Career change was food for success

John Wilkinson
John Wilkinson
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A former chef has achieved his dream of becoming a sports nutritionist, landing a job with Super League giants Wigan Warriors before leaving university.

John Wilkinson, who graduated from UCLan with a degree in nutrition and exercise sciences, is a key member of the Warriors’ strength and conditioning team, working with the players on nutrition, supplementation, gym work and statistical analysis.

The 32-year-old has been working with the Warriors alongside studying for the past two seasons after an internship through UCLan, which is the ‘official university’ of the club, led to a job offer.

John started work in the the kitchen at the age of 14 going to catering college after school and made a career change, which took him from working as a head chef for Marriott Hotels in the UK and USA to becoming a personal trainer and then to university to study for a degree that linked his passion for food and sport.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in sport, fitness and healthy eating so actually my time as a chef ties in really well with my current role.

“I have a lot of experience cooking for professional athletes from my time working for Marriott and I’ve been able to bring this knowledge to my studies and to Wigan.”

John, who currently lives in Manchester with his fiancé Sarah, is now planning to study for a PhD through UCLan, Wigan Warriors and the Rugby Football League, which will focus on how nutritional knowledge can translate into performance.

John added: “The undergraduate course at UCLan appealed to me because it covered a variety of areas and blended subjects really well. I’m now looking forward to beginning my PhD and I’d like to thank my tutor Steph Dillion for her support as I wouldn’t be where I am now without her.”