The 1% Podcast

Daniel Davey

Daniel Davey-42


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    Daniel Davey

    Nutrition, performance and the key ingredients for success The 1% Podcast


My guest today is Daniel Davey.

Daniel Davey practices what he preaches, and in his line of work it’s the key ingredient for success in managing the diets of two of the country’s leading sports teams: Leinster Rugby and the Dublin senior footballers. He is a senior performance nutritionist and the one ultimately responsible for fueling the performance of some of Ireland’s leading athletes.

Daniel knows what it takes to play at the highest level having represented Sligo at Senior inter-county level, as well as winning an All-Ireland title with Ballyboden St.Enda’s in 2016.

As a practitioner and an athlete, he appreciates the intricacies of sports nutrition, an ever-evolving science, from both sides of the fence. His company and nutrition platform is called FoodFlicker which is currently being re branded to the new name of DaveyNutrition.

Davey also recently launched a recipe book called Eat Up; Raise Your Game available now in all good book stores.

Regards Shay


Show Summary


2:45 Daniel’s background and journey

  • His time spent with his grandparents in Sligo
  • Being exposed to high quality food from vegetable gardens and milk cows
  • Starting to cook at a young age
  • Discovering the connection between body, mind and nutrition
  • Daniel’s initial interest in medicine or veterinary medicine

5:00 Studies and first steps in the nutrition field

  • His undergraduate studies in Agricultural Sciences followed by a Masters in Nutrition
  • His focus on exercise and health
  • Developing an interest in strength and conditioning
  • The impact of his time in the supplement industry

7:35 Understanding food

  • How growing up in a farming environment affected his perception of food
  • The effects of an animal’s nutrition on the resulting food’s nutritional profile
  • The benefits of UK’s good farming practices
  • Understanding why food is expensive to produce and the problems that arise when we expect cheap food

11:24 Working with athletes

  • The satisfaction of seeing athletes make the connection between diet and performance
  • The danger of obsession with high achievers: “It’s not always going to be perfect”
  • The importance of mindset

16:00 The nutritionist’s role in a sports team

  • The difference between evening consultations and being a full-time member of a team
  • The key: Understanding that nutrition allows you to take advantage of training
  • The importance of communication and monitoring: “You’re part of a constant feedback loop”

20:00 Amateur players

  • The advantage of UK and Ireland being at the top of the world for nutritional information
  • Why Daniel believes that amateur players can perform as well as professional athletes if they prioritize nutrition
  • The hardest parts of a nutrition routine: meal preparation and the complexities of nutrition science

23:50 A holistic approach

  • Applying the same diet format to each athlete
  • Measuring out food according to a hierarchy of needs based on goals and body composition
  • The importance of getting 7-10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day
  • Daniel’s practical, precise approach
  • Using monitoring and testing
  • The impact of genetics

29:35 Training

  • Nutritional needs on training days vs competition days
  • When to restrict carbohydrate intake
  • The critical 36-hour window before a game
  • The benefits of eating less on game day
  • Examples of a pre-game day menu

35:40 Individual variations

  • The differences in each person’s gut flora
  • Each body’s different responses to food and what “listening to your body” really means
  • Examples of different menu variations to achieve the same nutritional targets
  • The importance of variety for gut health

41:00 Calorie intake

  • Average calorie requirements for women and men
  • The rule of thumb used to calculate calorie requirements by weight and exercise level
  • How to calculate the necessary calorie deficit for weight loss

48:50 The nutritionist and the rest of the team

  • If players understand the connection between diet and performance, they will act accordingly
  • The nutritionist’s role: communicating this link effectively
  • When those at the top exert pressure as well

52:30 Educating athletes

  • How to make information and good nutrition easier to access
  • Understanding how habits are formed
  • Recent innovations: Facebook groups, chat apps, etc.
  • The most important piece: Daniel’s relationship to the athlete

55:25 Nutrition ambassadors

Examples of players who push boundaries and show discipline:

  • Jamie Heaslip
  • Johnny Sexton
  • Sean O’Brien
  • Stephen Cluxton
  • Paul Mannion

1:00:30 On the road

  • Developing menus in advance

1:01:25 Athletes’ diet when healing from an injury

  • The evolution of this field
  • Underestimating energy needs during healing
  • How to limit the loss of lean mass
  • Collagen as a protein source for joint and bone injuries

1:04:40 Inflammation

  • Examples of nutrient-dense, anti-oxidant foods

1:06:16 Advice to young aspiring athletes

  • “Learn to cook”
  • How learning to cook changed Sean O’Brien’s outlook and performance
  • Placing food before nutritional information

1:08:15 Athletes transitioning to retirement

  • The importance of discipline and routine
  • Hormonal shifts and changes in protein intake requirements after 35
  • Feeling the loss of conversation and accountability
  • Suggested video: Muscle Matters Ted-X talk by Brendan Egan

1:11:50 Supplements

  • When they are required and when they aren’t
  • The importance of Vitamin D + Omega3

1:13:00 Daniel’s personal nutritional routine and experience with supplements

  • The basics: consistency and awareness of his own energy requirements
  • Testing supplements on himself
  • The CBD oil hype

1:17:28 Tailoring nutrition

  • The lack of evidence linking DNA information with nutrition
  • “Mindful eating” and understanding your own reactions to food

1:19:12 Concerns about supplements

  • The pressure on young people to look a certain way

1:20:20 Food and mental performance

  • “Wellness equals better performance”: Why diet is important in a corporate environment as well
  • How to make changes in what food is provided in the workplace

1:24:05 Advice for newcomers

  • “Start with one thing”: Developing one new habit to build on
  • Cooking as a lost skill

1:29:33 Technology

  • The usefulness (and lack of accuracy) of MyFitnessPal
  • The most effective tool: keeping a performance journal

1:30:50 Advice for local teams

  • Dealing with a lack of resources and nutritionists at local clubs
  • What Daniel learned from being a water boy
  • Sharing the task and expense of bringing snacks
  • Finding a leader/ambassador in the space

1:34:55 Other resources