Amy Kirkham, Assistant Professor, PhD

Kinesiology & Physical Education
University of Toronto

Bridging the gap: Understanding the influence of nutrition on sport performance and exercise-induced health benefits

Nutrition has a profound effect on exercise responses to both exercise performance and health. The first speaker will discuss the impact of proper nutrition on the overall health and performance of high performance and recreational athletes. We delve into targeted nutritional and dietary/sports supplementation approaches aimed at enhancing the overall physical fitness aspects of athletes, encompassing strength, power, endurance, and speed. Our focus is on guiding athletes in consuming optimal nutrition for fostering physiological and skeletal adaptations that contribute to their peak performance in both elite and recreational athletes. The second speaker will describe the effects of acute and chronic exercise for improving various indices of glycemic control. The impact of nutritional manipulation around exercise, including the quality, quantity, and/or timing of dietary intake on the exercise-induced improvements to glycemic control will be highlighted as a key focus of this talk. This session will provide further insight into the interactive effects of exercise and nutrition, which will help refine exercise and nutritional recommendations for individuals focused on improving their sport performance or health.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Dr. Amy Kirkham is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Cardiovascular Health in the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education at the University of Toronto, an Affiliate Scientist with the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and Heart and Stroke Foundation National New Investigator. Dr. Kirkham’s research program aims to characterize the intersection of cancer, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease in women and to develop lifestyle interventions including exercise, diet (e.g., intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet), and multi-modal rehabilitation, to prevent or ameliorate underlying cardiometabolic dysfunction. Dr. Kirkham’s assessment approach is comprehensive and holistic, encompassing the use of biological samples, real-time biosensors (e.g., continuous glucose monitors, physical activity trackers), cardiopulmonary exercise testing, state-of-the-art magnetic resonance and ultrasound imaging techniques, and patient-reported outcomes. Her research program is funded by CIHR, NSERC, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Cancer Research Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Diabetes Canada.