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Cushla Holdaway – Sports Dietitian

Canterbury born and bred, I have always loved being active. In my younger years if I wasn’t out riding my horses I would be running around the rural roads or taking my road bike for a spin. It wasn’t until my later teenage years when I started to get more competitive with long-distance running, road cycling, and duathlons, that I realised how essential nutrition was to my performance. I ran my first half marathon by the age of 16! That being said, I have over 10 years of sporting experience knowing what it’s like to be in your shoes, from mental wellbeing right through to the physical demands of training and competing. Of course, fitting this in around work, life, and family can sometimes seem like an impossible task, but this is where I can help in an honest, empathetic, and realistic way. Training and nutrition are only one aspect of the puzzle, but optimising nutrition is one of the most fundamental aspects to overall health and sports performance.

I am incredibly passionate about people, nutrition, food, and fitness, so continuing this with study at University was a ‘no-brainer.’  I ended up moving to Dunedin and studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Human Nutrition. After completing this I decided to do a postgraduate Master of Dietetics to become a Dietitian… the rest is history!

Living in Methven, I love to get out and explore the local area in my spare time. We are spoilt for choice with what is available at our backdoor including skiing, running trails, and mountain bike tracks! I also love cooking up a storm in the kitchen, photography, music, spending time with family, friends and our two fur babies, and pretty much any form of movement. I’m that friend who always has to integrate some form of exercise or adventure into a catch-up.

Having worked throughout the South Island in a range of hospitals and disciplines, I have been involved in many different areas of dietetics. However, sports nutrition alongside enhancing people’s overall health and relationship with food is an area I just can’t get enough of. I have worked with athletes from all walks of life, each with their unique goals, both big and small, ranging from local running events, to Ironman’s to the iconic Coast to Coast. I am currently doing further study and professional development to become an Accredited Sports Dietitian (with Sports Dietitians Australia) which I am really excited about!

Something unique from my service is my supportive and caring approach alongside my first-hand experience of being in your shoes. I put a strong focus on each individuals health and performance goals and understand there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to nutrition. Your body is not everybody, and your other commitments among the balancing act of work and life is different from anyone else.

Improving one’s lifestyle, nutritional health, or athletic performance requires behavioural change and commitment. This is often one of the biggest barriers. A unique aspect of the service I offer is my holistic ‘big picture’ approach, that is, looking at all the fundamentals of health that tie into nutrition – stress management, sleep, support networks and positive movement. As the expression goes, to eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.