Dr Kirsty Fairbairn is the Senior Consultant and Director of Invigorate Nutrition. Dr Fairbairn is the most qualified & one of the most experienced Sports Dietitians in private practice in New Zealand. She is the first New Zealander to achieve Advanced Sports Dietitian accreditation with Sports Dietitians Australia, the world leading Sports Dietitians’ professional body. She has special expertise in balancing nutrition with exercise to maximise health and performance. She holds a PhD (Doctorate) degree investigating muscle fat metabolism, a Master of Science degree (awarded with Distinction), a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics degree (awarded with Distinction) and a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Human Nutrition.
During her PhD studies in Sydney, Kirsty was on the Executive Board, and subsequently the President, of Sports Dietitians Australia – one of the most progressive Sports Nutrition professional bodies in the world. While she has extensive experience with elite and high performance athletes, her clear understanding of the role that both nutrition and exercise play in health means that she can translate that advice to junior and masters’ athletes and recreational exercisers; as well as anyone wanting to lose weight or enjoy better health.
Kirsty grew up in Southland and Otago, and is typical of the many innovative, talented and successful New Zealanders who have gained extensive world-class experience overseas, and chosen to return home to raise their families.
For more information about Kirsty’s experience and expertise, explore the tabs below:
As a result, she thinks ‘inside-out’ – she intimately understands the physiology required to maximise health and deliver great athletic performances (through training as well as in competition) and to manage body fat/muscle mass, and then provides advice regarding the eating habits that can support the changes that a client is trying to achieve.
Previously, as a Lecturer in Sports Nutrition in the Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago, Kirsty also trained and mentored many young Sports Dietitians through research projects and their sports nutrition practice.
Her research interests include:
Kirsty completed her PhD at the University of Sydney’s School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, investigating how well skeletal muscle burns fat stores during exercise in cyclists, students and the offspring of people with Type 2 Diabetes. This was a fascinating area for her and gave her a comprehensive understanding of the skeletal muscle biochemistry pathways and physiological systems involved in burning fuel (including how carbohydrate and fat interact within the muscle cell). It also makes her very handy at interpreting claims made by supplement companies about improving metabolism, as she can understand and interpret all their jargon about metabolic pathways!
With the amount of work that Kirsty has done with football teams, this is a no-brainer for her! Over the years she has read research extensively and experimented with athletes to feed them in ways that help them gain muscle mass effectively and safely.
In her role as a Lecturer in Sports Nutrition with the Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Kirsty conducted a randomised controlled trial that tested the impact of vitamin D supplementation on performance measures in the Otago and Southland ITM Cup rugby squads. This was a very interesting study, in that the players generally had great vitamin D status, which was a bit of a surprise!
Kirsty’s Master of Science degree at the University of Otago tested the Glycaemic Index of New Zealand foods for the first time. She tested kumara, taro, yams, green banana, sweetcorn, and some Burgen breads. We were pleased to find that yams, sweetcorn and green banana all had glycaemic index values of under 40! This means that when you eat a portion of those foods that would contain 50g of carbohydrates or less, your blood glucose levels will stay nice and stable compared to other carbohydrate foods.
Kirsty has maintained an interest in how nutrition and exercise combine to prevent, or alleviate the symptoms of metabolic diseases like Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. She is very interested in helping people eat in ways that helps them lose body fat if they need to, lower cholesterol if they need to, and help better manage blood glucose, and feel great! She invests a lot of time with clients considering what they would enjoy eating, and what can fit into their lifestyle, so that they can find long-term solutions to manage their health. There is nothing more frustrating than losing lots of weight really quickly just to have it all come back on again!