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Meet Sayali Naik, a passionate advocate for healthy living and a distinguished Sports & Clinical Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Nutrition (M.Sc.). With her profound expertise in the field of nutrition, Sayali has become a guiding light for individuals seeking optimal health and fitness.
Sayali is not just a nutritionist; she is a visionary entrepreneur and the founder of Bullseye Nutrition, a platform committed to transforming lives through balanced and tailored nutrition. Through her innovative approach, she empowers people to achieve their wellness goals, whether in sports performance or clinical health.
With a wealth of knowledge in her arsenal and a heart dedicated to helping others, Sayali Naik is more than a nutritionist; she is a beacon of inspiration for anyone aspiring to lead a healthier, happier life.
Lets know more about her journey from the inspiration herself..
What inspired you to become a sports nutritionist, and what is your educational background in this field? Can you share some of your relevant professional experiences working with athletes or sports teams?
Ever since growing up, I wanted to be indulged in a health related field which prompted me to pursue this field as my career. With my deep-seated desire towards the sports domain, I did my Masters in Sports Nutrition from Mumbai University.
I always wanted to be a doctor and have always been very inclined towards human biology owing to which I gave a few entrance examinations but that didn’t work out.
That triggered me to work around a similar background which pertained to noble causes and ended up pursuing Sports Nutrition as a field. Eventually I marked my career trajectory in this sphere by associating with a lot of IPL players, tennis players, badminton players, and many more. Besides, I have also worked with a lot of the general public for weight loss, diabetes, thyroid, and more. I consult everyone through my firm, Bullseye Nutrition, formed in 2019 with online and offline sessions.
Your journey has been commendable so far especially the time period where you formulated a career in this field where a lot of people weren’t aware of. As per your knowledge can you suggest to us if there are any universities that offer a similar program?
In the early days during our times, the university I went to was the only facility that offered the program. However, I believe with the advancements of the health and sports sector in today’s date, a lot of colleges are offering a similar program in a more comprehensive manner.
It is a very upcoming field so there have been a lot of nutritionists now. Back then, it had been quite challenging for me to take this decision and pursue this as a career path. As the sports industry is evolving and the ecosystem is growing, I believe it is booming up and has a lot of potential for newer talents.
How do you keep up with your competition and what are the value drivers in the services you provide to your customers?
The whole part of consultation and process is largely scientific. Whether it is on food, supplements or 1:1 targeted sessions. It’s also to do with the psychology of the customer and their mindset.
There are some protocols we follow and provide individual personalized programs to everyone as per the result of these studies, which are based on their health concerns, medical conditions, long term goals, and so on. So it’s overall a very well-crafted process followed here.
There are a lot of athletes who hail from lower middle class families who are unable to afford high-end nutritional choices and supplements. What are your recommendations to those people on how they intend to move ahead in this space?
It all comes down to the long term goals a player has, their affordability and their determination towards the sports.
While consulting people I always consider their cultural background, spending capacity and other related factors. That forms the basis of any recommendations which are given to the athletes. It is not essential that all nutritional foods are high priced. Moreover, I also believe that diet can be done without supplements as well.
So there is no particular rule and everyone can stay fit. We come up with personalized plans for everyone and help them as per their needs.
For people who are planning on embarking on their journey of staying fit and Nutrition, what should be their first baby step? Is there also any pattern used for different types of athletes, their sport etc.?
It is very much individualized and depends on the requirements of the players.
For instance if an athlete visits us for enhancing their fitness capabilities like weight loss, muscle gain, fat loss, increase in speed, power or strength; these are all discussed at the initial stages along with their sport, traveling schedules and eating habits. Based on this, targets are set and provided to them. It depends a lot on the nature of the sports they play.
For example, a batter requires a lot of stamina to stay on the crease and play long hours, while a pacer needs to be good in sprinting so that he can run harder again and again, and hence they both require different kinds of diet.
Even corporates who don’t have much time to spend in gym or people who are fitness conscious are all provided a plan as per their body needs.
Is there any pattern or template to categorize these needs athletes from different sports?
Yes. So, it largely depends on sports, and also depends on the training and activities of the sportsperson. Players come with some fixed habits which they have been following for some time and changing those takes a good amount of time and effort.
We constantly motivate them and explain to them in the best possible manner, on why such changes are required. The overall thought process, data we gather, and experience over long years also plays a key role here, we believe.
