Track success takes Phil to Amsterdam

Investigating the placebo effects of treatments for elite athletes has been the fuel for study for Phil Bellinger. And it is set to take him to Amsterdam to showcase his research on an international stage.

The Applied Sports Science PhD candidate’s research entailed a study in which he gave cyclists a placebo supplement that had no effect on their performance.

However he managed to convince the cyclists that this ‘supplement’ would improve their performance.

“I was able to show that simply believing in a novel and exciting performance enhancing treatment can produce improvements in performance regardless of
introducing a real treatment effect,” says Phil.

To his delight, the abstract of his research was accepted for an oral podium presentation this month at the 19th Annual European College of Sport Science Congress, one of the most well recognised sports science and medical conferences in the world.

“I am so excited to be selected for the Congress in Amsterdam in July, and am really looking forward to this brilliant opportunity to get my work out there amongst the worldwide leaders in sports performance research.”

A young scholar travel grant

Phil also received some further good news this month, when he learnt he had beaten more than 200 other hopeful PhD candidates to receive a young scholar travel grant worth $3000. Run by a major sponsor of the conference – the Gatorade Sport Science Institute (GSSI), one of the major research centres in the world for performance nutrition research, Phil says the money will come in handy for meeting and networking with some of the leading nutrition and sport performance researchers in the world.

Originally from Tasmania where he achieved a first class honours award in Exercise Science from the University of Tasmania, Phil says he was keen to move up to the Gold Coast. “I knew Griffith had a great reputation for Sport Science so I was really happy when I got accepted for the PhD.

“It has been brilliant undertaking research at the Griffith Uni Sport Science Lab, and I am very grateful that they had enough faith in me to also award me a
scholarship for my studies.

“Moving from Tassie wasn’t an easy move as I effectively had to start all over again, building up a whole new network of people whom I could trust and who
could assist me with my work.”

A keen cyclist himself, Phil says one of the first things to do when he moved to the Gold Coast, was get involved in the local cycling scene.

“It was important for me to build up a rapport with a new group of athletes with which to work with.”

Now Phil is looking forward to starting a new study in high intensity interval training which aims to further improve track cycling performance with a

“At this stage, my career ambition is to work as a sport scientist and assist elite athletes in optimising their performance.”

With Amsterdam on his agenda, it looks like Phil is on the right track.