How To Become A Sports Nutritionist
Being an athlete is hard work. Not only do you need to take care of your body and mind both physically and mentally, you also need to take care of your nutritious intake, to maintain your body in peak condition.
Taking up a Sports Nutritionist career is not easy. It's not just about deciding what people should eat and when, there's a whole lot more to it. A sports nutritionist is responsible for developing personalised diet plans, tailored to each individual's requirements.
A sports nutritionist must be able to evaluate and assess each individual for their diet, personal performance ability and physiological make-up, in order to be able to prescribe the correct type of program. They need to be able to take into account medical history, illnesses, injuries and physical stresses and must be able to correctly calculate Body Mass Index (BMI).
A sports Nutritionist career is a fulfilling career but is not easy and requires many hours of training and education before becoming qualified. A Bachelor's degree is required in Nutrition, Food or Dietetics in the first place and many of the nutritionist courses are related to Maths and Science. Therefore, qualifications in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Computer Sciences will stand you in good stead.
You must attend an American Dietetic Association's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) in order to receive the correct type of training and qualifications. You may also go on to be certified. In order to become certified you must graduate from a Sports Nutrition school and complete a supervised internship of around 900 hours at the relevant professional level.
An exam administered by the American Dietetics Association must then be passed and, in order to retain certification you must earn 75 credit hours from an approved continuing education program once every 5 years. Some States also require a Sports Nutritionist to be licenced. Licencing requirements vary from State to State so you need to decide which state you are going to practice in from the start. Licencing gives you the right to use professional titles.
Sports Nutritionists are also required to be able to counsel and educate athlete. You must have good interpersonal, communications and listening skills. You must also keep up to date with the latest in nutritional science and techniques and you must have a solid understanding of when to use nutritional supplements, and what they are for.
You should be prepared for at least 3 years of study before becoming qualified to apply for a Sports Nutritionist career. As more and more people the world over start to take on a more healthy and active lifestyle, so the opportunities for a career in this field increase.
If you are intending to train as a Sports Nutritionist you should be able to communicate with all types of people from all walks of life. Sports Nutritionists, whilst being more involved with sports athletes, can be consulted by anyone who leads an active lifestyle; especially those who factor exercise and healthy eating into their daily lives.
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