Dr. Wirnitzer is an Austrian sports scientist and senior lecturer for sports science and sports didactics at the Pedagogical University Tyrol and the University of Innsbruck. The major focus of her research cuts across the three disciplines and aims at the interface of sports, vegan nutrition, and sustainable health. Based on the experience of 20 years of working with athletes of all performance levels, mentoring (vegan) athletes, and advising them how to switch to and maintain a healthy and needs-based vegan diet, except for Dr. Wirnitzer, no other researcher/research group has continuously published original data within the past decade. The transfer of this knowledge into the educational context is of particular concern to her.
With her research project ‘bikeeXtreme’, she determined the physiological profile of mountain bikers during the Mountainbike Transalp Challenge, a stage race over 8 consecutive days, being the first to investigate 1) a mountain-bike marathon, 2) a mountain-bike stage race, 3) female mountain-bikers in stage races, and 4) a vegan diet as a nutritional strategy. In 2014, she reached a milestone with the publication showing that a vegan diet is compatible with ultra-endurance stage racing (after being scientifically recommended as the optimum nutrition strategy for the first time in 1982).
Dr. Wirnitzer has designed the international and interdisciplinary ‘NURMI Study’ as a follow-up to the mountain bike field study and has set up a second pilot study based on a large sample size in order to create a broad basis for well-founded evidence of the link between endurance and diet. With a current publication, she provided another landmark study showing vegan endurance runners to contribute most beneficially to their overall state of health.
Aiming at the transfer of promising findings to young generations, in particular to school settings, again as a follow-up to the largest study on running in Europe, she has performed both ‘From Science 2 School: Sustainably healthy – active & veggy’ and its seamless follow-up study ‘Sustainably healthy – From Science 2 Highschool & University’ in order to examine the prevalence of vegetarian diets linked to physical exercise and sport within the Austrian educational setting of secondary school and tertiary level (college, university) for the first time.
Department of Research and Development in Teacher Education, University College of Teacher Education Tyrol, Innsbruck, Austria
Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Health and Life Science Cluster Tyrol, Cluster Health/Medicine/Psychology, Tyrolean University Conference, Verbund West, Innsbruck, Austria
Research Centre Medical Humanities, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Study Coordinator (PI) of:
The NURMI Study: www.nurmi-study.com/en,
From Science 2 School: Sustainably healthy – active & veggy: www.science2.school/en,
Sustainably healthy – From Science 2 Highschool & University: https://uni.science2.school/en/