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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is sports nutrition?

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  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    Sports nutrition refers to achieving optimal performance from nutrition in the sporting area. Sports Dietitians with Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) must complete university degree in dietetics that is supported by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and then go on to complete a 4 day course at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra which specialises in optimising sporting performance through dietary strategies.

    Sports dietitians are employed in many sports such as the AFL, NRL, and Australian olympic sports to provide athetes with the edge they need to compete at their best!

    Log onto the SDA website: www.sportsdietitians.com.au to find a sports dietitian in your local area

  • John Toomey

    Exercise Physiologist

    I have a fairly unique set of skills in Wellness, Preventative Health, Longevity and Life Education, having authored Australia's first Wellness Leadership Course in 2001.  … View Profile

    It is a term and that is about it really. In my experience as a sports nutritionist, there is only one real difference between a non-athlete’s dietary requirements and an athlete’s dietary requirements and that is the volume needed to be eaten.
    There is a lot of marketing hype around sports nutrition, but most of it is unfounded hype. The human body requires nutrition to function. When it functions at higher levels of intensity and output, it just needs more. Increasing particular components over others is simply based on someone’s theory.
    You will not really gain anything from expensive supplements that you will not gain from good, natural, fresh food. However, if you are a terrible eater and do not have the discipline to do anything about it, and you are subjected to the rigorous demands of high intensity training, supplements might well help.

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    I agree with you John in regards to aiming to getting all your nutrients needed to support an athletes training needs. However, having worked alongside some experienced sports dietitians in both triathlons as well as AFL, sports supplements do have their place and some athletes use them to help reach their goals and to help with recovery after hard training sessions. One thing to stress here is that if the athletes diet is not adequate, there is really no use for sports supplements as they won't be effective.

    One thing I always advise athletes is that they should not exceed more than 2 protein supplements per day as we don't want to build up a reliance and also due to the fortification of vitamins and minerals. But yes, food first and you can't go wrong.

  • Elizabeth Newsham-West is committed to optimising the health and well-being of people across all ages within the Mount Tamborine community.  She works as a domicillary … View Profile

    Sports nutrition is about providing the correct nutrition to an athlete that is specific to the sport and level of competition they are involved in. It is about providing practical and very specific nutritional advice on how a sports person can meet their age related nutritional needs through food that also meets the extra demands for their normal growth and development and for their sport so they can perform at their best and recovery afterwards.

    Supplements for sports people should only be taken on the recommendation of reputable and appropriately qualified healthcare professionals (HCP)  (Sports Dietitians, Sports Doctors)and are given for  very specific reasons. These HCP  have the knowledge of the athletes diet, medical information and  sport they are involved in and understand the scientific research  on how they should be used appropriately and also monitor the benefits they are hoping to achieve and safety through appropriate tests e.g. blood tests.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of complementary medicines claiming to be helpful in sports performance/recovery in the fitness industry which are very expensive and especially marketed to the recreational athlete with little knowledge about all the research, detailed health and nutrition of the person going to take it and not monitored appropriately.  These medicines are considered low risk not no risk. It is important to get your information from appropriately qualified HCP in this area

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