Dr Nattai Borges

Dr Nattai Borges


School of Environmental and Life Sciences

A sporting chance at science

Dr Nattai Borges found the perfect way to combine a love of sport with a fascination for science – and the Central Coast campus is the beneficiary.

It’s not often that you can combine two disparate passions into one career path, but Nattai has managed to achieve just that. With a love for science sparked in early high school, and a life-long sporting background it’s no wonder that Nattai was drawn to Exercise and Sports Science.

“At the time the other potential study options were physiotherapy or medicine, but Exercise and Sports Science was perfect for me,” Nattai says. “I’m glad I found it.”

Nattai practices what he preaches, ensuring he spends time working in industry along with teaching and researching. “This way I can ensure that I never lose the vision of ‘well, this is the science, but how can we apply that science and make it more meaningful to the general population, the athletic population and the disease-state population?”

“I like to bridge the division between the mechanistic ‘bench science’ of exercise physiology and the more translational applied research,” Nattai says. “Human physiology is such a complex and continually interchanging environment. If we ask ‘What causes fatigue during exercise?’ there’s no simple answer.”

Having worked as an accredited exercise physiologist  in the muscular-skeletal rehab area, Nattai has an anatomical insight into sports science and the role that exercise plays in wellbeing. “I’ve also worked as a strength and conditioning coach for a number of sporting teams and in private clinics working with young athletes,” Nattai says. “It’s been fun and has given me a really applied background that can help make the theory I’m teaching be more practical for my students. They really respond well to it.”

This has also given Nattai insight into the strength and conditioning and applied sport science areas. “This insight has led me to perform research into understanding match demands of sports such as basketball and cricket and monitoring hydration status in rugby union,” says Nattai.

Ageing and exercise

Exploring the role that exercise plays in maintaining health and fitness as we age is one of Nattai’s research focuses, but one challenge is to accurately measure the impact of physical activity on ageing. “As we get older and busier (during our twenties and thirties!) our levels of physical activity tend to drop, so if we study sedentary older and younger people we’re not really factoring for that drop in physical activity. But if we look at two groups of people who’ve maintained physical activity we gain real insight.”

In his research Nattai’s been comparing master’s athletes with younger athletes to garner a better understanding of what the actual ageing process is, by factoring in the impact of maintaining fitness.

“It’s an emerging field of research at the moment,” Nattai says. “Mainly because there aren’t that many Masters Athletes to work with, and these athletes tend to focus on endurance sports. But what we’ve seen so far shows that if you keep exercising, you can keep performing. It shows the adaptability of the body as you age.”

However, Nattai stresses that we also need to examine the role of nutrition in fitness and ageing. “Older people tend not to digest protein as well, so their ability to synthesise new muscles is impacted. Consuming high-quality protein is also important to help mitigate health risks.”

Muscles matter

As we age, there is a decrease in muscle mass known as sarcopenia, especially in our power-based muscle fibres or type-2 muscles fibres. “We need to explore whether we should be focussing on different types of training which maintain our type-2 muscle fibres. We know that endurance training doesn’t help maintain our power-based muscle, we need to focus on resistance training, plyometric training and to also focus on nutrition alongside training.”

Nattai stresses that it’s not just from an exercise perspective that we need to focus on muscle mass as we age – it’s also important from a quality-of-life perspective: “Muscles are one of our largest organs and one of the most important,” Nattai says. “We’re only starting to scratch the surface in terms of the signalling role that muscles play with hormones and the maintenance of our muscle mass.”

Acting local, thinking global

Working with Central Coast sporting groups is just one of the ways that Nattai is looking to connect his research with locals. “I bring the lessons learned from playing in team sports into all aspects of my life,” Nattai says.

“I’m aiming to work with local sporting teams here on the central coast to help bring the knowledge from the University into our sporting clubs,” says Nattai who’s currently playing with the local Avoca FC.

Exploring the link between fitness and wellbeing is also on Nattai’s radar, and he’s actively seeking industry collaborations to apply his research in the field. “An emerging theme in research is the role that exercise can play in managing the symptoms and side-effects of cancer. Research seems to indicate that there are some potential benefits of combining certain types of exercise with treatment – and it’s an area I’d like to explore.”

