Sports Nutrition for Athletic Performance

What is the difference between a sports dietitian and a registered dietitian (RD)?

A sports dietitian is a registered dietitian that has focused knowledge, skills and experience to understand and assist in the needs of the athlete.

Why work with a sports dietitian?

To follow are the top 5 reasons to work with a Sports RD:

  1. Sports RDs are an integral part of a multidisciplinary team that offer a holistic approach to the nutritional needs of the athlete. They work together with athletic trainers, strength coaches, psychologists, physicians, and chefs.
  2. Sports RDs can impact performance by educating and supporting the athlete in event fueling and post-event recovery.
  3. Sports RDs assess and monitor task-specific body composition, growth, and weight history for athletes in an attainable, safe manner helping to prevent body image issues or eating disorders.
  4. Sports RDs are qualified to assess supplements and fortified foods for safety, quality, and efficacy to protect an athlete’s health and support performance.
  5. Sports RDs can teach athletes real-life skills through cooking demonstrations, learning how to build performance plates, grocery store tours, and meal planning.

What do I need to know about my performance plate?

Nutrition for athletes plays an important role in performance and requires individualization and nutrient periodization to support each athlete, the event, and their sport. There are many different nutrition support strategies based on training or competition schedule, as well as performance and body composition goals.

  • Appropriate energy (caloric) intake is important for athletes' overall health and performance as it supports optimal body function and performance.
  • Nutrient requirements for sports include carbohydrates, protein, fat, and micronutrients such as iron, vitamin D, calcium, and antioxidants. Insufficient nutrient intake may result in an increased risk of fatigue, lost muscle mass, injury, illness, and prolonged recovery.
  • The timing of nutrients is critical in optimizing training, performance, and recovery. Carbohydrates provide energy pre-workout, while a combination of carbohydrates and protein are required post-workout to support recovery and repletion of stored energy called glycogen.

A Sports RD can help athletes learn how to build various Performance Plates which use performance nutrition strategies to support specific activities based on the athlete, their sport, and goals. Performance Plates require different portions.

You can schedule an individualized sports nutrition consult and to improve your performance plate, using our website or by calling the Nutrition Counseling Services at 973-322-7913.