My dad always said to me - "sport & exercise make the world go around" and that was the mindset I adopted from an early age - heck, I was kitted out in a full Newcastle United strip before I could even walk - and I still get excited about watching anything from Wimbledon and the Masters to the World Cup or the Olympic Games.
In my teens I developed a keen interest in human physiology and how we can optimise human performance, particularly in sport and exercise. And later went on to study Sport & Exercise Science (B.Sc. Hons) at Northumbria University between 2014 – 2017, graduating with first-class honours degree. Following my undergraduate degree, I completed a masters degree (M.Sc.) in Strength and Conditioning, graduating with a distinction and an award for the highest academic achievement in the faculty. During my time at Northumbria I also gained experience working with many sports teams as an S&C coach, predominantly working in golf. Currently, I'm completing a PhD at Northumbria University investigating the effect of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptive use on performance, recovery, and adaptation in sportswomen.
Like a lot of people, what drove me to this area was a personal want to know more. For instance, growing up playing sport (a keen golfer) I had a lot of questions regarding the effects of the menstrual cycle, and then hormonal contraceptive use, on my performance and training, but there weren't really many answers available to me, or it certainly wasn’t something that was openly discussed. When I started looking at the research and learning more – this personal want to know more about my own body changed to this huge need for all women – and men – to know more, and it opened my eyes to the lack of awareness, education and support there is at the moment for women's health and performance in sport and exercise.
Specifically, at the moment in sport and exercise, there is a lack of high-quality female-specific research which subsequently means there are no evidence-based guidelines for managing the likes of performance, training, nutrition for sportswomen - and so we usually train in a similar way to the men. Although this sport and exercise research and practice does benefit women - it would be naïve to assume that this will always be the optimal approach. Therefore, I wanted to be part of this movement to bridge this research gap, but then also share the evidence-based information I have learnt along the way to help all sportswomen and coaches, practitioners, and researchers working with them.
So, all of this led me to my mission to change the narrative for women's health and performance in sport and exercise by providing awareness, education and support.