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Delivering nutritional consultancy to International footballers and Olympic medallists is not something everyone has the luxury of adding to their résumé.

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Dr. Mayur Ranchordas, 35, from Sheffield has worked with the likes of 10m diver Tom Daley, as well as England internationals Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill, during his nearly decade long career in the field.

How important is nutrition in sport?

 “My opinion has actually changed over the years, I think it depends. That’s one of the things I’ve learned. They all say at university that “yeah it’s important”, but from my experience of working in the field I actually think it depends on the sport.”

If you take an immensely testing sport like competing in the Tour de France, nutrition is extremely important. The mass endurance involved requires meticulous nutrition planning and high energy consumption. If you do not eat enough or properly, then you’re not going to finish the race and you aren’t going to recover for the next day.

However, in other sports nutrition is not as important and Mayur suggests that you can actually get away with a poor diet and the nutrition is not as important. “Shot put or javelin, it’s not as important because it’s more about raw power and genetics.”

Sport nutrition really comes down to the sport; look at the demand of the sport and what’s the most important demand.


“I think that supplements are overused, I think supplements are overpriced, I think it’s a massive money making business and that 90% of supplements don’t work.”

Supplement brands make millions every year, well-marketed with their “promised results”. There is an abundance of supplements out their promising different things, muscle gain, strength gain, recovery and increased performances in training.

Zef Eisenberg, the founder of one of the leading supplement brands, Maximuscle, sold the company for £162m, in 2010 – the largest-ever investment in the sports nutrition sector, proving that it’s a lucrative market.

However, over the years Mayur’s opinion has changed concerning supplements, suggesting most supplements are in fact a waste of money.  He considers that the only supplements that potentially may be effective are vitamin D, creatine, caffeine and possibly whey protein.

“Scientifically there is very poor evidence, so the first thing I suggest is that you get your training right and get your nutrition right.”

Dietary Guidelines

 “You’ve got to devise your nutrition strategy based around an individual athlete”

A footballer will arrive at the training ground at around 8.30am and start training at 10am. As they rarely train twice a day you have to devise a nutrition strategy based around that. Whereas, a distance is very different because they do train twice a day, therefore the guidelines will depend entirely on the training program and the lifestyle of the athlete. My philosophy is always you need a bespoke approach”


As some athletes will train up to 6 hours a day, those will be looking to consume approximately 4000-5000 calories per day.  Conversely, some athletes will only train one hour a day so it might be more like 2000-2500 calories. The calorific intake depends on the goals of the athlete, considering whether the athlete is looking to increase muscle mass or are trying to lose fat, or just maintain weight.  The advice will differ depending on the varied goals.

Making the calorie target isn’t everything though you have to look at what you’re eating; Mayur says “quality is always important, so I would advise sticking to whole food and natural quality rather than the cheaper refined products.”

Gaining Muscle  

“You have to have the stimulus, which is you have to be going to the gym three or four times a week at least. Then from a nutrition perspective, make sure you get enough protein.”

Ensuring you get enough protein is simple maths. Take your body weight in KG and multiply by 1.7 and that’s the amount you need to consume in grams.

I.e. Take a person weighing 75kg.

75 x 1.7= 127.5

So therefore the person will need to consume 127-128 gram of protein per day.

To reach this target, the athlete will have to make sure they distribute the protein throughout the day in 20-25 gram servings, every two-three hours, or so.

“Just eat enough, so you eat about 500 calories more than what you need, if you’re looking to gain weight.”

Losing Fat

If you’re looking to lose weight then you need to do the opposite. You need to make sure your energy expenditure is higher than your energy intake and that you burn around 500 calories less than what you need.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a more effective method for fat loss than slow steady training for fat loss because you’re burning more calories and your metabolism stays higher afterwards – therefore your body is still burning fat several hours after exercise.

“The key thing for weight loss is that I suggest you cut down the carbohydrate intake and increase your protein intake and keep your fat moderate, just make sure you’re on a negative energy balance.”