A proficient science communicator, Nattai has already received an International accolade for his oral presentation skills while undertaking his PhD. “In 2016 I won a prestigious international award at the European Congress of Sports Scientist,” Nattai proudly states. “I was selected in the top 4 before being asked to perform before the whole congress where I was awarded the Young Investigators Award.”

At this congress in Vienna, Nattai spoke to global professionals about one of his PhD projects which researched the effects of age on pulmonary and muscular oxygenation following high intensity training. And Nattai feels that his work in this space hasn’t concluded now he’s been awarded his PhD. “I’d love to keep developing the work I did in my PhD and explore healthy ageing and exercise and the benefits for the ageing Australian population.”

A sporting chance at science

Dr Nattai Borges found the perfect way to combine a love of sport with a fascination for science – and the Central Coast campus is the beneficiary.

Read more

Career Summary


Nattai has recently graduated from his doctoral studies investigating the influence of age on fatigue and recovery in cyclists where he created several testing protocols to holistically monitor the fatigue state and recovery in his testing participants.  Nattai has also acquired substantial clinical and sports industry experience both in Australia and Overseas over the past 10 years which has given him a broad perspective in the areas of exercise prescription, programming and sport science. Nattai has been an Accredited Exercise Physiologist since 2010 with experience working in return to work programs as well as a strength and conditioning coach in both private clinics and for established rugby and football teams. Currently, Nattai’s research mainly revolves around investigating the physiological basis fatigue and recovery as well as understanding the match demands for team sports in an attempt to improve health and performance. Nattai has a strong publication record, has presented at a number of national and international conferences and was recently awarded the 2016 European College of Sport Sciences prestigious Young Investigator Award for his research into the influence of age on fatigue states in cyclists. Nattai would like to continue his current research in fatigue and recovery by investigation causative mechanisms of fatigue as well as novel techniques to improve recovery without attenuating training adaptation.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Central Queensland University
  • Bachelor of Applied Science, University of Sydney


  • English (Mother)
  • Portuguese (Fluent)
  • Spanish (Working)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
110602 Exercise Physiology 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences


Research Award

Year Award
2016 Young Investigator Award
European College of Sports Science



Year Title / Rationale
2016 Masters Athletes and Exercise and Sport Science in Australia
2016 The Effect of Age on Pulmonary and Muscle Oxygenation Kinetics Following High-Intensity Interval Training


Code Course Role Duration
EXSS2010 Exercise Physiology
Course Coordinator 31/01/2016 - 30/06/2016
EXSS2080 Growth, Development and Ageing
The University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/07/2016 - 30/12/2016
EXSS3050 Advanced Exercise Physiology
Univeristy of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 31/12/2015 - 30/06/2017


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Reaburn P, Doering TM, Borges NR, 'Nutritional issues for the masters athlete', Clinical Sports Nutrition, McGraw-Hill Education Australia, New South Wales, Australia (2015)

