What Is a Sports Nutritionist?


Quick Answer

According to Education Portal, a sports nutritionist provides advice to athletes about diet, exercise and the use of supplements. Sports nutritionists also help athletes design training schedules, monitor progress towards fitness goals and measure body composition. Unlike general nutritionists, a sports nutritionist provides diet plans that boost athletic performance and assist in post-workout recovery.

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Full Answer

A sports nutritionist is a specialized dietician/nutritionist. There are a number of different organizations that provide education and credentialing for sports nutritionists. The American Dietician Association offers the Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics credentials to registered dieticians who pass an exam, according to Education Portal.

The International Sports Nutrition Society offers certification examinations and lists individuals who meet certain qualifications as certified sports nutritionists on the organization's website.

The American Fitness Professionals & Associates provides a certification program in sports nutrition. The program is a home-study unit followed by an examination to earn the certification. The National Association of Sports Nutrition offers licensing and certification of sports nutritionists as well.

Some states require dieticians and nutritionists to be licensed before working as nutritionists, according to Education Portal. Requirements vary by state, but most simply require a degree in a relevant field, a certain number of hours of work experience and the ability to pass an exam administered by the state. For example, in New York, an individual with a bachelor's degree in nutrition and six months of work experience could become licensed to work as a nutritionist in that state, according to the New York State Education Department.

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