Sinéad Bradbury is a lead Performance Nutritionist at Galway GAA and a busy mother of three. After starting her career in business and marketing, Sinéad turned to nutrition and established her own consultancy business, where she specialises in sports nutrition. Sinéad works with individual clients, sports teams, and corporate businesses to help them achieve their nutrition goals. She has also collaborated with the Irish Defence Forces on nutrition for soldiers and recruits and works closely with the Irish Super Supplement brand Revive Active.
Sinead talks to us about her life and career while giving advice to those who might be considering a change.
If you think it's for you, go for it!
1. It’s evident that you have an amazing passion for all things ‘healthy & nutritional’ - what ignited this passion for you?
We were very lucky to be brought up in a home with a huge emphasis on quality local fresh produce. My mother was a nurse, and my dad played sport so there was always an emphasis on the importance of food and its effect on the body. I had an understanding from a young age that nourishing your body is connected with health, well-being, and performance. I think that’s where it stemmed from. I love how food has the power to transform.
2. Was this the career path you had always planned – what avenues did you take to bring you to where you are today?
I have a degree in Business and German from the University of Limerick. Four amazing, fun-filled years. After a few years working in Marketing and fitting in travelling around the world every chance I could, I went back to study Nutrition as I saw how it was emerging as a discipline in the many countries I travelled to. After graduating, I married my passion for both Business and health! I then went on to complete a Masters in Sports and Exercise Nutrition as I wanted to specialise in Performance Nutrition. I love working with motivated individuals who have a desire for self-improvement. They also need so much support to continue working at a high level.
3. For those considering a career in the ‘Health & Nutrition’ sector, what is one piece of advice you would give them?
Well, if it's Sports Nutrition and working in a team environment, the one piece of advice is to be prepared to work long and hard. You have to work unsociable hours and be ready for all kinds of scenarios - winning, losing, travelling, and last-minute changes to schedules. It is a tough environment but also thrilling and exciting. I consider it a privilege to work with elite athletes and support them in reaching their performance goals. Working in a high-performance setting with the right people is a fantastic place to be. If you think it's for you, go for it.
4. What was the best piece of career advice you received over the years?
“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”
This resonates with me as a working mother with my own business. Regardless of whether you are a parent or not, you need to look after yourself at every stage of your career journey. Self-care is a very important aspect of performing at a high level and achieving your goals while maintaining good physical and mental health. Choosing meaningful work with the right people is how I ensure I stay on track with balancing work and home life.
5. Looking back at your career to date, what would you consider to be your best memory or achievement?
Graduating with a Master's degree while home-schooling in a global pandemic is my greatest career achievement! My best career memory at the moment is when Matthew Tierney (Galway Senior Football Vice Captain) scored the winning goal on penalties to get us through to the All-Ireland semi-final. We were all in the middle of Croke Park arm in arm as he went up to take it. When it went in, the sheer relief and exhilaration is something I won't forget for a while. Only to be topped by winning Sam.
6. What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
I don’t believe it is one decision. I believe it is a series of decisions. I firmly believe staying active in your work, caring about what you do, upskilling and continuing to study in the field you are in will lead to amazing opportunities – if you are willing to be brave and always try new things. I operate outside my comfort zone on a weekly basis!
7. If you were entering the workforce again, would you do anything differently?
Nothing. I have learned through sport – you don’t lose, you learn. And that’s how I see it.
8. If you weren’t a ‘Performance Nutritionist,’ what other profession would you have chosen?
This question reminded me of my many years of dreaming I would be a ‘Foreign Correspondent with RTE. I used to practice saying “Sinéad Connolly, RTE News, Moscow,” haha. I don’t know where that dream went, but I think at the crooks of it was my love of travel and adventure. I feel I get that in my current work – always on the move, always exciting.
Thank you for speaking with us, Sinead, and sharing your insights.