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Judo champ and University Sports Scientist put students through their paces

Sport Science students in the lower and upper sixth were visited by two separate fitness experts who ran sessions to boost their BTEC studies.

Former British champion Judo athlete Theo Spalding-Macintosh worked with the upper sixth students as part of his role as a Sky Sports Ambassador and Athlete Mentor. Theo, now retired from competition, has represented GBR in European and World championships and won two Commonwealth medals during his 10 years of competing.

He worked with the students on their sports nutrition unit and has been advising them while they have been completing a two-week diet plan for a sports performer. During his visit, Theo led a two-hour practical session on the Sky Sports six keys to success. These are: Mental Toughness, Hunger to Achieve, People Skills, Sports and Life Knowledge, Breaking Barriers and Planning for Success.


The session involved students competing as groups in a number of different challenges based around the different keys.

Theo said: “I really enjoyed working with the students and sharing some of my experiences. It is a good feeling to support young people in finding their passion.”

Later in the week, lower sixth students were put through their paces by Nikki Twine, Outreach Sports Scientist at the University of Essex. Nikki conducted fitness tests with the first year sports science students using state-of-the-art testing equipment worth £15,000.

Sport tutor Rob McGeoghegan, who organised the visit, said: “The session was on Exercise Physiology and Metabolism and was directly linked to the students’ course of study. It also gave them a taste of what is involved when studying sports science at University.”

The students took part in an incremental fitness endurance test, with one student wearing a portable gas analyser worth £15,000. Other students had the opportunity to wear a heart rate monitor and tracked their own heart rate during the test.

A presentation was then held back in the classroom where the data collected was downloaded and put into a graph for students to see how breathing rate changes and oxygen consumption changes as intensity increases. This was also linked to nutrition strategies and the varying ratio of fat and carbohydrate metabolised at various intensities.

Nikki then gave a talk about studying Sports and Exercise Science at University.