Mayur Facts

  • Sport and Exercise Science undergraduate and Master’s degree at Sheffield Hallam
  • PhD in Sport Nutrition
  • Sheffield Wednesday FC internship and has worked with Sheffield United FC
  • Worked at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield
  • Premier League football  experience with Bolton Wanderers
  • Supported athletes at Beijing Olympics 2008
  • Professional doctorate part-time in Sports Nutrition alongside teaching at Sheffield Hallam – where he still works
  • Consults in professional cycling and football
  • Keen triathlete
  • Favourite food: Milk
  • Favourite supplement: Caffeine 


Twitter: @Diet4Sport
Mayur also blogs for  FourFourTwo



Sheffield Hallam student Ed Holt, 20, from Northampton, started strength and conditioning training at college, however since starting university he has trained for mass and is now a power lifter.


With his second powerlifting competition coming up at Iron Athlete Gym on April 25, Ed’s approach towards weight training has changed greatly from his previous two years of bodybuilding.

As most young adults begin weight training to get bigger, mainly to look better – Ed trains with a goal in mind, to become as strong as he possibly can.

“I moved towards powerlifting because there was a more achievable goal. The goals in powerlifting are more intrinsic. It is showing in a sense saying you can do this much. I think also because less people do it. Most people say the go to the gym and they get a big pump, but not many go do powerlifting and say I did X, Y and Z amount.”

Powerlifting competition

Entering his first ever powerlifting competition in November, Ed finished with a 175kg squat, 115kf bench press and a 210kg deadlift, while weighing in at 86kg.

Unfortunately, his training for this competition hasn’t gone as well as he’d like due to an injury setback in his back.


“I’ve only been properly training back since January. I’ve not been able to train deadlift as I’d like, my bench has been alright, my squat has been iffy. I’d love to get a 125 bench, 210 squat and a 190 deadlift at the comp. The back injury means I can’t deadlift as much as I did in the last competition.”

The powerlifting community appears to a close-knit environment where everyone supports each other and they want their rivals to do well, break plateaus and succeed.

“The atmosphere was really positive at the comp, everyone helped everyone out, it was brilliant. People were lending each other wraps. For such a small space, there were about 50 people there, so it was packed.”


 Ed’s weight training story began at 16, where he began strength and conditioning training as part of his hockey course, to improve performance. Moving to university, he advanced onto bodybuilding; “It was the environment I was in. I wasn’t in strength and conditioning for the sake of doing strength and conditioning.

 Not playing an important factor in his life due to the excitement of university and going out drinking, he became much more motivated to train in his second year. Starting off three of four times a week, it slowly progressed until it got to Easter and there was no lessons – he was going to the gym six days a week and four of those days, even going twice a day.

“I went so often because I knew you had to go that many times, I knew it’s what you had to do to get bigger. I realise now it was stupid to go so often and I was over-training, I didn’t know as much as I do now about steroids. Those who were on (steroids) were able to go that many times a week and they were eating much more than what I was, they were to cope with that mass of training.”

What is the difference between training as a bodybuilder and as a power lifter?

“It’s a massive thing, because powerlifting is so objective and competitive bodybuilding is so subjective. Bodybuilding is a very loose term, whereas powerlifting is very specific. People call themselves a bodybuilder, because they want to get bigger to look good. The training intensity is a big thing; you can be really intense in bodybuilding. In, powerlifting you can’t make any mistakes. If you make a mistake in bodybuilding you just lose a rep, if you make a mistake in powerlifting you can hurt yourself badly.”

 What are your future goals?

“I don’t know about my goals, I’ve got camp America coming up and my gym focus is going to change after the comp. Because of work basically, because of the nature of my new work. There isn’t a powerlifting gym, and I’ll be too tired from trapeze. You don’t need one rep max for trapeze, you need flexibility and stamina, so I’m going to train for those instead.”

“It depends where I am, I don’t think there is a powerlifting gym in Northampton, I’ll want to get back into it. It’ll be frustrating going down to whatever after a year out, when I know I’ve been able to do the amount I am now.”

Vital Stats:

  • Name: Ed Holt
  • Location: Sheffield
  • Hometown: Northampton
  • Age: 20
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 90kg
  • Years Weight Training: 4
  • Bench Press: 120kg
  • Deadlift: 210kg
  • Squat: 200kg