Discussing any of these areas below should be taken up with a professional Nutritionist and doctor. Do the homework first!
Sports nutrition is a broad interdisciplinary field that focuses on the science behind and application of proper nutrition during exercise, with areas of interest including the body's use of nutrients during athletic competition; the need, if any, for nutritional supplements among athletes; and the role of proper nutrition and dietary supplements in enhancing an athlete's performance. The psychological dimension of sports nutrition is concerned with eating disorders and other psychiatric conditions related to nutrition among athletes.
Professionals in the field of sports nutrition include dietitians, biochemists, exercise physiologists, cell and molecular biologists, and occasionally psychotherapists. Some people who specialize in the field of sports nutrition are registered dietitians (RDs) who have completed a master's or other advanced degree in the field of exercise physiology. Most academic sports nutritionists, however, hold doctoral degrees in the field of exercise physiology and often specialize in working with athletes in one particular sport, such as baseball or swimming. Although sports nutrition can be applied to almost any form of athletic training or physical activity, including yoga, tai chi, martial arts, and professional dance, professional sports nutritionists work primarily with team sports, endurance sports (such as cycling, long-distance running, and triathlon training), or sports involving weight training (e.g., wrestling, weight-lifting, and some forms of bodybuilding). Some athletes may also wish to work one-on-one with a sports nutritionist.
Many athletes utilize good nutrition to promote strong athletic performance. A balanced diet and proper hydration help fulfill the body's energy requirements, resulting in optimal performance whether for endurance, power, or strength. The need for adequate nutrition holds true both for training necessary before events and for the events themselves. Both amateur and professional athletes alike can benefit from good nutrition.
More specifically, sports nutrition can be used to:
- prepare athletes for intense training or actual competition
- maintain an acceptable level of performance during competition or training
- help the athlete's body recover after training or athletic competition
- provide sound information about healthy dietary practices and use of supplements
- monitor athletes for signs of eating disorders, doping, supplement abuse, or other unhealthy behaviors
- provide specialized nutritional advice to athletes following vegetarian, vegan, or other special diets
- monitor the nutritional needs of people with disabilities who participate in athletic activities and programs
Specific aspects of sports nutrition include hydration, assessment of energy needs, assessment of weight and body composition, strategies for weight change, timing of meals, and the use of ergogenic aids.
Discussing any of these areas should be taken up with a professional Nutritionist and doctor.