Did you know…up to 70% of both male and female athletes are under-fueled compared to their energy needs to support training?
Not only that, but pre-teens and teens have a lower quality diet than at any other time of life!
Participation in youth sports continues to grow. But while young athletes are training harder than ever to be their best, they are also experiencing the challenges that come with growing independence, busy schedules, peer influences, and increased stress! No wonder healthy habits and good fueling strategies often don’t make the cut.
A Sports Nutritionist can help! Read on to discover 5 breakthrough benefits of working with a sports nutritionist (plus a bonus at the end for families!)
Get that Competitive Edge:
Elite athletes know that their competitive edge doesn’t develop in team practice. It develops in the gym, in the film study, in the recovery times, and importantly, in the kitchen. What you eat and drink can propel you forward or hold you back because how you fuel your body directly affects your physical and mental energy, stamina, and focus.
No matter what your level of play, a Registered Dietitian specialized in sports nutrition can help you optimize your fueling strategy so you can bring your best to everything you do. Good nutrition can unlock your potential and be the secret weapon that might give you that edge you’ve been seeking, both on the field of play and in the classroom.
Every BODY is Different:
What works for a pro football player may not be be a good fit for a 14-year-old soccer player. And your coach or trainer may have some general nutrition know-how, but is it right for you? Everybody starts from a different place and has unique goals and challenges, so a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t really fit anyone.
Are you in a growth spurt? Are you working to be faster or stronger? Do you struggle with injury? Are you pre-season, in-season, or off-season? Do you have other medical issues that may influence your performance and fueling? A sports nutritionist is uniquely equipped to assess YOUR specific situation and develop individualized plans to meet YOUR nutritional needs to help you reach YOUR goals.
Navigate the Complex World of Nutrition:
Have you ever tried to search for nutrition info on the internet and been overwhelmed and confused by the conflicting advice you find there? Everyone seems to have an opinion, and some even present themselves as experts with no real qualifications!
A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is specially trained and qualified in nutrition science and counselling. RDNs have at least a 4-year degree in nutrition, 1200 hours of supervised practice in the field, have passed a rigorous registration exam, and are required to do continuing education to keep up-to-date with the latest evidence-based practices in the field. In other words, we’re the experts, and we keep our fingers on the pulse of new data and understanding in the ever-evolving field of human nutrition.
If you really want to perfect your shot, do you ask your mom who hasn’t played since high school, or do you look for a coach who studies the game? An RDN is your go-to coach for sports nutrition, helping navigate and simplify the complexities.
Strategies and Problem Solving:
Knowing WHAT to do doesn’t make a lot of difference if you can’t figure out HOW to actually do any of it in your day-to-day life. Are you a picky eater? Do you have cultural standards that influence your eating patterns? Does your family cook at home regularly or mainly eat carry out? How does your schedule affect how you fuel?
Lifestyle challenges often result in us sticking with our old patterns, even when we know better, because change is hard. An RDN with a behavior-based approach like me can help you identify your key challenges and develop personalized strategies for making those changes that will help most, supporting and guiding you all along the way.
Healthy Habits for Life:
As much as we may want to, no one will play forever…at least not at a high level. Hopefully, regular physical activity will continue to be part of life, but at some point, competitive sport will end. When it does, you will benefit from having developed healthy habits that can easily extend into life beyond competitive sports.
An RDN can help guide you through the transition from athlete to non-athletic regular person. Your needs change with your age, activity level, and lifestyle beyond sport. Setting up a good nutrition foundation early on makes it easier to thrive in whatever you choose to do in your life.
Bonus for Families:
Young athletes with big dreams put in a lot of hard work to achieve their goals, but they aren’t alone on the journey. Families of athletes are right there beside them, often setting aside their own health and wellbeing to support success in youth sports.
But is that a necessary trade-off? And wouldn’t families, whether on-the-go parents or tagalong siblings, also enjoy more energy, stamina, and focus? Many of the above listed benefits of working with an RDN extend to family members as well! So ask an RDN about your own nutritional needs, and don’t just survive the season when you can thrive and truly enjoy the journey…it goes by too fast.