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Benefits of Working with a Sports Nutritionist

Boosting athletic performance starts with sound nutrition. Read this free guide on the benefits of working with a sports nutritionist.
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Nutrition and diet play significant roles in athletic performance and total health picture for recreational and professional athletes. Sports dietitians and nutritionists offer guidance and expertise that helps amateur, collegiate, and professional sports teams perform at their best. This comprehensive guide explains the benefits of working with a sports dietician or nutritionist.

The Bottom Line

  • What is a sports nutritionist? Sports nutritionists offer nutritional advice, guidance, and lifestyle plans to help athletes achieve their goals and perform at their best.
  • What are the benefits of working with a sports nutritionist? Working with a professional nutritionist can improve overall health, enhance the physical condition, and improve performance.
  • How to get started with a sports nutritionist? Connect with a trained sports nutritionist and begin the conversation about your individual needs and goals.

A Sports Nutritionist Is More Than the Calorie Police

Proper nutrition is far beyond simple calorie counting. It supplies your body with the fuel and components needed for optimal health. Everyone's nutritional needs differ based on their lifestyles, activity levels, health conditions, and overall body function. Think of a sports dietitian as a personal guide, helping you understand and adopt healthy eating based on your unique needs and sports performance goals. You experience many benefits of working with a sports dietitian or nutritionist from Top Nutrition Coaching.

Better Overall Health

There is a lot of conflicting information about nutrition, and it's understandable if you feel a little confused. A sports dietitian or nutritionist like those affiliated with Top Nutrition Coaching can help you make sense of these claims and understand the link between your diet and overall health picture. Following wise eating practices can lead to improved health.

Enhanced Physical Condition

Many factors impact your total sports performance: flexibility, bone density, cardiovascular health, endurance, muscle mass, and strength. Naturally, nutrition is critical to their development. A sports nutrition specialist can show you the nutrients you need in your diet to improve all of these factors and more.

Improvements in Mood

Science shows a significant correlation between nutrition and mental health. Cleveland Clinic reports that protein, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates help the brain produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These essential chemicals boost your concentration, motivation, and mood. Sound nutrition advice from a registered dietitian can help you make smart food choices and enjoy these benefits.

Better Training Outcomes

Sports nutrition services help you get the most out of your training sessions. What you eat before and after your workouts can make a big difference. You need a blend of carbs, protein, and fat, but the proportions of these you eat will vary according to how you train. A sports dietitian can help you learn best practices that gain you a competitive edge.

Boosted Athletic Performance

Nutrition is a core element that impacts overall wellbeing, while technique and strategy increase the potential to reach your goals. Whether you're looking to run faster, move more efficiently, or improve accuracy in shooting, kicking, or throwing, sports nutrition expertise can provide thoughtful guidance you can use to enhance your performance.

How a Sports Nutritionist or Dietitian Can Help You Create Healthy Lifestyle Choices

A sports nutritionist or dietitian usually starts with an initial consultation. During this first meeting, the professional asks questions to discover your health and nutritional needs. Once the nutritionist or dietitian has this information, this person can recommend a better approach to nutrition and healthy eating habits. You'll work with your sports dietitian or nutritionist to achieve your objectives. This individual can help you make better lifestyle choices in several ways.


Both short-distance and endurance cycling require significant energy reserves. However, carbohydrate requirements tend to be high: a minimum of 4 grams per kilogram of body weight every day. For a 65-kilogram cyclist, that works out to 260 grams of carbs per day. Lean proteins are also critical both before and after race day. Individual training diets can vary, so a sports dietitian can help you understand what you need.

Long-Distance Running

The nutritional aspects of long-distance running performance are somewhat similar to endurance cycling. Protein, fat, and carbs are all vital in keeping an athlete fueled up and replenishing the body's stores after a race.

American Football

Not all football players' nutritional needs are the same. Sports dietitians recommend unique approaches based on each player's height, weight, body composition, and playing position. Yet some helpful guidelines are relevant for all players. An optimal mix of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats provides fuel, builds muscle, and aids in absorbing nutrients. Snacking is also essential, delivering both energy and nutrients throughout the day.


During basketball games, players must have sufficient energy reserves. The body stores some of the carbs we eat as glycogen, which the body breaks down into glucose as needed. Unlike endurance athletes, players are usually active in short bursts instead of long periods of low intensity. Sports nutrition recommendations for basketball players include a combination of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates to keep glycogen stores replenished and build muscle.


Sports nutrition for weight lifters typically focuses on nutrients, energy intake, and timing. The International Weightlifting Federation mentions including lean proteins with meals and snacks plus complex carbs from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Individual recommendations may vary, but weightlifters generally require higher caloric intakes than non-athletes.


Triathletes are in a whole different category. They share some nutritional requirements with endurance cyclists and runners, but the swimming portion of a triathlon also calls for significant energy reserves. Sports dietitians recommend optimizing a triathlete's diet according to training needs for each day. Eating plans should be uniquely tailored to enhance post-race recovery, off-season weight management, and maintaining optimal physical fitness.

Overall Fitness

Both professional and recreational athletes can benefit from working with sports dietitians. That's because sound sports nutrition practices can also apply to overall fitness goals. Weekend warriors and amateur athletes need nutrition and evidence-based exercise science to reach these goals and perform at their best.

Sports nutrition services from Top Nutrition Coaching can help you in many other ways. Check out our guide to sports nutritionists to find out more.

