re good technologies in the right hands and the right application. And then all the supplementation I mean it’s an incredible area. And the quality is improving. It used to just be a few good brands that you’d get out there. Now the number of good brands is improving. There’s more awareness of toxicity. So cutting the rubbish out of the products is great. So I think you can personalize a lot more to the person, such as do some genetic testing and then say, “Well, you need a bit more antioxidants or you need some more methylating b-vitamins. So let’s bring those into the equation and you can get more refinement of what you’re doing the best.” Practitioners, in my experience, are quite intuitive. They can pick up what their client’s needs are. But that only takes you so far. Then the technology can give you some extra edge. So it’s very much the marrying of the intuitive, the practice, the science, and the technology. And then you can really provide good support for people.


Bethany Jolley: Yeah. Ian, once again, thank you for joining us. This conversation has been so insightful. And I’d say today’s episode really provided a deep dive into the transformative world of integrative sports nutrition. And your insights underline the importance of personalized and holistic approaches and nurturing athletic excellence and longevity. So to learn more about the center for Integrative Sports Nutrition and their courses, visit the links that we’ve shared. Subscribe for more episodes and join us in exploring the dynamic field of nutraceuticals. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and breakthroughs in our next episode. Thanks for tuning in to this episode of Nutra-Preneur. If you enjoy the show, please subscribe and better yet, leave us a review as it really helps us grow the show.