How did Bullseye start and what was your long term vision towards it?
I started Bullseye with a vision to have my own venture and establish a name for myself in this sphere. When I started working I was already working with a lot of athletes from cricket, football, tennis, marathon runs, weightlifters and many more.
Eventually I decided to bring them all under one umbrella. It helps in unifying and instilling the importance of fitness and nutrition, motivating people to lead a more healthy lifestyle not just in sports but in our normal lives too.
Athletes who are associated with you across different sports.
Some of the prominent athletes I worked with are Chetan Sakaria (IPL team of Delhi Capitals), Vicky Oswal (played for U-19 world cup), Yash Thakur, Rajvardhan Hagargekar, who played for Chennai Super Kings in IPL, and many more players.
I even worked with some athletes like Hanuma Vihari in cricket, and even a few Indian tennis players like Sumit Nagal and Rujuta Bhosale. They all are quite professional and it is an incredible feeling to contribute to their achievements.
For IPL games, do you guys also generally huddle? As we know different teams train at different locations so how is the atmosphere like..
We have a sports science team where we have to be a part of a huddle for athlete discussions. Their individual health conditions, challenges and similar areas are discussed and we work together to help them perform to their best capabilities. It also helps us learn a lot in the process which is the best part.
Are you still associated with Delhi Capitals?
Yes, I consulted them last season which was a great experience. I am working with them now as well, where they keep consulting me on and off for their players health conditions, fitness, nutrition and all.
There is a lot of buzz around vegan diets these days. Please provide some clarity on it for the readers.
In my opinion, I don’t believe in following veganism because others are recommending or following it. Vegan sources of food options are very less compared to normal vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. This can be quite challenging at times for people. Not following proper kinds of food and nutrients in their food list can lead to developing deficiency of nutrients like Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, calcium, and more. Right nutrition and the right proportion of these are extremely important.
So it is highly recommended to consult a nutritionist, discuss your goals and find proper substitutes for each food item. We then help people with a customized plan which is very balanced and doesn’t miss out on anything important nutrients.
As per your knowledge, what are some of the basic vitamins one should have for a healthy and balanced lifestyle and also if supplements are necessary.
Coming to supplements it is always advisable to consult a doctor or nutritionist as taking them without an expert’s advice can be quite injurious to health.
Vitamins are prescribed based on certain deficiencies. For athletes, it is generally prescribed to enhance their speed and strength. Also when players need extra performance edge, we recommend certain sets of supplements which can provide power and more energy to them.
Though again, it is highly recommended to consult someone before going for these options as every body demands different doses of vitamins and minerals.
As our core focus areas are Badminton and Swimming, could you give advice to the novoices in these fields?
They need to be balanced with the right amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and good fats. Also never miss a meal as it’s very important to eat regularly at same intervals to stay consistent. Moreover, a pre and post practice meal is always recommended to ensure recovery for the next set of activities.
However, as I mentioned earlier that nutritional choices depend on person to person and recommending a general thing will not produce results.
Any emerging trends or technologies in sports nutrition that you find promising or noteworthy..
We don’t use any technology much, but we keep abreast of the upcoming trends, new research and studies around food, dietary supplements and sports nutrition in general.
For this I keep reading research papers and monitor the trends to upskill myself regularly to help my customers in a more well-rounded manner.
Quick fire round –
Your go-to healthy snack..
My healthy snacks are nuts, fruits like apple or a pear as that’s the easiest option one can have.
Your guilty pleasure food..
On cheat days, I like to have a dark chocolate cake.
Ideal pre-workout meal
A common one would be bananas which gives energy and digests easily.
If you could partner with a famous chef for a nutrition-cooking show, who would it be..
If you were an athlete, which sport would you choose to compete in..
Tennis, as I am quite passionate about it and used to play during my college days.
If you could be the nutritionist for any celebrity athlete, who would it be..
Roger Federer, as I really look up to him.
Dish from your childhood that you still love to eat..
Athletes you’ve worked with who went above and beyond your recommendations to achieve their performance goals, showcasing incredible determination and commitment..
Quite a few of them like Chetan Sakaria, Vicky Oswal, and many more.
CynergySports thanks & wishes Sayali Naik, a safe health & a great 2023.
We thank her for her valuable time with us and helping the larger community.
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