Nutrition 2021

Dan Martin

Speaker at International Nutrition Research Conference 2021 - Dan Martin
Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
Title : Creating Nutrition Behaviour Change in Professional Sport: An Applied Example from Professional Horseracing


Despite the knowledge of the detrimental effects on both health and athletic performance of severely low energy diets and rapid weight loss methods, professional jockeys maintain archaic weight management and weight making practices. This presentation acknowledges that knowledge alone does not influence behaviour and details the development, implementation and evaluation of a complex multi-faceted behaviour change intervention within the sport, underpinned by behaviour change science. Rather than solely improving athlete knowledge which is common in nutrition interventions it focuses on developing their nutritional capabilities (knowledge and applied practical skills), providing more opportunities to engage in the desired behaviour (altering the training and competition environment), and developing their motivation to adhere to best practices. Whilst this talk provides a comprehensive applied example within the sport of horseracing, the methods employed can be adopted to both other sports and non-sporting contexts.

Audience Take Away:

  • An overview of behaviour change science theory and its application to professional athletes
  • How to develop the capabilities, opportunities, and motivation of professional athletes to adopt an optimal diet for health and performance
  • Provides a framework that can be adapted by practitioners in other professional sports / clubs
  • Can help inform future research design projects intending to develop, implement and evaluate behaviour change interventions in any discipline


Dan is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Liverpool John Moores University where his research focuses on nutrition and behaviour change within professional athletes. His research in this area was awarded with the SENr Professor Clyde Williams OBE Award for Research and Innovation in Sport and Exercise Nutrition.

In his applied roles he is a Performance Nutritionist for the Professional Jockeys Association and the Injured Jockeys Fund, consulting to both organisations since 2013 and working alongside some of the world’s leading jockeys in their bids to make light racing weights. In 2018 he expanded his scope within horse sports and is now working for Team GB Equestrian in their preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Away from equine sports he consults for a Championship football club.