​Physiology support

As physiologists we look at the physical demands of a sport and how we can help an athlete to improve performance through enhancing training and recovery.

What is physiology support?

As physiologists we look at the physical demands of a sport and how we can help an athlete to improve performance through enhancing training and recovery. This might be through lab or field based testing or monitoring, or by carrying out or applying research to solve problems and answer questions. We can also help an athlete prepare for training or competing in extreme environments (e.g. heat or altitude), and provide educational workshop on topics from avoiding illness to enhancing recovery.

We work closely with the coaches and practitioners from other disciplines (nutrition, psychology, physiotherapy and strength & conditioning) to ensure our athletes get the best support possible.

How we work

Our Performance Support team works extremely closely with our coaches and athletes on the ground, to ensure we are able to offer timely responses to their needs. Every week, each sport will have a multi-disciplinary team meeting where we discuss how we can work together to solve problems, enhance performance and ultimately help the coach and athletes reach their goals.

In between this, our practitioners are always supporting each other and discussing the sport and athletes to ensure nothing gets missed. We keep up to date with the latest research; not only through just reading it, but by carrying out our own applied research projects, supported by undergraduate and postgraduate students within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

We also have ever-strengthening links with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, which allows us to pick the brains of many of Loughborough’s sector leading academics and apply their findings to our delivery across a variety of sports. Some of our staff are also directly involved in the academic side of sports science, as well as supporting athletes. This gives athletes and coaches alike the confidence that everything we do is grounded in science, leaving no stone unturned.

Experience of our team

Our team has many years of experience of supporting a wide range of athletes and sports, from endurance sports to team sports. As well as our performance sport athletes, we have worked with professional sports such as rugby league, cricket, football, motorsports, ironman, and have supported athletes doing events such as the Marathon des Sables, The 8 Hours of Suzuka and high altitude marathons.

We ensure that everything we do is grounded in science and look for innovative ways to apply science to enhance performance.

Our physiology team

Rhona Pearce

Sports Science Manager

Rhona has a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and an MSc in Exercise Physiology from Loughborough University, and has been a BASES Accredited Physiologist for 15 years. Managing and co-ordinating the delivery of physiology, nutrition and psychology support to both our student-athletes and members of the public, Rhona provides applied support to the commercial side of our service, specialising in endurance sports.

01509 226259

Nicola Rawlinson


Nicola has a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science and an MSc in Exercise Physiology both from Loughborough University. She supports the majority of our Performance Sports athletes, applying physiological principles across a wide range of sports and settings. Nicola’s key interest areas include running economy, recovery protocols and exercise in environmental extremes.

Lewis Clarke

Performance Physiologist (Placement)

Lewis is a part-time postgraduate student studying for an MSc in Exercise Physiology at Loughborough University, whilst undertaking a two-year placement working as a Performance Physiologist for Loughborough Sport. Their role involves the provision and development of physiological support for athletes and coaches, to improve performance. This includes designing and implementing lab and field-based physiological assessments, monitoring and analysing training data and collaborating as part of a multidisciplinary team. They mainly support the Triathlon and Athletics squads, with project-based support for the other Performance Sports. "The best thing about my current role is the opportunity to gain applied experience working with some of the UK’s top athletes, coaches and practitioners!”

David Sheldon

Performance Physiologist (Placement)

Whilst studying part-time for an MSc in Exercise Physiology, David currently leads the physiology support for the University's Athletics Club and is a support physiologist for the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre. In 2018, David completed his undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University. During this time, he undertook a placement year with Loughborogh Sport in 2016-17 as an Applied Sports Science Intern and has worked in the department ever since. David is also a competitive middle distance runner and proudly represents the university's athletics club. He has a real passion for cycling and strives to optimise athletic performance through research and applied practice.

Placement Students

Every year we support an undergraduate student on a full time placement with us, as well as an MSc student working with us part-time whilst completing their MSc in Exercise Physiology. We also allow a handful of students the opportunity to do a voluntary placement alongside their full-time MSc. These placements allow us to greatly increase the support we are able to offer our performance sports teams and scholars. The students undertake an intensive training and development programme throughout the course of their placement to ensure they get the best experience possible, and our athletes and coaches benefit from their input.