Journal article (20 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Del Vecchio L, Stanton R, Macgregor C, Humpries B, Borges NR, 'The effects of a six-week Exogen training program on punching and kicking impact power in amateur male combat athletes: a pilot study', Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, 26 18-28 (2018)
2018 Scanlan AT, Fox JL, Borges NR, Tucker PS, Dalbo VJ, 'Temporal changes in physiological and performance responses across game-specific simulated basketball activity', JOURNAL OF SPORT AND HEALTH SCIENCE, 7 176-182 (2018)
DOI 10.1016/j.jshs.2016.05.002
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2018 Scanlan AT, Fox JL, Borges NR, Delextrat A, Spiteri T, Dalbo VJ, et al., 'Decrements in knee extensor and flexor strength are associated with performance fatigue during simulated basketball game-play in adolescent, male players', Journal of Sports Sciences, 36 852-860 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/02640414.2017.1344779
2018 Borges NR, Reaburn PR, Doering TM, Argus CK, Driller MW, 'Age-related changes in physical and perceptual markers of recovery following high-intensity interval cycle exercise', EXPERIMENTAL AGING RESEARCH, 44 338-349 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/0361073X.2018.1477361
2017 Borges NR, Reaburn PR, Doering TM, Argus CK, Driller MW, 'Autonomic cardiovascular modulation in masters and young cyclists following high-intensity interval training', CLINICAL AUTONOMIC RESEARCH, 27 83-90 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s10286-017-0398-6
Citations Web of Science - 1
2017 Scanlan AT, Richter-Stretton GL, Madueno MC, Borges NR, Fenning AS, 'Reliability of a Cryoscopic Micro-Osmometer Using 15-mu L Plasma Samples to Measure Hydration Status in Varied Environmental Conditions', MEASUREMENT IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND EXERCISE SCIENCE, 21 34-39 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/1091367X.2016.1248767
Citations Scopus - 1
2017 Doering TM, Reaburn PR, Borges NR, Cox GR, Jenkins DG, 'The Effect of Higher Than Recommended Protein Feedings Post-Exercise on Recovery Following Downhill Running in Masters Triathletes', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPORT NUTRITION AND EXERCISE METABOLISM, 27 76-82 (2017)
DOI 10.1123/ijsnem.2016-0079
2017 Scanlan AT, Fox JL, Borges NR, Dalbo VJ, 'The Commonality Between Approaches to Determine Jump Fatigue During Basketball Activity in Junior Players: In-Game Versus Across-Game Decrements', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPORTS PHYSIOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE, 12 260-263 (2017)
DOI 10.1123/ijspp.2016-0005
Citations Scopus - 1
2017 Scanlan AT, Fox JL, Borges NR, Dascombe BJ, Dalbo VJ, 'Cumulative Training Dose's Effects on Interrelationships Between Common Training-Load Models During Basketball Activity', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPORTS PHYSIOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE, 12 168-174 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1123/ijspp.2015-0708
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Ben Dascombe
2016 Del Vecchio L, Stanton R, Borges N, Macgregor C, Doering T, Korhonen MT, Reaburn P, 'Lower limb muscular strength and power characteristics of Masters road cyclists and age-matched sedentary adults', Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche (Journal on Internal Medicine and Pharmacology), 175 123-129 (2016)
2016 Driller M, Borges N, Plews D, 'Evaluating a new wearable lactate threshold sensor in recreational to highly trained cyclists', SPORTS ENGINEERING, 19 229-235 (2016)
DOI 10.1007/s12283-016-0198-6
2016 Delvecchio L, Borges NR, Reaburn P, Korhonen MT, 'Reliability of squat jump performance masters cyclists', La Prensa Medica Argentina, 102 (2016)
DOI 10.4172/lpma.1000205
2016 Driller M, Plews D, Borges N, 'Wearable near infrared sensor for determining an athlete¿s lactate threshold during exercise', NIR news, 27 8-8 (2016) [C3]
DOI 10.1255/nirn.1609
2016 Borges NR, Driller MW, 'Wearable Lactate Threshold Predicting Device is Valid and Reliable in Runners', Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30 2212-2218 (2016)
DOI 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001307
Citations Scopus - 11Web of Science - 8
2016 Del Vecchio L, Villegas J, Borges N, Reaburn P, 'Concurrent Resistance Training and Flying 200-Meter Time Trial Program for a Masters Track Cyclist', Strength and Conditioning Journal, 38 1-10 (2016)
DOI 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000230
2016 Doering TM, Jenkins DG, Reaburn PR, Borges NR, Hohmann E, Phillips SM, 'Lower Integrated Muscle Protein Synthesis in Masters Compared with Younger Athletes', Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 48 1613-1618 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000935
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4
2016 Borges N, Reaburn P, Driller M, Argus C, 'Age-related changes in performance and recovery kinetics in masters athletes: A narrative review', Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 24 149-157 (2016)
DOI 10.1123/japa.2015-0021
Citations Scopus - 13Web of Science - 10
2014 Scanlan AT, Wen N, Tucker PS, Borges NR, Dalbo VJ, 'Training Mode's Influence on the Relationships Between Training-Load Models During Basketball Conditioning', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPORTS PHYSIOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE, 9 851-856 (2014)
DOI 10.1123/ijspp.2013-0410
Citations Scopus - 19Web of Science - 20
Stanton R, Doering TM, Macgregor C, Borges N, Delvecchio L, 'Validity of a contact mat and accelerometric system to assess countermovement jump from flight time', Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 1-8
DOI 10.1080/1091367x.2018.1493593
Show 17 more journal articles

