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The Bastion Insider speaks with Zoca's new Sports Science Guru

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

The Bastion Insider:- Hi Charles, what made you want to get into Sports Nutrition?

The time came when I had to choose my A Levels. A constant message I heard from the teachers during this time was to choose carefully as would influence what career one would be able to go for. At that time in life I knew I enjoyed science type subject. Mainly biology and some chemistry but did not really know what career option other than medicine ( which I had no interest in doing ) I could opt for with those subject. I remember having a conversation with my Grandad who I saw as a person who had experienced everything in life. He gave me the simplest advice but the best advice too ‘pick a career the you will enjoy doing or learning more about it at any hour of the day any time of the week’. So we brain stormed and discussed career that I would have an interest in. We concluded that it had to be something that involved nutrition because I constantly was talking to them ( my close family relatives) about enzymes and how they would break down nutritional products or topics like this ( after every biology class). I was keen for it to also relate to sports because it would then marry the two things I enjoyed the most. Back then however Sports performance dietitian did not exist as they do today. The role was limited to a handful and was not developed to what it is today. It was only staring to get traction thanks to people like Arsene Wenger who was managing Arsenal FC at the time and was revolutionising the world of sports nutrition at the time by influencing his players nutritional habits. It really got me interested. So once I know what I wanted to do I knew what A level I had to pick and also it helped me decide what University I had to aim for. So now I look back and realise that chat with my grandad should not be underestimated.

The Bastion Insider:- What is your background in football?

During my time in UK while i was completing my sports nutrition qualification I had the opportunity to work with some athletes in an array of sports. One of which was a football player for one of my projects. I also was fortunate enough to have experience seeing how an elite club operates in terms of sports nutrition and how athletes are managed under the English institute of sports.

"It is clear that ensuring athletes have optimal nutrition is key these days to get the best performance out of each individual"

The Bastion Insider:- You've had an amzing first season at Lincoln Red Imps, how have you found it?

Coming into a new environment is never easy as you have to get to know well everyone in the club but especially the technical team and players as you work closely with them. I believe for a performance nutrition to be successful at their job it’s important they have a good rapor with the athletes they work with. So building relationships with the players in the team to me is very important. To be honest they have all welcomed me with open arms. The first season I was there the team was successful but that success should rightly be credited to the great manager they had. Who was supported by a great tech team and a squad with great talent who were humble enough to know that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. They knew their roles and what was expected and they all delivered last season as a united team.

The Bastion Insider:- What do you hope to achieve with Zoca Bastion FC, knowing that we are not on the same playing field as LRI?

Zoca FC have come in leaps and bounds since their inception around 10years ago. A lot of recognition has to be given to those at the board level in Zoca. I hope to help drive this team to high heights and hopefully one day see them competing to be at the top of the league. For this to happen it will require a big effort for all involved - a big team effort. The team is gradually become more professional in their approach and I hope from the nutritional aspect to influence the players to adopt better dietary habits that will help optimise their performance and hence help the players achieve the best athletic version of themselves.

The Bastion Insider:- Sports nutrition is an integral part in sports today, how much of a difference do you believe it makes for footballers these days in terms of performance and longevity within the game?

It is clear that ensuring athletes have optimal nutrition is key these days to get the best performance out of each individual. Optimal nutrition has been shown to help performance / prevent injury and aid in recovery post matches/ competition or during a long spell injured. This it’s not just in football but all sports. One of my lectures (Professor Ron Maughan) explained this beautifully in one of the lectures I had with him. “The winner will, without doubt, be highly talented, highly trained and highly motivated. At one time that would have been enough. But these days it is highly likely that everyone in the race will have these qualities… where everyone else is equal, it is diet that will make the vital difference.” Picking up on you last point about longevity, nutrition here also plays a role or the lack of nutrition when we are talking about longevity for the non athlete. In the context of sports, nutrition when combined with adequate sleep / training and correct recovery strategies plus a desire on the athletes part to continue competing at the highest level, will assist the athletes to extract their maximum performance for longer which this will afford them longevity in their sports. We see this happening with many athletes across various sports ( football/F1 /tennis but to name a few) who are competing at the highest level at an ages where in the past they would have already retired.

"The team is gradually becoming more professional in their approach and i hope from a nurtitional aspect to influencethe players to adopt better dietary habits, that will help optimise their performance"

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