About Aoife Hearne

Aoife Hearne Dietitian

Aoife Hearne is a registered Dietitian and a member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute, the professional body for Dietitians in Ireland. She is well known for her role as the leading nutrition expert on RTÉ One’s Operation Transformation. The IFTA winning health and fitness show has a viewership in excess of 600,000 every year. In 2016, a new strand of the show was announced where five celebrities were put through their paces for Celebrity Operation Transformation.

Also in 2016, Aoife released her book The Plan. In this she brings together recipes and practical advice needed to reach and maintain a healthy weight for life. As well as delicious, accessible breakfasts, lunches and dinners, The Plan contains expert advice and strategies for healthy living.

Aoife started her career in the United States where she went on an athletic scholarship to study nutrition at The University of Tennessee. She went on to complete a dietetic internship at the world renowned Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. After qualifying as a registered Dietitian she worked as a Clinical Dietitian in Savannah, Georgia at Memorial Health University Medical Centre. Aoife returned home from the United States in 2005 and established Nutrition Solutions in Waterford City. Since then, she has made a significant contribution to the South East’s medical infrastructure by providing a professional private nutrition consultancy service. Aoife works closely with local GP’s and also provides nutrition services to schools, industry, sports teams and community groups.

Aoife has a strong personal background in sport. She was a member of the national track and field team from 1994-2000 and was National Senior Champion in the 100m in 1997. In 2012, Aoife completed a Master’s Degree at Coventry University in Sports and Exercise Nutrition. She has worked with many elite athletes from a number of different sports including the Tipperary Senior Hurling panel since 2009.

 

Sports Nutrition Tips

To help you perform at your best and feel better

1. Eat regular meals and snacks. You should aim to have 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. Aim to eat something every 2 - 3 hours. You should never skip meals especially breakfast. This ensures you have adequate energy to perform at your best throughout the day.

 

2. Drink fluids regularly throughout the day. During training you will lose fluid through sweating. Unless those fluid losses are replaced by drinking (sports drinks/water), you run the risk of becoming dehydrated which can cause fatigue and impair your performance. Therefore, fluids are critical for recovery both physically and mentally. Fluid needs are different for every athlete, drinking regularly to avoid thirst is important. A general guideline for fluid intake is 1-2L/day + ~ 400-800mls per hr of exercise. Alcohol dehydrates the body and also increases healing time from injuries, therefore it is important to limit or avoid during periods of intense training.

 

3. Carbohydrate is the most critical fuel source for your training. Carbohydrate is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. During training, particularly as those miles clock up, glycogen stores can become greatly depleted. Therefore it is essential to eat plenty of carbohydrate foods to keep these levels topped up. Remember that fuel stores are limited; therefore, regular replenishment is essential.

Carbohydrate sources: cereal, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, fruit juice, milk, and yogurt.

 

4. Each meal and snack should be based around carbohydrates. carbohydrates that are high in fibre provide long lasting energy. Consume potatoes, whole grains breads, pastas, rice and high-fibre cereals.

 

5. Protein and fat are also important energy sources during training. It is important to choose appropriate sources for long lasting energy and recovery.

Protein sources: lean meat, fish, poultry, cheese, nuts, eggs

Fat sources (best choices): nuts, seeds, olive oil.

 

6. Choose lean sources of protein. Protein is important for growth and repair. Choose lean sources such as chicken and lean pork and fish. It is essential to have regular protein intake throughout the day.

20 - 25g is maximum amount of protein that the body can utilise at any one time. The following is a list of foods that provide 20 - 25g of protein:

 food chart

7. Eat low saturated fat foods. Foods that are lower in saturated fat and calories are both a heart healthy choice and beneficial in maintaining weight. To cut down on saturated fats limit fried foods in the diet. Unsaturated fat eg. Omega 3 fats are good choices when kept in moderation.

FOOD PORTION peanut butter 6 Tbspns cheese 3oz egg 4 large peanuts 40g meat/fish/poultry 3 - 4oz (cooked) kidney beans 12oz tofu 8oz

 

8. Aim to have a carbohydrate and protein source at each meal and snack. This combination will provide the best energy source.

 

9. Avoid foods that have a high sugar content. Fizzy drinks should be avoided and foods such as cakes, biscuits and sweets should be kept for special occasions only. These foods are not only high in sugar, but often have a lot of calories with no nutritional value. Foods high in sugar do not provide long lasting energy.

 

10.Eat at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Yes, 7! Fruits&vegetables provide a valuable source of vitamins and minerals essential for the body to perform at its best. In addition to this fruits and vegetables can boost the immune system and help fight of colds.

 

11. Include good sources of Iron and Calcium. Teenagers need more of these nutrients than other ages, however, these minerals are essential for all ages. Good sources of iron can be found in red meat, eggs and salmon. While good calcium sources can be found in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt.

 

12.Recovery after training is essential to allow the body re-fuel and repair. You should aim to eat a meal or snack within 30 minutes of finishing your training.

 

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