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Sports Nutrition and Metabolism

Module titleSports Nutrition and Metabolism
Module codeESS2509
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Joanna Bowtell (Convenor)

Dr Benjamin Wall (Lecturer)

Dr Sarah Jackman (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Nutrition is currently a very popular subject in relation to the enhancement of exercise and sports performance, in part because of the power of the advertising surrounding these products. However, for many of these nutritional products there is little if any empirical evidence to support their performance enhancing effects. You will learn to critically evaluate dietary advice and nutritional products related to optimising sports performance and training, including topics such as carbohydrate manipulation, protein supplementation, nutritional supplements such as caffeine, β-alanine, antioxidants and polyphenols. You will be able to assess nutritional intake and then suggest practically how diets can be manipulated. On this module you will conduct investigations to test the claims associated with a number of nutritional ergogenic aids such as carnitine, and blueberries.

Module aims - intentions of the module

In recent years nutrition has become a very popular subject in relation to the enhancement of exercise and sports performance, not least because of the power of advertisers who market these products. However the practice of these nutritional products has seldom been tested sufficiently to confirm an enhancement in sports performance. This module will concentrate on the critical evaluation of dietary advice and products related to sports performance, using laboratory investigations to directly test product claims. Detailed consideration will be given to carbohydrate manipulation, protein supplementation and anti-oxidants as well as other nutritional ergogenic aids. This module also equips you to use a variety of methods to assess nutritional intake and then to suggest practically how diets can be manipulated. Interaction with athletes to ascertain nutritional practices will be sought so as to provide you with an understanding of the many dietary dilemmas faced by athletes.

You will develop a number of important graduate attributes through this module:

  • Team working and people skills – you will be required to form a team of four or five students with whom you will work throughout the module to complete two randomised controlled trials for the laboratory element of the module.
  • Ethical awareness/thinking and strategic thinking and problem solving – running your own research trial, and gaining vital hands on experience of using a range of key physiological testing equipment including: isokinetic dynamometer, jump mats, YSI glucose and lactate analyser, cortex for indirect calorimetry, cycle ergometer.
  • Data management skills – you will develop your experience of working with large data sets and applying your statistical analysis skills.
  • Enquiring mind and application of knowledge – you will complete a range of tasks in the seminar sessions that will require you to apply knowledge gained during the lectures.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe in detail nutrition applied to sport
  • 2. Appraise the nutritional habits of a sportsperson
  • 3. Evaluate the claimed effect of nutritional practice on sports performance

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Analyse and evaluate new data objectively
  • 5. Synthesise the research literature
  • 6. Work within a laboratory setting using standard nutritional techniques

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Plan and implement a course of scientific investigation
  • 8. Study autonomously with minimal direction

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction and overview
  • Integration of metabolism
  • Carbohydrate supplementation and optimising performance
  • Fat intake – ω-3, ω-6 fatty acids and fat loading
  • Protein requirements for endurance athletes
  • Protein requirements for strength athletes
  • Ergogenic aids: stimulants
  • Ergogenic aids: anti-oxidants
  • Ergogenic aids: alkalisers/buffers
  • Ergogenic aids: recovery
  • Ergogenic aids: training adaptation

In addition as part of the practical component of the module, students will conduct 2 randomised controlled trials testing the efficacy of different nutritional supplementation approaches.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Seminar and laboratory sessions
Guided Independent Study44Reading
Guided Independent Study62Preparation for assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Abbreviated laboratory report2 PowerPoint slides1, 3-5Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Laboratory report based on one of the two experimental investigations conducted during the laboratory sessions. The aim of this scientific report is to present a detailed analysis and discussion of the effects of the selected ergogenic aid.60Maximum of 1750 words1-6, 8Written
Examination – multiple choice and short answer questions401 hour1-5, 7Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Laboratory reportLaboratory report1-6, 8August/September assessment period
Examination – multiple choice and short answer questionsExamination – multiple choice and short answer questions1-5, 7August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The essential texts are on temporary reserve in the library. Given the advanced nature of the module, you are encouraged to use recent journal publications for follow-up reading, some of which will be available on ELE, rather than relying solely on standard texts. Below is a list of texts held on temporary reserve within the library:

  • Jeukendrup, A.E., Gleeson, M (2018) Sports Nutrition 3rd edition. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, USA
  • Burke, L.M., Deakin, V. (2015). Clinical Sports Nutrition, 5th edition. McGraw-Hill, London.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Nutrition, hypertrophy, ergogenic aid, caffeine, antioxidant, polyphenols, carbohydrate, whey protein, branched chain amino acids, fatigue

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

ESS1606 Nutrition and Metabolism

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date