Sports nutrition is the application of both nutritional science and exercise science for the purpose of optimizing athletic performance. Key goals of sports nutrition are to provide adequate calories to fuel activity while maintaining appropriate body weight and composition, provide adequate nutrients for tissue building and repair as well as normal body functions, and to provide food and fluid choices with consideration to timing of intake to enhance physical performance.
Any active individual to elite athletes can benefit from sports nutrition education and counseling. Coaches, trainers and parents can also benefit from sports nutrition education in order to help their athlete be the best they can be. Throughout this course I will often simply use the term athlete. However, in many cases, the term athlete can be used interchangeably with active individuals and recreational athletes.
Sports RD’s have many of the same roles & responsibilities as RDs working in other areas. The nutrition care process can be applied in a sports nutrition setting just as it is used in a health care setting. Many of the same things you are learning to do with patients in an outpatient or inpatient setting can also be applied in sports nutrition.
Here are just some of the responsibilities of a sports RD. Be sure to read pages the Roles and Responsibilities of Sports RDs section on pages 522-523 of the Nutrition and Athletic Performance position paper. For the sports RD, the health care team is often made up of coaches, athletic trainers, or personal trainers. A sports RD may find that they are the only one with prior training in a medical setting. This becomes particularly beneficial when dealing with athletes with medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or other medical issues. Disorder eating behaviors are also common among certain types of athletes. Sports RDs should be prepared to identify and treat or refer these athletes for proper treatment.
These are some the factors that you should consider when working with athletes. Always take a thorough health and medical history. You likely will not have access to medical records and therefore need to gather as much information as possible from the athlete. Athletes often look healthy and have underlying medical concerns.When making nutrition recommendations, it is important to understand the energy demands of the sport and the energy systems primarily in play with the particular sports to make appropriate recommendation. Also keep in mind that day to day training needs may have different demands than competition day. Providing practical advice for what to eat and drink based on sport, meal timing, and access to food is important. For example, if you find yourself working with a college athlete they likely live in a dorm in which the cafeteria is their primary source of meals. Knowing what is served in the cafeteria and what is available for the athlete to take with them for mid-day snacks or on the road for away games can help you design a successful eating strategy. Also consider that amateur athletes are often living on a limited budget. Lastly be sure to address the goals, questions, and concerns that the athlete has.
Registered dietitians working with physically active individuals may choose to become a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). This credential is designed for dietitians with expertise in the field of sports nutrition and sets them apart from others with little or no nutrition training. The credential is quickly becoming recognized and required by employers of sports nutrition professionals. To obtain this credential you must:Be an RD for at least 2 yearsMaintain current RD statusDocument 1500 hours experience in sports nutritionPass the CSSD examFor more information on the credential and what counts as experience hours, visit the Commission on Dietetics Registration website listed in the resources and the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) dietetics practice group website.
The Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Dietetics Practice Group is the largest DPG within ADA and is made up of over 5000 dietetics practitioners with a special interest in these areas of practice. If you are interested in sports nutrition, I would highly recommend becoming a student member of this group. It is a great way to stay up to date on current research in the field. Because this DPG is so large, sub-units have been organized within the practice group. The mission of SCAN is to: To empower members to be the nation’s food and nutrition leaders through excellence and expertise in nutrition for sports and physical activity, cardiovascular health, wellness, and disordered eating and eating disorders.
If you plan to work with athletes, additional credentials in the area listed on the slide will be of benefit to enhance your skills and credibility in this area of work. The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise are two well respected certifying bodies for personal training, group fitness, and health fitness certifications. Obtaining certifications in these areas can be used towards continuing education hours for maintaining your RD credential in the future. Take some time to investigate the certifications offered by these organizations by going to their web sites and clicking on the link to certifications. I personally have maintained my ACE group fitness instructor certification since 1997 and hold a YogaFit Level III instructor certification. In addition, I have take PhD level courses in Health Education studies.
INTRODUCTION TO SPORTSNUTRITION Lona Sandon, M.Ed., R.D., L.D. Assistant Professor, UT Southwestern Spring 2012
OBJECTIVES Define the term sports nutrition. Identify the roles and responsibilities of sports dietitians. Outline the requirements for becoming a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Identify additional credentials or degrees beneficial for RD’s working with athletes. List important factors to consider in providing individualized sports nutrition counseling.
WHAT IS SPORTS NUTRITION? Nutrition science + exercise science Aim to optimize physical performance via: Adequate calories to fuel activity Adequate nutrients for tissue building and repair Appropriate food and fluid choices Timing of food and fluid intake
WHO CAN BENEFIT? Active individuals Recreational athletes Elite athletes Coaches/trainers Parents of young athletes
WHAT DO SPORTS RD’S DO? Provide nutrition assessment, intervention, monitoring, & evaluation Provide nutrition education on food choices & preparation Identify nutritional issues that affect performance Develop menu plans for pre & post training Stay abreast of current research
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES? Personalize nutrition strategies Advise on use, safety, & legality of dietary supplements & sports foods Develop nutrition strategies to prevent fatigue & illness, while promoting recovery Identify disordered eating patterns in athletes Work with coaches & trainers
WHAT FACTORS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED? Health & medical history Energy & substrate utilization of the sport Understand training & competition schedules Social environment – living conditions, travel schedule, budget What is practical for the athlete What are the athletes goals, questions, concerns
WHAT IS A CSSD? Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics 2 years experience as RD 1500 hours experiences Pass CSSD exam Must maintain RD status http://www.scandpg.org/sports- nutrition/sports-nutrition-who-delivers/ Completing a specialty exam will meet 75 CEU’s
WHAT IS SCAN? Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Dietetics Practice Group Sub units SportsNutrition Cardiovascular/Wellness Disordered eating > 5000 members http://www.scandpg.org/
WHAT OTHER CREDENTIALS OR DEGREES? Public Health or Health Education Exercise Science Personal Trainer or Fitness Instructor American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) www.acsm.org American Council on Exercise (ACE) www.acefitness.org
REFERENCESFink HH, Burgoon LA, Mikesky AE, eds. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2006.Nutrition and athletic performance - Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:509-527. Accessed December 1, 2011 from: http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8365Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. 2010. Accessed December 1, 2011 from: http://www.scandpg.org/