The Role of a Sports Nutritionist

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A sports nutritionist helps create an eating plan for an athlete to ensure that individual is ingesting the proper amount of calories, nutrients and vitamins. Often the nutritionist will break this down into macronutrient ratios that will show the athlete how many calories or grams of carbohydrates, proteins and fats he requires per day.

Benefits to Athletes

  • Often, athletes hit a plateau and realize that proper nutrition is the missing link in their training routine. A sports nutritionist can help an athlete overcome this disconnect.

    All nutritionists aim to promote healthy eating habits and prevent illnesses and diseases, but this is especially important for sports nutritionist, who aims to help an individual get his body to optimal performance. A properly fueled body that has adequate hydration levels can perform at higher levels compared with individuals who do not have these advantages. Sports nutritionists often oversee the preparation and servings of meals. This is done to ensure foods are prepared properly and the correct portion size is served.

Fuel and Energy

  • A sports nutritionist should design a plan that ensures an athlete is properly fueled for sports performance, overall good health and weight management. Weight is often an important issue for athletes, if it be maintaining, losing or gaining weight. A nutritionist can help an athlete safely and nutritionally obtain his weight goal.

Athletic Goals

  • In addition to creating meal plans that will help an athlete have the proper levels of energy, a sports nutritionist will design a program that will help an athlete obtain her athletic goals. These goals are unique for each athlete. Certain athletes need nutritional programs that are designed to help them increase their lean muscle mass or endurance, while other athletes, such as wrestlers or boxers, need to focus on weight and power. Boxers and wrestlers compete in specific weight classes, and a sports nutritionist can design a problem to help an athlete achieve the ideal weight while still maintain power and fitness.

    To help some athletes achieve their fitness goals, a sports nutritionist may discuss the use of supplements. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, certain supplements have shown to promote optimal health and exercise performance.

Programs

  • Prior to meeting with a sports nutritionist, establish what your physical goals are for training or competition. Many individuals want their body to obtain optimal strength, endurance and agility levels. The sports nutritionist should take the time with you to discuss your goals, your eating habits, your mental thoughts, your stressors and your workout routine so she can personalize a meal plan specifically for your needs.

Education

  • A sports nutritionist should have at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field. Many nutritionists have a master's degree and may also be registered dietitians. Each state has its own requirement in regards to licensure, registration and certification for nutritionists.

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References

  • Photo Credit sports medicine image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com
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