Conference (13 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Milne E, Vickery W, Dascombe B, Scarlett C, Borges NR, 'Development of a Field Based Simulation for Fast Bowlers during the Bowling Innings of a Twenty20 Match', Brisbane, Australia (2018)
Co-authors C Scarlett, Ben Dascombe
2018 Borges NR, Reaburn P, Doering T, Driller M, 'The effect of age on post-exercise recovery following HIIT: A comprehensive analysis of recovery following high intensity interval cycling', Brisbane, Australia (2018)
2018 Vickery W, Milne E, Borges NR, 'Performance changes of fast bowlers during a Twenty20 fast bowling simulation', Dublin, Ireland (2018)
2017 Del Vechhio L, Borges NR, Humphries B, Stanton R, 'Six weeks of strength and power training increases punching impact power in amateur combat athletes', Surfers Paradise, QLD (2017)
2016 Doering T, Reaburn P, Borges NR, Cox G, Jenkins D, 'Effect of high vs. moderate post-exercise protein feedings on recovery of masters athletes', Vienna, Austria (2016)
2016 Scanlan A, Fox J, Borges NR, Tucker P, Dalbo V, 'Physiological responses and shifts across game periods during simulated basketball activity', Melbourne, Australia (2016)
2016 Doering T, Reaburn P, Jenkins D, Borges NR, Hohmann E, Phillips S, 'Age-related ¿anabolic resistance¿ in muscle protein synthesis exists in well-trained masters triathletes during a period of intensified training', Melbourne, Australia (2016)
2016 Dalbo VJ, Fox JL, Borges NR, Dascombe BJ, Young KC, Scanlan AT, 'Cumulative Training Dose Augments The Interrelationships Between Common Training Load Models During Basketball Activity', MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, Denver, CO (2016)
DOI 10.1249/01.mss.0000486326.85430.51
Co-authors Ben Dascombe
2016 Doering TM, Reaburn P, Borges NR, Jenkins D, 'No difference in muscle damage between well-trained masters and young triathletes following regular intense endurance exercise', No difference in muscle damage between well-trained masters and young triathletes following regular intense endurance exercise, Gold Coast, Qld (2016)
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2015.12.391
2016 Borges NR, Reaburn P, Doering TM, Argus C, Driller M, 'The effect of age on autonomic cardiovascular modulation following repeated high intensity interval cycling', Melbourne, Australia (2016)
2015 Borges NR, Reaburn P, Argus C, Driller M, 'The effect of age on muscle strength recovery following an anaerobic exercise stimulus', Sanctuary Cove (2015)
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2015.12.379
2015 Doering TM, Reaburn P, Borges NR, Jenkins D, 'Low carbohydrate intake of masters vs. young triathletes in the pre-competition phase of training', Sanctuary Cove (2015)
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2015.12.353
Show 10 more conferences

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 1
Total funding $1,473,200

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20181 grants / $1,473,200

Development and implementation of an advanced clinical decision-making support tool for the delivery of efficient, personalised rehabilitation for patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty (TKA).$1,473,200

Funding body: Ramsay Hospital Research Foundation Ltd

Funding body Ramsay Hospital Research Foundation Ltd
Project Team Professor Michael Nilsson, Professor Rohan Walker, Professor Sarah Johnson, Associate Professor Adrian Wills, Doctor Nattai Borges, Associate Professor Michael Pollack
Scheme Research Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2021
GNo G1801043
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112

Dr Nattai Borges


School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Contact Details

Email nattai.borges@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 6659


Room EXSB-206
Building Exercise and Sport Science Building
Location Ourimbah
10 Chittaway Road
Ourimbah, NSW 2258