Top Resources for Sports Nutrition
Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN, CSSD
The two most frequently asked questions I get from swimmers (and parents of swimmers) are, “Can you provide a detailed food plan for me (or my swimmer)?” and “Where can I learn more about nutrition for swimmers?”
The first question, providing a food plan, is best referred to a local sports dietitian nutritionist who is licensed in the state where the swimmer lives. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who has sports nutrition expertise (credentialed as a certified sports dietitian or CSSD) can provide an individualized nutrition plan to meet growth and development demands of young swimmers while supporting training and competition.
The RDN can also ensure that energy needs are met with the best ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat with adequate vitamins and minerals tailored to the age, gender and activity of a swimmer.
While many personal trainers try to provide nutrition advice, it is often outside the scope of their practice and training. In my 25+ years of experience as a sports dietitian, it is my opinion that personal trainers just don’t have the depth of knowledge in nutrition to provide nutrition consulting to athletes.
To find a qualified sports nutritionist, connect to the website of Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) and search in the “Find a SCAN RD” window. The website for SCAN is http://www.scandpg.org/.
The second question on finding resources is easy. However, don’t just “Google” sports nutrition, because you may get a lot of links to websites trying to sell you supplements you don’t need. Try these resources instead. For books, check out these recommendations:
Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th edition, published by Human Kinetics (2014 copyright).
Suzanne Girard Eberle’s Endurance Sports Nutrition, 3rd edition, published by Human Kinetics (2014 copyright).
Jill Castle’s Fearless Feeding, published by Jossey-Bass, (2013 copyright), and author of sports nutrition articles on this website.
For online resources, check out the United States Olympic Committee’s sports nutrition resources at http://www.teamusa.org/About-the-USOC/Athlete-Development/Sport-Performance/Nutrition. You will find many resources here including videos, recipes, and athlete eating guidelines. I especially like the athlete’s plates – a quick visual on what to eat on easy, moderate or hard days of training.
SCAN has free sports nutrition fact sheets on a wide range of topics at http://www.scandpg.org/sports-nutrition/sports-nutrition-fact-sheets/ and mom and dad may also want to look at the handouts on the cardiovascular and wellness sites of SCAN.
The Australian Institute of Sport has been a leader in sports nutrition for Australian athletes. You don’t have to go down under to take advantage of their expertise; just go to http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition to see the many free resources to help you with a healthy eating plan and to learn more about good nutrition.
Chris Rosenbloom is the sports nutrition consultant for Georgia State University Athletics and is the editor of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sports Nutrition Manual, 5th edition, 2012. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents and coaches. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.