If you are looking into becoming a sports nutritionist, you’ll need to fully understand what you need to do in order to become one, and what the job entails. Obviously, f you have a love of sports, how the body works, and healthy eating, then this is certainly a career worth exploring. The following will give you a brief understanding of the education and work detail surrounding this interesting opportunity.
What is a Sports Nutritionist?
A sports nutritionist is someone who develops nutritional plans for individual athletes or entire sports teams. The goal is to allow the athlete to stay healthy and maximize their performance level. These programs are drawn up based on the needs and types of athletes they work for. Someone working with football players would have a completely different strategy than with tennis players. Much like any other type of nutritionist specialty, the plan is completely customized to the individual.
Typically, you could obtain a job working for a high school or college athletic program, or possibly working for a professional sports team. The potential for you to have a long a lucrative career is there when you consider a job as a sports nutritionist. Athletes and sports will always be a part of culture and job opportunities will always be there.
What Does a Sports Nutritionist Do?
Sports nutritionists perform a number of different duties, including:
- Planning and implementing menus for athletic teams and each athlete, in order for them to reach their desired performance level.
- Working with the administration to make sure the traveling teams are receiving the necessary nutrition.
- Teaching athletes about the importance of their daily nutritional needs.
- Working to prepare meal plans and structured menus for athletes who have specific dietary needs.
What Education is Needed to Become a Sports Nutritionist?
Although specific educational requirements may be different depending on employers, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree in Sports Nutrition, Food and Nutrition, and Dietetics.
Many employers may want their candidates to have a master’s degree in one of the specified areas, especially as you go higher up in the ranks. Having a master’s degree also means you may start out at a higher pay level than someone with only a bachelor’s degree. You may also want to consider a degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition with a minor in Sports Nutrition.
What Type of Skills Should a Sports Nutritionist Possess?
First and foremost, you should have excellent communication skills. You would also need to have good people skills, as you will work with a number of different personality types. How one individual takes in information can be completely different from another. It is important that you are well organized, and have excellent business and time management skills. A daily calendar will be your best friend.
Above everything else, you need to have an interest in health, food, diet and sports. You should also be well aware of current trends, monitor the media and read medical journals, and obtain a connection with a number of different nutritionists and other in the health and diet industry in order to always keep up on the latest developments and research techniques in your field. As a sports nutritionist, you will need to constantly be learning since clients will consider you to be an expert in the field.
What is the Job Outlook for Sports Nutritionists?
According the United States Labor Department, the outlook for nutritionists in general was up 22 percent in 2012. This trend will only continue as the general public is realizing the importance of diet and nutrition. Employment opportunities are projected to grow at an above average rate (21%). This is largely in part to a nation that is struggling to maintain healthy eating habits.
In the world of sports nutrition, the issue isn’t teaching people how to eat healthy in general, but educating your clients on the importance of certain nutrition in their diet for the particular sport that they play. It is necessary for your client to understand that in order for them to be at the top of their game, their diet and health needs to be the center of their life. Without good nutrition and the proper exercise, they will never be able to play as well as they could. Conveying that message each and every day is your number one goal as a sports nutritionist.