Thinking About Working With A Sports RD?
1: Registered Dietitians are the only qualified professionals that can legally provide Medical Nutrition Therapy. Dietitians who are Certified Specialists in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) have additional training and education that allows them to make the most appropriate nutrition recommendations for athletes and active individuals.
Did you know that in order to become a Registered Dietitian, individuals must complete the following: Graduate from a four-year ACEND-accredited program, complete 1200 hours of supervised practice, pass the National Registration Exam, and apply for state licensure. These rigorous academic requirements and strict practice guidelines ensure that Dietitians are well equipped to serve many diverse populations in several unique settings. This becomes an increasingly important topic as having non-credentialed individuals (such as nutritionists, coaches, or even parents) can create a liability for you and your organization. Dietary recommendations that may seem innocent can cause serious complications or adverse reactions in athletes who may have an underlying medical condition. Additionally, non-credentialed individuals do not have the training or experience to appropriately advise athletes who may be dealing with an added complication such as food allergies, nutrient deficiencies, or an eating disorder. Therefore, this type of work is best left to a Registered Dietitian who regularly practices in a specialized field.
2: Sports RD’s support training and athletic performance by assessing, educating, and monitoring athletes.
During your meetings with a Sports RD, the Dietitian will conduct a thorough initial evaluation to learn more about your medical history, training schedule, performance goals, and usual dietary habits. Before giving out any recommendations, a Dietitian should gain a thorough understanding of your day-to-day life so that he or she can make the most effective recommendations. By taking an individualized approach and implementing evidence-based nutrition recommendations, you can be confident that over time you will see significant improvements in your athletic performance and general health.
3: Sports RD’s act as an integral part of Sports Medicine programs at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels
While specific responsibilities will vary depending on the program, most Sports RD’s play a significant role in their organization’s Sports Medicine department. Sports RD’s are typically tasked with helping athletes achieve optimal athletic performance, meet their weight and composition goals, recover from injuries, navigate around a pre-existing medical condition, correct abnormal lab values, secure access to food while on the road, and provide nutrition counseling related to disordered eating. By taking on a role in the multidisciplinary team, Dietitians help ensure that athletes receive the specific care they need while competing.
4. Sports RD’s have the knowledge and skill set to advise on dietary supplements.
The dietary supplement industry is widely unregulated and poses a very real threat to athletes. Supplements like vitamins, minerals, ergogenic aids, and protein powders are not regulated by the FDA, and therefore are more likely to contain harmful and/or banned substances. Athletes must be very cautious about what they put in their bodies, and they must use a critical eye when selecting a dietary supplement. It is recommended that before purchasing any new products, athletes should sit down with a Dietitian and have the product evaluated for safety and effectiveness. Your Sports RD should be able to tell you whether or not a supplement is safe to consume, as well as provide other essential information like the recommended therapeutic dose, and any potential side effects. Failing to inquire about dietary supplements can have harmful and long-term consequences – so always ask your Sports RD about any new products that you are considering taking.
5. Knowing how to fuel correctly gives you an advantage over your competition!
The Sports Nutrition field is growing faster than ever thanks to an increased value in the profession and a demand for quality nutrition information. To help support the immediate and long-term goals of your organization, consider bringing in a Sports RD to work with your student athletes. For many institutions, this an effective way to address the nutrition concerns of teams and individuals and provide your group with the necessary resources to fuel effectively. Who knows... It just might give you the competitive edge that you’ve been looking for!
Interested in working together and learning more about sports nutrition? Head to my contact page and submit an inquiry!