book now

Why you need a Sports Dietitian on your (personal) team

articles Feb 01, 2024

Let's clear something up straight away.

A sports dietitian is NOT just for the elite athlete.

Perhaps you are beginning regular Saturday sport or working towards amateur level competition; you may be a recreational cyclist setting your sights on hill climbs or a weekend warrior striving for the next Spartan event. Whichever group you fall into, as an active individual having a sports dietitian is going to change how you achieve success.

Sports dietitians can take the guesswork out of food

Even as athletes, there is still the tricky aspect of knowing what to eat, how much to eat and how to put it all into place.

For most, the end goal is to be able to perform at your absolute best in a safe and ethical way. As your day-to-day routines, goals and training loads shift (because they should and will vary from time to time), so too are your nutrition needs. By adding a nutrition expert to your crew, you know that together you can troubleshoot your food dilemmas. 

A sports dietitian will always start with interpreting nutrition guidelines, based on your age, gender and level of activity to ensure you meet the foundation principles of healthy eating. There is often no point supplementing or tinkering with your diet if the every day is missing!

Taking into consideration the type of sport you play, a sports dietitian will then determine what type of fuelling you will need. Going one step further - the position you play also determines what you need to eat. For example, in the game of cricket - fielding for long periods needs a nutrition regime that provides slow release energy stores and good hydration to support playing in the sun, compared to the batsmen, who on the contrary needs more quick energy options to support high concentration levels.

Throughout your season, there will be shifts in your training load, or tapering before a competition and of course, competition day. Generally, your eating habits need to be moulded to these situations and a sports dietitian will take the stress out of knowing what to eat, when to eat and how much when things do.

What happens when you become injured? What happens when you're on holidays and or travelling?

This tends to be the biggest reason athletes have their nutrition coach on board, because the less you need to stress, the more time you have to focus on your game.

Sports dietitians are all about being practical

It's one thing to know what macronutrients you need, but putting it into meal is another thing.

So much of good nutrition is about ensuring you (and your family) understand how nutrition translates into every day foods and also having the practical skills to prepare and eat nutritious meals. A sports dietitian will provide hands-on practical strategies to overcome potential barriers to accessibility and availability of food whilst being mindful of your busy lifestyle.

Hydration also plays a huge part in preparation for competition or race day, and learning the best way to begin this well before your event is key. Again, looking at simple and practical ways to work with your body (rather than just loading up the night before!) is important so you feel comfortable leading into the big day.

  • Increased energy levels
  • Establish a positive relationship with food
  • Ensure adequate growth, development and maturation
  • Prevent injury, illness and fatigue or “burn-out
  • Improved concentration and cognitive function
  • Improved mood and motivation
  • Optimised immune function
  • Adequate hydration
  • Improved gut health and management IBS symptoms around training and competition
  • Management of body composition
  • Manage exercise and chronic conditions eg. Diabetes

More added benefits of having a Sports Dietitian around

Working toward fitness goals often also go hand in hand with changes or advancements in your body shape.

A sports dietitian must have completed additional training and credentialing to undertake skinfold measurements which are integral in managing body composition. This ensures that best practice standards are upheld, with a strong focus on a first-do-no-harm approach.

If supplementation is required, speaking with a sports dietitian provides reassurance that whatever product is prescribed aligns with evidence based supplement policies and protocols and is safe to consume.

Another benefit to engaging with a sports dietitian is that they work with your sporting club and/or coaching staff. Whether you are an individual or team sport athlete, a collaborative approach means everyone is there to support you on your personal journey to achieve your sporting goals, whatever they may be.

If you would like to chat more about your personal nutrition needs or is interested in knowing how a sports dietitian could enhance your daily performance, book an appointment today with a resident Sports Dietitian, Emma Fielding.

*Content included on this site is prepared as general information only. It is not advice and should not be substituted for personal advice which takes into account your individual health, financial or other circumstances.