Sports nutrition is defined as “the study and practice of nutrition and diet as it relates to athletic performance.” (dictionary.com)
In other words, the way a sumo wrestler approaches nutrition is very different from a long-distance runner, a cyclist, a rock climber, a rugby player, or a boxer.
In fact, nutrition, when it relates to athletes, becomes a fascinating science of balancing fluids, foods, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. An athlete’s goal is to perform the best so she can win the competition. So it’s no surprise when I say that the type and amount of food an athlete eats is as important to performance as the training regimen.
Now is a great time to be a sports nutritionist in New York City, as the city is bustling with activity and movement. Working with athletes is one of my favorite challenges, and New York is brimming with them. We have two major league baseball teams, women and men’s basketball, hockey, soccer, not to mention marathon runners, dancers, aerobics instructors, yoga gurus and more. New trends include everything from Zumba to Cross Fit, and a wave of youth fitness and triathlons. Many people believe that only professional athletes need a sports nutritionist. In fact, anyone who wants to enhance her athletic performance, whether she’s training for a color run, tough mudder, or her first half-marathon, can benefit from working with a sports nutritionist.
Athletes can expend thousands of calories during training and they need to be replaced in a timely manner to assure optimal performance during training and competition. Athletes also lose large quantities of water and nutrients through perspiration that also must be replaced to prevent fatigue and muscle cramping. Just as different sports require different training programs, they also require individual nutritional needs. Knowing what to eat prior to and after training and before a competition can sometimes be confusing but is essential to success!
I work with teams and individual athletes to assess nutritional needs based on their sport, energy expenditure and evaluate their current diet. I then use this information to create an eating plan that provides adequate carbohydrate, protein and fat for optimal performance. I determine fluid needs and the types of drinks best suited for each athlete’s individual needs and will discuss the use of ergogenic aids and supplements and their impact on performance.
If you’re an athlete and ready to step it up a notch, I’d love to work with you. As a certified sports nutritionist, I can offer you support and guidance to help maximize your potential. You will leave with practical information you can start to use immediately to fuel your body for sport!