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:
Kirsty was responsible for managing the delivery of sports nutrition support to Singapore’s elite Olympic athletes, including Olympic Gold Medallist in the 100m Butterfly at Rio 2016, Joseph Schooling. Alongside nutrition support for individual athletes, Kirsty oversaw strategies for the Sports Nutrition team to deliver services that optimised Team Singapore performances at the 28th South East Asian Games and 8th ASEAN Games, both hosted by Singapore during 2015. At both events, Team Singapore achieved record medal hauls, with both National and World records toppling. The Sports Nutrition team contributed by ensuring that Team Singapore athletes had world class nutrition recovery habits, so that they could back up their performances session after session, day after day. This was extremely successful.
Kirsty was also involved in the Sports Nutritions team relocation into the S$1.3billion Sports Hub, which included establishing a cooking workshop programme in a brand new teaching kitchen. This was hugely popular with athletes and commercial groups.
Kirsty was the Consultant Sports Dietitian to the Highlanders for seven years, until she relocated to Singapore with her family. This role required close collaboration with the Strength and Conditioning Coach, High Performance Manager and Coaching staff to understand their needs of the players, and with the players themselves to understand how to help them maximise their performances.
Clients included All Blacks Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Colin Slade, Adam Thomson, Elliot Dixon, Liam Coltman and Jarrad Hoeata; as well as many other talented and dedicated players breaking into international rugby, such as John Hardie and Hugh Blake. Kirsty was responsible for ensuring that the best nutrition programmes were in place to enable the players to commit 100% to training and game performances. Helping the players manage their diets and body composition during injury breaks was also a major aspect of her work at the Highlanders.
Kirsty planned menus with accommodation providers for away games, and with Forsyth Barr Stadium for home games. Kirsty really enjoyed bringing innovative new nutrition strategies to the players that helped them prepare, train, recover and perform again!
Kirsty was the Consultant Sports Dietitian to these squads alongside her Highlanders work. The nature of nutrition support differs with younger players, as the young athletes are generally focussed on developing their training diet to support the demands of growth, training and work/study. Her role was to ensure that the younger players were eating enough of the right nutrients to sustain a semi-professional training and competition load, and to help them maximise gains in muscle mass (which provides a huge advantage in a contact sport like rugby). Kirsty is very experienced at helping athletes build the ideal body composition for their health and for their sport over the long term, as they progress towards professional sport (or towards retirement at the other end of their career!). She firmly believes in using nutrition to help an athlete maximise their ‘return on investment’ from the effort they put into their training programme.
Kirsty was first Consultant Sports Dietitian to be employed by the Manly Sea Eagles NRL squad, and held this role until she returned to Dunedin. Clients at the Sea Eagles include Steve Menzies, Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, Steve Matai, Anthony Watmough, Ben Kennedy, Sam Harris and Brent Kite. Her role was to ensure that the players had the energy to train through the intensive pre-season period, and that they had optimal body composition heading into the NRL season (and stayed that way!). Post-training and post-game recovery were also focus areas for Kirsty with this squad, at the direction of their coach at the time, Des Hasler.
The NSW Institute of Sport (based at Olympic Park, Homebush) referred their elite athletes to Kirsty’s private practice at Sydney Sports Medicine Centre, also based at Olympic Park. Kirsty enjoyed great relationships with up and coming junior athletes (and their parents), guiding them through their adolescence with good advice and a second opinion on food, appropriate body composition plus body image. She also counted Olympic level rowers, kayakers and swimmers; plus elite jockeys, gymnasts and dancers among her clientele, providing guidance on their training and competition diets to ensure they were in great shape to perform and were feeling super confident!
Consults and seminars to sports affiliated with the Sydney University Sports including Rowing, Rugby Union, Swimming, Cricket and Water Polo. Kirsty was heavily involved in establishing a new nutrition programme their elite rowing programme, including Olympians and their elite light-weight rowing programme, who often medalled for Australia at the World Junior Championships. Prior to the Athens Olympics, I also worked effectively with a vegetarian sprint swimmer, Michelle Engelsman, who successfully managed her strength, muscle mass, body fat levels and training load to be selected for the Australian Olympic team for Athens 2004. She enjoyed an accelerated development in her racing, finishing 5th in the final of the 50m Freestyle at the Athens Olympics.
Kirsty’s work with the Kings focussed on pre-game nutrition strategies plus post-game and post-training nutrition recovery, so that players could consistently provide their best performances through a long ANBL season. Clients at the Kings included CJ Bruton, Shane Heal and Matthew Nielsen.