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Nutritionist for Athletes

Do you want to know nutritionist for athletes? If your answer is yes then this blog provides you all information regarding this.

Sports nutrition is an art and a science. Investing in a high-quality nutritionist gets you more individualization, which accomplishes more for an athlete’s short- and long-term health and performance. As a sports nutritionist, athlete, and soon-to-be registered dietitian (RD), I’m sick of hearing “food is fuel” and other weak, outdated, and general sports nutrition advice.

  • Credentials

Obviously, credentials are important, but they’re not a deal-breaker. Depending upon your sports nutrition needs, the RD credential is very important in certain states, contingent on the laws and regulations (check your state’s licensure laws). However, I argue that the RD credential is different when it comes to sports nutrition.

As someone who completed the dietetics curriculum, I can tell you it’s NOT intended for those who are solely interested in sports nutrition. It focuses heavily on clinical nutrition (medical nutrition therapy) and food service/management. This knowledge is important (you will have athletes with medical conditions), but is not enough for sports nutrition. Typically, the sports RD learns about sports nutrition on their own.

  • Experience: Professional and Athletic

Just because a sports nutritionist works privately with many pro athletes or as the nutritionist to a pro or collegiate team, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good, and vice versa. (The same can be said for any industry.) I’m not trying to bash anyone here—I have two points with this based on my personal experience: 1) quality vs. quantity and 2) ulterior motives.

One RD for hundreds of university athletes or a team of 100 football players signals poor quality. How much of a positive impact can anyone have given that ratio of attention? Some pro teams hire nutritionists as “consultants,” and they may just do so because it sounds good. Some of them barely use the nutritionist.

Here’s something to consider: What is the nutritionist doing that’s causing a major difference in health/performance outcomes? Meal plans that everyone could benefit from, but no one adheres to?

In sports, the RD doesn’t really have any accountability when it comes to winning and losing compared to the other coaching staff. This is exactly why you’ll see certain coaches take their players’ nutrition into their own hands when they don’t like what the RD is doing. That’s because they know how much nutrition contributes to performance.

  • The Nutritional Advice and Approach

This is highly important. Many RDs conform to the typical sports nutrition “dogma.” For example, the beliefs that 60% of calories should come from carbs, following a “high” protein diet (cue Dr. Jose Antonio as to what is considered “high”) is bad for the kidneys, and you should avoid supplements because you can get all of your nutrients from food.

All of that tells me (and any coach who knows a lot about nutrition) everything I need to know. There are only a handful of nutritionists who transcend this “one-size-fits-all” model. I’ve actually given interview questions to a performance coach who was hiring an RD. The answers would show whether or not the RD surpassed the shotgun approach.

  • Buy-In Strategy

The value of the smartest nutritionist in the world diminishes if they can’t get their athletes to follow-through, or cause a behavior change. This is buy-in, which I learned from Brett Bartholomew’s Conscious Coaching.

Why do some athletes not listen to an RD’s advice? Why does the athlete listen to nutritional advice from the coach or S&C coach? The answer is buy-in. This starts with being present as much as possible (this hurts consultants and part-timers), building rapport (e.g., having conversations that are NOT about nutrition), and, ultimately, gaining trust.

If a high level of presence is not feasible, how does the nutritionist work with it? Build a relationship with the coach—they are the middleman. If you want to make a difference, communication with them is HIGHLY important because they have a major influence on the outcome. For a nutritionist, this may take some serious selling of themselves and their nutritional philosophy (especially if the coach is well-versed in nutrition).

  • Nutrition Science Specialist

“You’re not hired expecting to already know everything. You’re hired expecting to figure it out when you don’t.” – Adam Ringler

That’s a fact. In nutrition, it’s obviously impossible to know everything. When you don’t know something, that’s fine. Be humble and own it, but be proactive and figure it out.

This is why the most valuable skill is being able to read peer-reviewed research, understand it, and apply it to the real world. I’m not saying you have to be a wizard and be able to critique the statistics. But even at the graduate level, others would simply regurgitate study abstracts.

  • Care

I saved “care” for last because it’s the most valuable and underappreciated/overlooked aspect. I’m not talking about a superficial level of care. I’m talking about a willingness to go above and beyond for the athlete, to the point of “non-billable hours.” This can reveal so much, including how much you love your job. If you make the athlete’s best interest your best interest, you are truly committed.

Practical Advice

An exceptional nutritionist is not a price you pay, but rather a value you receive. Nutrition builds age-defying athletes, so they can push their career and success in their sport, health, and longevity.

As we all know, in sport, it’s not about doing what is easy. It’s about doing what is best.

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