Having worked for over a decade with the England Rugby team as well as UK Athletics, Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Man City, Tottenham and The England Women’s Football team, Matt Lovell is widely regarded as one of the top nutritionists in the world. We met Matt to learn more about how he’d achieved such a remarkable career and where he saw the market heading over the next two years.
There are no shortage of sports nutritionists. How have you consistently kept ahead of the rest of the market?
“The difference between my approach and that of most nutritionists is that I started out in health and then moved into sports, not the other way around. This is crucial for two reasons.
For a start, it has enabled me to treat clients in a more holistic and scientifically detailed manner. I don’t focus on symptoms but on the underlying causes. This consistently leads to better results.
It’s also important for another reason, and that’s perception. Perception is a powerful factor in sports nutrition; if a client doesn’t believe you can make a difference then no matter how good your treatment is the results will always fall short. I have found that my more technical approach instils confidence in my clients and leads to a far greater level of commitment from their side.”
What business advice would you give to someone just starting out in sports nutrition?
“I would say get comfortable with public speaking.
In the world of sports nutrition you need to be seen as an authority and that means communicating your expertise at every opportunity. I found speaking in public incredibly difficult when I first started, but I forced myself to continue until I became comfortable with it. Throughout my career speaking at events has been a huge factor in both gaining new clients and also developing my profile within the industry.”
What’s the next big trend that nutritionists need to be thinking about?
“The market is absolutely booming right now and the reason is simple; technology. Between all the gizmos and apps there is so much value that can be delivered to clients remotely. This is completely transforming the way the client relationship works.
In the past the relationship was very hands-on. You’d meet them in person regularly to see how they were progressing and make adjustments to their regime. Now, however, it’s all about front loading the client with information – whether in video, image or text form – and leaving them to go away and make it happen. There is so much information available online that your primary job is to act as a filter to ensure they are consuming the right content in the right sequence.
Linked closely to this is the use of gizmos. I use various tools in my treatment now and clients love them as they’re quick and non-invasive but still make the process feel far more detailed and scientific. In America they call it bio-hacking; people can look inside themselves and learn all about their hormones and genetic tendencies; information that when combined with the right nutritional plan offers a more advanced health and dietary solution than ever previously possible. Furthermore the data can then feed directly into mobile apps such as My Fitness Pal, so the clients can take the information away with them and run with it.
Those nutritionists who capitalise on these changes in technology will be the ones that really prosper over the next five years.”