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Young Malaysian Athletes & Students at UiTM Benefit from Sports Nutrition Knowledge Shared by Herbalife Nutrition Expert

 Leading global nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition recently organised a knowledge-sharing session with the Faculty of Sports Science and Recreation at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), with the aim of supporting budding Malaysian athletes and aspiring sports scientists that include nutritionists and dietitians. 

The session was led by Dr. Dana Ryan, Director of Sports Performance, Nutrition, and Education at Herbalife Nutrition, who works with top international sports teams and athletes, developing nutrition and sports performance programmes as well as designing and managing sports clinical trials. This includes the likes of US soccer team LA Galaxy, top triathlete Heather Jackson, and world-famed footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who is also the brand ambassador for Herbalife Nutrition, crafted a co-branded sports nutrition drink, Herbalife24 CR7 Drive.

With nutrition being a critical component of an athlete’s overall health and wellbeing, the session themed ‘Soy Protein and Sports Performance’ was aimed at improving UiTM athletes’ understanding and knowledge of sports nutrition, particularly on how to adopt a proper diet and avoid sports nutrition mistakes. This saw more than 100 UiTM students and athletes, members from the National Sports Institute and Selangor Football Club, corporate nutritionists/dietitian and faculty members benefitting from the session. 

Speaking at the knowledge-sharing session, Dr. Dana Ryan said, “Sports and nutrition go hand-in-hand. This is why the saying, “you are what you eat”, resonates well with athletes. As such, the first step to adopting proper nutrition is understanding the fundamental nutrients going into one’s body.” 

Highlighting an example, Dr, Dana Ryan said, “Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and these can come from sources such as soy, dairy and beef, to name a few. There are essential amino acids not produced by our bodies, which can only be gained by eating the right foods. As such, it is critical for athletes to get proper nutritional advice on their diets, to avoid impacting their overall performance and health. Protein plays an important role in building muscle, losing weight and even healthy ageing.”  

Sharing further key insights, Dr. Dana Ryan added, “The source of protein consumed by athletes matters. When deciding on animal protein versus plant protein, it is important for athletes to ensure they get all the essential amino acids. Plant-based protein with the exception of soy protein does not provide adequate amino acids. Those adopting a plant-based diet are advised to consume a combination of foods that make a complete protein such as grains and legumes. Ultimately, understanding what athletes need to support their body to perform at their highest level is key to adopting proper nutrition.” 

Professor Dr. Mohad Anizu Mohd Nor, Dean, Faculty of Sports Science and Recreation at UiTM Shah Alam commented, “As one of the top public universities in Malaysia, we are committed to providing our students with a high-quality education that supports their holistic development. Through knowledge-sharing sessions like these, we hope our students and athletes are more aware and better equipped with proper nutrition knowledge which contributes to their performance and overall health and wellbeing. We are confident that this partnership with Herbalife Nutrition will continue to support our aspiration of developing Global Thinking Athletes.” 

One of the participants of the session was Ahmad Fakhrul Razi, aged 19, from the Faculty of Sports Science and Recreation at UiTM Shah Alam and a member of the UiTM Football Club Under-19. He shared, “As a budding football player, I believe it is important to learn more about nutrition and the type of foods I should consume to help improve my performance. For instance, I am currently working on boosting my stamina and through sessions like this, I learned that eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein can help me to meet my performance requirements. By taking care of my body through good nutrition as per the advice shared by Dr. Dana Ryan, I am positive and confident that I can achieve my goal and become a successful football player.” 

This initiative builds on Herbalife Nutrition’s partnership with UiTM which kicked off in March 2022. Since then, Herbalife Nutrition has conducted a series of educational programmes on nutrition through workshops and conferences, bringing together diverse perspectives from Herbalife Nutrition experts from across the world. To date, close to more than 5,000 people have benefitted from the initiatives organised via the partnership.