Should You Visit a Sports RDN in the New Year? Dietitian Becca Blumberg Says Yes!
The off-season can be the perfect time to establish habits that will take you into your next training block healthy. Maybe you want to focus on sleep or additional strength training. Maybe you want to dial in your nutrition. And that’s where a registered dietitian nutritionist, a sports RDN, comes in.
Written by Becca Blumberg, MS, RDN
Edited by Pavlína Marek
The Importance of nutrition; a guide by a sports RDN
Nutrition is an often-overlooked aspect of endurance sports. However, it can make or break both your training cycle and your race. Struggling with any of the following may be an indicator that you could benefit from getting a few things in this area sorted, whether it be with the professional help of a sports RDN or your own ‘try and see what works’ efforts.
- Excessive fatigue
- Poor sleep
- Excessive soreness after workouts
- Poor recovery
- Fading or hitting the wall during long workouts
- Frequent injury
- Unexpected weight changes
In many cases, nutrition can help sort these problems out. If you feel like that might be the case for you but you’re not sure where to start, your friendly sports RDN can get you going.
Do I need to see a dietitian or can I see a nutritionist?
The short answer is yes, you need to see a dietitian. Registered dietitians have successfully completed coursework in nutrition (usually at the Masters level), an internship consisting of 1,200 hours of supervised practice, and a national exam. They are competent to work with you & take into account everything that may impact your needs to make personalized & research-based recommendations.
A nutritionist may have a similar educational background, or they may have taken an afternoon seminar. The use of this term is not regulated, so you never know how qualified the individual may or may not be. There are a lot of myths and untruths in sports nutrition, so it is important you work with someone who can help you separate fact from fiction and keep you healthy as you train and race.
What will a sports RDN do?
A dietitian will talk with you about your food preferences and tolerances, lifestyle, current training, and upcoming goals. From there, they will work with you to make some recommendations. Both your training table (what you eat throughout the day) and how you fuel before, during, and after your runs, will see some adjustments. It is a collaborative effort. Much like a running coach, a sports RDN will customize your plan to suit your needs and goals, and you will work together to make good things happen.
Where else can I find information?
There is a lot of information that can be found online about sports nutrition. Make sure that you evaluate your sources. Ideally, you are reading something written by a dietitian. Sports medicine groups like the American College of Sports Medicine (acsm.org) and the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (eatright.org) are also reputable sources. This type of information can be a great starting point. Nutrition is as much an art as a science and it may take some trial and error to find what works for your body.