Evan Regan – BSc (Hons) in Health Science and Physical Activity

Name: Evan Regan

School: St. Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co. Mayo

Current Role: Company Owner & Head of Performance Nutrition at Mayo GAA & Mayo LGFA & Performance Dietitian Intern at UFC

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choose your course:

I always had a huge interest in sports growing up and I was fortunate enough to represent Mayo GAA at all grades including the senior inter-county level from 2012 to 2019. I chose to study BSc (Hons) in Health Science and Physical Activity due to the variety of modules which the course contained and at the time I was unsure of my exact career aspirations. As my interest in the sport continued to grow, alongside my playing career with Mayo GAA, I became even more focused on my health and the impact nutrition had on both sporting performance and general health. My course decision left me with a variety of options upon graduation and enabled me to pursue a career in the field of Performance Nutrition and Dietetics.

What specifically about the course did you particularly enjoy?

The BSc (Hons) in Health Science and Physical Activity course contained quite a lot of practical work which I enjoyed and allowed me as a student to put the theory I obtained throughout lectures into practice. I feel this translation of science into practice was a key aspect of the course and enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of a variety of topics. The time spent conducting hands-on body composition assessments, dietary assessments, fitness testing and metabolic testing was particularly enjoyable and memorable. In my current role, and throughout my career to date, communication and facilitation skills have been of particular importance and through class presentations and elements of public speaking included in the course, I quickly became comfortable in these scenarios.

What is the best thing about the course that you think new applicants should know?

The best thing about the course for me was the huge variety of topics covered. This allowed me to broaden my knowledge across multiple disciplines and helped me identify key areas of interest which guided me towards a career in Performance Nutrition and Dietetics. The BSc (Hons) in Health Science and Physical Activity course opened several doors and left me with a variety of career options to explore. The science focus and particular aspects of chemistry and biochemistry included in the course allowed me to successfully gain entry onto an MSc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics several years after graduating.

Any favourite modules during your time studying?

I particularly enjoyed modules such as Human Anatomy and Physiology, Health Promotion, Health Communications, Human Anatomy and Kinesiology, Health Psychology, Facilitation, Exercise Physiology, Fitness Program Design and Delivery and Human Nutrition.

What key skills did you learn while studying at ATU Sligo that have influenced your career?

I feel the communication skills in partnership with a deep understanding of human anatomy and physiology learned throughout my time at ATU Sligo had the biggest influence on my career. The ability to take complex scientific information and transfer it into everyday life and simple language is a key part of my job. I also gained extensive knowledge of a variety of health and social-related topics which have broadened my perspective of society.

Can you share some detail of your career path or further studies to date?

After graduating from ATU Sligo in 2015, I progressed to the University of Ulster where I successfully obtained an MSc in Sports and Exercise Nutrition in 2016. I quickly began volunteering with local GAA clubs and sporting organizations as a Performance Nutritionist while working as a Microbiology Lab technician at Allergan Pharmaceuticals. In 2018, I decided to further my education and returned to the University of Ulster to complete an MSc in Strength and Conditioning as I was keen to enhance my knowledge about athletic performance. This was a key decision for me and one that allowed me to gain a complete perspective on elite sporting performance and how nutrition and S&C align. In early 2019, I launched my own Performance Nutrition business “Evan Regan Nutrition” and was fortunate enough to begin working as Head of Performance Nutrition with the Mayo Senior men’s and ladies’ football teams. This role with both Mayo GAA and Mayo LGFA is one I currently occupy and it is my 4th season with both teams. Over the past number of years I have worked with a variety of corporate businesses, schools and the FAI in partnership with the MSL ETB where I delivered a level 5 nutrition course to students enrolled in the FAI Youth Development programme. In 2020, I successfully obtained a place in a third master’s programme at the University of Limerick where I will graduate with an MSc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics this coming May. I will continue to achieve CORU registration which enables me to work in clinical and community dietetics while broadening my scope of practice. Most recently I have accepted a Summer Internship role as a Performance Dietitian working with professional UFC fighters in the UFC Performance Institute, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

What does your current role involve?

There is a huge amount of variety in my current role as a Performance Dietitian but some of the common aspects are around both individual and group nutrition education and counselling. Completing body composition testing through ISAK anthropometry and DEXA scanning are fundamental components while assessing and analyzing dietary intake through food diary analysis in combination with meal and snack photo analysis are regularly completed. Working as part of a multi-disciplinary backroom team while relationships with S&C and medical being of priority. Other roles include organizing training, match day and training camp nutritional requirements, menus and protocols with catering teams and hotels while building relationships with supplement suppliers is another aspect of the job.

What advice would you share with our current students considering a career in your field?

I would encourage current students to seek out opportunities, make contact with people who are working in the area and try to get some volunteering or shadowing experience. Local clubs, colleges, teams and organizations are a great place to start and they are usually very supportive. Don’t wait until you graduate to start gaining experience in the field, putting yourself out there is key to gaining opportunities.

What did you like best about studying at ATU Sligo?

I enjoyed the ease of access to everything from the library to the gym to the local shops and nightlife. I enjoyed the atmosphere on campus and the welcoming environment across all aspects of ATU Sligo and the local community. Being involved in the GAA club as a player was a real highlight for me and winning sportsperson of the year in 2014 was an achievement I hold in high regard to this day.

What advice would you give a first-year student starting in ATU Sligo?

Don’t hesitate to get involved with everything available at ATU Sligo. There are so many different clubs that are so welcoming and are a great place to meet new people and connect with those that have similar interests to you. Finding the right balance between academics and socializing is key to a successful experience at ATU Sligo. Finally, learning to cook and investing time in your meal planning and preparation is something I couldn’t recommend highly enough. Those are the skills you will carry with you for life and will help you lead a healthy lifestyle.

Learn more about AU971 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Health Science and Physical Activity

Learn more about AU861 Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Physiology