A good training, a good coach, having the right equipment, good mental health, a fit and a healthy body are some of the requirements for an athlete to be successful and defeat any challenges that may come on his way. But what use are these qualities if the athlete has no gas? Think of an athlete as a high performance race car, all the latest technologies and gadgets are installed in it. Everything was prepared except for the one thing that will make it run which is fuel. All those preparations will just go to down the drain because the car has no fuel. For an athlete to perform, he needs to have one basic requirement to function and perform – proper sustenance.
Athletes need to have the proper nutrition and sustenance to fuel their body to perform at its best. Food is the body’s fuel. It’s not rocket science really, when we’re hungry we will feel cranky and will lose focus on the important things that we need to do. It gives us strength and energy to go out and about in our daily lives. For athletes, they need more nutrition because they use energy more quickly than an average person. We cannot stress enough the importance of proper nutrition to anyone, especially athletes.
What Is Sports Nutrition?
Sports nutrition is the study of diet and nutrition as related to athletic performance. It deals with the type of food, fluids, vitamins, minerals, supplements and organic substances like fats, protein and carbohydrates an athlete takes. It is a very important part of sports training especially with sports that focuses on human strength like weight lifting and bodybuilding and endurance sports like running, cycling and swimming. Without proper nutrition, the athletes full potential will not be realized. Their performance will not be at their peak, injury recovery will be slower, training levels cannot be sustained and the athletes will be more prone to infections and injuries. Understanding the nutritional needs of an athlete will lead to optimal performance and lifetime health benefits. The intake of certain nutrients and supplements can be evaluated when doing any physical activity, including the body’s reaction to these nutrients and how they complement future diet of the athlete.
Duties of a Sports Dietitian
The Sports Dietitian is the expert that helps create an eating and nutritional plan for an athlete to ensure that the athlete is taking the proper amount of nutrition needed to perform at their peak. Most often, a dietitian will break down the nutrient ratios that will show the athlete how many carbohydrates, calories, proteins and fats are required daily to fuel and energize their bodies. A sports dietitian may be self employed in a private practice or employed by schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers or professional sports teams. Their duties include:
- Assessment. These experts asses the health status, dietary need and body composition of their clients. As a sports dietitian, they will check and review the latest research to determine the needs of an athlete and appropriate plan for the clients. They can also collaborate with other medical professionals regarding eating disorders.
- Nutrition planning. This is a large part of a sports dietitian’s job. Customized meal and hydration plans will be made based on the assessment of the individual athlete or the whole team. They also help clients in achieving their fitness goals and overall health targets. The dietitian can also be involved in creating specialized menus to address specific illnesses or food intolerance.
- Education and counseling. Sports dietician can give counseling and educate athletes, coaches and parents on specific dietary needs and food choices based on their assessment and individualized plans. They will review up-to-date research to provide clients with the right information for their specific needs for optimal performance, injury recover, hydration needs and achieving the desired body weight, body mass, body fat and muscle mass.
Proper nutrition should not be taken out of the equation if an athlete wants to perform at their best and reached their 100%. Again, it’s not rocket science, if you don’t have any fuel to use, you will go nowhere. If you want to succeed, you need to have the right fuel as suggested by the experts. Now, eat your way to success.