The Benefits of Working With an Online Sports Nutritionist or Dietitian Vs. Going It Alone

You may hear the terms "dietitian" and "nutritionist" used interchangeably. Nutritionists must complete formal education such as a bachelor's degree in nutrition or dietetics. Certification is required to become a registered dietitian, which usually calls for a master's degree plus successfully passing the relevant exams. Both types of nutrition professionals offer many of the same services. You can gain significant advantages by working with a sports dietetics or nutrition expert.

Nutrition Plans and Guidelines

A sports dietetics specialist's objectives include helping you make wise food choices. Your specialist may provide you with a nutrition plan to support your sports performance and health goals. This plan isn't a diet; it's a general or specialized set of guidelines that help you get an optimal balance of nutrients and calories to fuel your body.

Performance-Focused Recommendations

Your individual needs depend on the sports you play. For instance, Mayo Clinic mentions endurance sports nutrition may involve carbohydrate loading shortly before an event. While all athletes benefit from meeting optimal muscle, protein intake recommendations vary from sport to sport. Your diet can also change during training, off-season, and post-recovery periods. Your sports dietetics specialist can help you navigate these specific requirements to help you achieve peak sports performance.

Guidance for Specific Medical Conditions

Many professional and recreational athletes deal with health issues affecting their everyday lives. They need intelligent approaches to nutrition that support their sports performance goals and help manage their conditions. These include chronic illnesses such as diabetes, which impacts athletes like the Minnesota Vikings' Patrick Peterson and the Los Angeles Sparks' Lauren Cox. Food allergies also present nutritional challenges. Those allergic to tree nuts, wheat, eggs, milk, or dairy must find other means to get their protein and calcium intake. You can address these challenges once you match with a sports dietitian partnered with Top Nutrition Coaching.

Some athletes also contend with eating disorders. Athletes can face more significant risks of developing these conditions, explains the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Sports dietitians work with these individuals when treating disordered eating, helping to establish healthier patterns and attitudes.

What To Ask During Your First Free Consultation With One of Our Sports Nutritionists

Your "nutritionist near me" search led you to Top Nutrition Coaching's nutrition services. We make it easy to connect with a sports dietitian or nutritionist who understands your goals and provides solid advice to help you achieve them. You should mention the specific sports you play during your initial consultation and any nutrition challenges and medical conditions that impact your health. Asking pertinent questions also assists you in choosing a sports nutrition specialist who best meets your needs.

What Are Your Credentials?

Sports dietitians and nutritionists possess the necessary training to guide their clients. Most sports nutrition and dietetics professionals will have an undergraduate degree in nutrition or a related field like sports medicine. They should also have completed specialized training, including a dietetic internship. Sports dietitians also must earn licenses or certifications.

Sports dietitians and nutritionists work in a wide variety of environments. Some are in private practice, while others have worked for collegiate athletic departments and sports organizations. Other sports dietetics professionals may have experience working for nonprofits. Yours may even be part of a dietetic practice group. You don't need to ask your sports dietitian for a resume, but knowing this person's background can be helpful.

Of all the sports nutrition specialists who have applied to partner with Top Nutrition Coaching, only 2.5% successfully passed our extensive vetting process. We ensure that you work with top-tier professionals in the field with these exacting standards.

Have You Worked With Athletes in My Sport Before?

Sports dietetics practice accounts for the physical demands that each activity places on the human body. Our sports dietitians and nutritionists offer sound knowledge and expertise so that they can offer guidance specific to your type of activity. Our matching process starts with a short quiz to assess your needs. You then work with a matching specialist who connects you with a sports dietitian, a professional experienced in working with athletes like you.

Do You Provide Clients With Individualized Recommendations?

The ultimate goal of any sports dietitian is to help athletes based on their specific needs. Individualized recommendations and plans include caloric and nutrient needs based on a person's height, weight, body fat percentage, and energy requirements. It should also account for food preferences, existing health conditions, and disordered eating patterns. Top Nutrition Coaching's services come with personalized nutrition and lifestyle plans.

What Are Your Thoughts on Nutritional Supplements?

As many sports dietitians can tell you, the food you eat should be your primary source of nutrients. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains how several vitamins and macronutrients contribute to an athlete's sports performance. That said, some athletes may have unique needs. For instance, those who eat a vegan diet are at greater risk for deficiencies in iron, zinc, calcium, and certain B vitamins. A sports dietitian can offer specific recommendations based on your eating patterns.

How Do You Monitor Clients' Progress?

Sports dietitians and nutritionists don't just counsel you, hand you a plan, and then send you off on your own. When working with sports dietetics professionals, you're partnering with them to achieve your objectives.

At Top Nutrition Coaching, we offer several features with our nutrition services, including 12 virtual consultations plus unlimited messaging. You can regularly check in with your sports dietitian through this ongoing support. You can provide progress updates and address any challenges you're facing.

Connect With a Sports Dietitian Today

By now, you understand the benefits of working with a sports dietitian. Working with a nutritionist or registered dietitian with relevant experience can help you accomplish many goals. An experienced sports dietetics professional provides the knowledge and tools to make it possible to improve mental and physical health and maximize your potential as an athlete.

Ready to schedule that consultation? We invite you to take the next step and take our matching quiz!

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About the author

Mariel Miranda
Mariel is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lends her talents to creating valuable content that enriches communities, strengthens cultures, and moves people to change. With over ten years of writing experience and as an advocate for physiological well-being, her breadth of work extends from parenting podcasts to health and wellness pieces.

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