Monday, 20 June 2016

Your First Appointment with a Sports Dietitian


Sports Dietitians are Registered Dietitians that have received additional training and have specialized in sports and physical activity.  The body processes and uses the nutrition you get from your food and supplements differently when your body is physically active. Knowing this, here’s a list of things that you need to prepare before your first assessment with a Sports Dietitian:

Basic Info

The Basic Info includes your age, height, weight (Measured first thing in the morning after you pee), food allergies, intolerances, religious or cultural practices involving food, past medical history and any medications, including birth control for women.  I also like to benchmark clothing size, even if it is measured by how you fit into a specific outfit, to provide a baseline comparison of future development.

Supplements

Athletes usually take many supplements to help them improve their performance, this includes protein powders, protein bars, multivitamins and even herbal supplements.  Bring a list of supplements you take.  Your Sports Dietitian can help ensure you are taking the right supplements and avoiding potential harmful (or banned) substances.

Workout Schedule

Providing your training schedule will help the Sports Dietitian best time your meal intakes to fuel your training sessions and to better help you recover from your workout or training session.  It’s also helpful to know the purpose of the training session.  For example, a hockey player may have a training session focusing on stick handling or speed skating; these are very different training goals and have to be fed differently.  For a runner, targeting hills training, tempo run or speed run would also help the Sports Dietitian know how to identify the right fuel. Knowing the Perceived Rate of Exertion also helps the Sports Dietitian make better recommendations.

Sport History

It’s important to know how long you’ve been active in your sport.  Athletes develop muscle maturity, which can impact how effectively your body uses nutrients and calories.  The longer you’ve been active in your sport, the more efficient your muscles may become at using calories, which impacts the food targets set by your Sports Dietitian.

It’s also important to bring long-term data of your performance to see trends and patterns in your competitive results.  The Sports Dietitian will work together with you to get your body ready for competitions by trying different nutrition strategies at different times to see what works best for you.

Past Injury

Many athletes have experienced some form of injury at some point in their career, it’s important to share this with your Dietitian.  The type of injury can indicate different nutritional issues that need to be addressed.  For example, many runners tend to get shin splints, cramps and knee or lower back injury.  These can all tell very different stories as to what the athlete needs in their diet to prevent these injuries from re-occurring.

Athletic Season

Sports Nutrition needs to match your athletic season.  A Triathlete training for their first Ironman race will need different nutritional recommendations at different points of their training schedule to get in the best possible shape possible for race day.  For Physique competitors and Body Builders, nutritional goals in the bulk phase are extremely different than in the cut phase.  Furthermore, make sure you let your Sports Dietitian know if you’re in your competitive season or if you’re in the off-season.


Summary

There’s a lot of information that a Sports Dietitian needs in order to help you reach your maximum potential in your sport.  Giving more information could mean the difference between First and Second place, or in attaining a new personal best.  Remember, everyone is different and so are their needs.  The more information you bring the better your Sports Dietitian will understand your unique nutritional needs.

Perhaps the most effective time to see a Sports Dietitian is in your off season as it’s very likely that they will need to get in touch with your coach to see what their goals are for you for the upcoming season and believe it or not, the off season is the best time to reach those goals in order to ensure you have the best competitive season possible.


Benjamin Sit, RD, Sports Dietitian.
The Sports Clinic - www.sportsclinic.ca

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