Well I guess we could call it an introduction….

SHarP Thoughts aka Simple Human Physiology Thoughts, or in other words I have challenged myself to take my understanding and passion for human physiology and share it. Now I am the first to admit, this actually took a lot of convincing because I am honestly not sure about how many people would be willing to hear my opinion or interpretation of physiology and science. But might as well give it a go and if one person benefits from it then I will take that as a win.

PhD Graduation 2 years ago. Sorry no memory of what was so fascinating on the floor

Now first thing I would like to clarify is that this blog or blogs will contain my personal opinions. They are my interpretations of the science and the current available literature. I am sure people will have different thoughts and opinions than me and trust me I am always happy to listen or have a chat about different ideas, and a good healthy debate is never a bad thing. So please feel free to comment or ask me questions and I will be more than happy to listen and will do my best to answer them for you, well at least to the best of my ability. That all being said, abrasive bullying of people’s opinions is not something I will really support and tolerate so hopefully none of that occurs.

So, guess I should probably introduce myself, and well quite simply my name is Claire Badenhorst and I live in Auckland New Zealand. However, as soon as I open my mouth and speak you will not get the typical kiwi accent, in fact you will most likely get the base of a South African and a slight twang of Australian. I was born in South Africa, moved to Perth Australia at aged 12 and then in January of 2017 moved to Auckland New Zealand for a job. Yep a classic case of immigrant coming in to take jobs – sorry people, but it would be stupid not to take the opportunities I have been given.

I am a trained (I guess in many ways still training) and developing Exercise Physiologist. I say trained as I completed my PhD in Exercise Physiology in 2016, but I am still classified as an Early Career Researcher and I am still aiming to establish my career and research pathway/s. In the name of a good blog confession I guess what I am trying to say is that the more I study the more I think to myself ‘gosh damn woman do you honestly know anything?!?!?!’

I started my science career completing a Bachelor in Science majoring in Sport and Exercise. I chose to do this degree not because I wanted to work with elite athletes but purely on the basis of: ‘I could possibly get away with wearing active wear to work everyday’!!! At the time my 18 year old self thought that was a valid reason for studying sport science. My other option at that time was medicine, which my dad really wanted me to pursue, but again my 18 year old self had other ideas. I quite firmly told him, ‘Dad, why on earth would I want to spend 8 years or more at university studying to become a doctor’. Now don’t worry my family had many laughs at my expense and constantly remind me of this brilliant defining statement I made 8 years ago on the day of my PhD Graduation. Ironic how well that plan backfired on me- in a good way at least. After completing my undergraduate degree, none of the other 4th year study options seemed attractive to me – so I decided to do my honours degree. But it turned out that I really enjoyed the research life, it is honest hard work, thought provoking and challenging in so many ways. It is the ultimate puzzle solving job. After completing my honours year I was very fortunate enough to be given a PhD Scholarship. While I was still quite young, it seemed like a good option because I would have 3-4 years to do research and at the same time figure out what I was going to do with my life. Let’s just say the day I handed in my PhD I was both extremely happy but also shed a few tears, because I suddenly realised I had forgotten to plan what to do with my life. Honestly there are many times that I think my life hashtags are #wingingit or #fakeittillyoumakeit. But despite these internal perceptions of myself (which I am sure everyone has at least once in their life), I don’t think I am doing too bad a job in the research sector. As I said, I am a well-trained Exercise (I choose exercise as I prefer to work with everyday people) Physiologist that has a speciality in iron metabolism and a passion for female health and well-being research. These are the two primary areas that I do enjoy researching and I am hoping to build a career in – so hopefully watch this space……Don’t get me wrong I do still discuss male and elite sport physiology (don’t want to come across as gender biased or too feminist here – equal rights and all that jazz), but I just find myself being more passionate and driven by these two areas in physiology.

So I guess the game plan now is to break down some of the science and provide some thoughtful and insightful musings into human physiology from my perspective and hopefully help people understand how their body functions.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy it

Claire

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