What Does A Sports Nutritionist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Sports Nutritionists

Sports Nutritionists are primarily responsible for analyzing the nutritional needs of athletes. They help athletes perform better by developing menus and diets that accommodate their training goals.

Bachelor's degree
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Sports Nutritionists are Nutritionists who advise athletes on their diet and nutritional regimens to improve their athletic performance or promote recovery from injuries.

Working as a Sports Nutritionist involves assessing the dietary practices and current performance of athletes. After assessing an athlete, a Sports Nutritionist may provide advice on achieving specific health and fitness goals such as maintaining body mass, body fat, or muscle mass.

Sports Nutritionists may also develop menus for teams or coordinate the nutrition of athletes during travel.

What they do

Sports Nutritionists are primarily responsible for analyzing the nutritional needs of athletes. They help athletes perform better by developing menus and diets that accommodate their training goals.

Assess the Nutritional Needs of Athletes

Sports Nutritionists perform exams and assessments to evaluate the health of athletes. They may ask the athlete about their diet, exercise, and other habits. Based on the assessment, the Sports Nutritionist can determine if an athlete is receiving proper nutrition.

Develop Meal Plans and Provide Nutritional Advice

After listening to the needs of the athlete or patient, the Sports Nutritionist often develops a customized program. This may include a complete meal plan or basic nutritional advice. For example, an athlete may need to lose weight or gain weight. The Sports Nutritionist can help the athlete determine how many calories to consume to reach their goal.

Collaborate with Others to Develop Special Diets

When working for a sports team or a sports department, Sports Nutritionists may collaborate with other experts, including team Physicians and Rehabilitation Specialists. Sports Nutritionists may also collaborate with Cooks and Chefs to ensure that meals meet the nutritional needs of the athletes.

What is the job like


You Get to Help Athletes Reach Peak Performance

It can be quite rewarding to see athletes excel based on your nutritional advice.

There Are Self-Employment Opportunities

Many Sports Nutritionists are self-employed, which offers flexible scheduling and greater freedom.

You May Not Need a License to Practice

Unlike Dieticians, Sports Nutritionists do not need to obtain a license to offer nutritional advice in most states.

You May Get to Travel to Other Regions

Sports Nutritionists who work for sports teams may travel with the team for road games. The demand for Sports Nutritionists also provides job opportunities in a wide range of regions.


People May Not Listen to Your Advice

Athletes may not always follow your advice, limiting the impact of your work.

You May Face Pressure to Produce Positive Results

When an athlete underperforms, Coaches and other members of the staff may blame anyone, including the Sports Nutritionist.

Where they work

Sports Clinics
Healthcare Facilities
Sports Organizations
Colleges and Universities

Sports Nutritionists may work at sports clinics and other facilities that provide nutritional or dietary advice to patients. They may also be employed by sports organizations, universities, and colleges. Some Sports Nutritionists are self-employed. However, working as a freelance Sports Nutritionist often requires many years of experience.

How to become one

Step 1: Learn More About Nutrition

Some high schools offer classes in Health and Nutrition, which may provide foundational skills for becoming a Sports Nutritionist.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Sports Nutritionists need at least a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Nutrition, Dietetics, or Clinical Nutrition.

Step 3: Obtain an Internship

Internships are often needed to gain the experience required for entry-level jobs in Sports Nutrition.

Step 4: Look for Entry-Level Work

Many internships eventually become entry-level jobs. You may start by assisting experienced Sports Nutritionists.

Step 5: Become a Registered Dietitian

Most states do not require licensing for Nutritionists. However, becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD) through the Commission on Dietetic Registration may increase your career opportunities.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Sports Nutritionists are often extroverts with friendly personalities, which is useful when treating a wide range of patients. The top Sports Nutritionists are also good problem solvers as this job revolves around addressing nutritional problems. You should also have an interest in helping others and a passion for healthy living.

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