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Jamaican performance nutrition specialist making giant strides
Paul-Andre Walker, Staff Reporter
ALONG WITH Jamaica's drive to make great strides in sports has been its growing understanding of the importance of scientific research in getting the best out of its sportsmen and women.
Fitness instructor Damion Christian has been heading in the direction of improving the nutrition of athletes in an attempt to affect performance.
He successfully completed the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) specialist in performance nutrition independent study examination.
While Jamaica is still in the embryonic stages of paying attention to the nutrition of its athletes, ISSA is not.
Founded in the United States in 1988, they have become leaders in the field of fitness education and have specifically been noted for offering specialty fitness programmes for personal training candidates like Christian.
The curriculum, created by scientists, sports medicine specialists and world champion athletes, includes anatomy, kinesiology, injury prevention, supplementation, nutrition and all aspects of weight training.
According to Christian, ISSA's programmes have opened his eyes and made him a more effective personal trainer at Gymkhana, a subsidiary of the Guardsman Group of Companies where he works.
"People don't understand just how much nutrition affects performance. My knowing that is better for my clients and that is what this is all about," said Christian.
The organisation commended Christian for his tremendous effort and perfect scores in the examination.
Christian was also lauded for the care and detail he put into the study, particularly the sample meal plans he created as part of the workbook requirements for clients' weight control programmes.
"(This is) indicative of the great service you will undoubtedly provide for your future clientele," said Patrick Gamboa, ISSA's director of educational and technical support in his congratulatory letter to Christian.
OTHER AREAS OF CERTIFICATION
According to the director, based on Christian's performance, ISSA "felt fortunate to have a trainer of (Christian's) calibre representing (the organisation) as a specialist in performance nutrition in Jamaica."
Christian's latest certification carries his total to four and represents the growing trend towards more knowledgeable trainers in the country, which he thinks will lead to better athletes.
The eight-year veteran is presently certified as a spin instructor by the Aerobics and fitness Association of America and has also been certified as a group fitness instructor by the organisation.
To add to that, Christian is also certified in personal training by ISSA.
"Being intelligent and knowledgeable about what you do is always important and in this case it means you can get the best out of people, whether they are professional athletes or otherwise," said Christian, who from time to time works with professional sportsmen and women from around the world."When cricket teams come from abroad, they come here (Gymkhana) sometimes because we are a state-of-the-art company."