Guidelines to Pave the Way for a Career in Sports Nutrition

In the 21st century, with growing awareness of the importance of staying fit and healthy, fitness freaks have no dearth of opportunities or careers. Be it personal training, counselling or guidance, there is now a whole world of careers centered on fitness and health. Sports Nutrition is one of these many fields which offer careers for experts. If you are a fitness freak yourself, well-versed in the tricks of the trade, and would like to inspire and guide others on the road to physical nirvana, a career in sports nutrition would be perfect for you.

What a Nutritionist Does

You might confuse nutritionists with dieticians, but in reality these two professions are worlds apart. Nutritionists are not permitted to provide advice or consultation to individual patients, as that is the job of a certified dietician. The role of the sports nutritionist lies in

  • Active research and implementation of scientific knowledge to advise and facilitate the wellbeing of athletes.
  • Nutritionists may work independently or under government assignments to conduct experiments and spread awareness about health.
  • Educating as well as offering internships and volunteer spots on projects.
  • Analyzing and processing biological samples to determine the future of a particular project.

Characteristics of a Good Nutritionist

Any sports nutritionist worth his salt should be a creative thinker, who is able to think beyond conventional methods to devise the best possible nutrition plans for sportsmen. They must have excellent communication skills, be very approachable, and not have any reservations or a judgmental attitude, as this encourages all athletes, teams and groups to come forward and be completely honest with their needs, thus speeding up the entire process. Nutritionists normally do not work alone, and hence must be ready to work with a team, and should have good managerial, organizational and planning skills. It is extremely important for them to be knowledgeable and proficient in research, as this may be the deciding factor for many situations.

How to Get Certified

Certifications and credentials vary based on location, but a step-by-step routine can be followed to gather most of the necessary accolades.

  • Firstly, after completing high school, the prospective applicant must opt for and achieve a Bachelor’s degree in sports nutrition or a related program covering dietetics and nutrition, like the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) offered by several institutions all over the world).
  • Many firms, teams and organizations believe that state licensure is a must, so you must do some research as to what steps are necessary to pursue and achieve this license. The most general way to achieve the same is by enrolling in supervised internship programs which provide a huge amount of knowledge as well as the experience of working in the field without the pressures of losing a job.
  • To become a registered sports dietetic technician, you could also opt for a two-year Associated Degree with an accredited institution.
  • After your internship or degree, you must also pass a written exam conducted by the government or the governing body for sports nutritionists in your country or state.
  • It is also known that those with a background in the sports business enjoy an advantage as well.

If you wish to pursue a serious career in sports nutrition, getting licensed and owning the necessary credentials is imperative.

The Final Outlook

The scope of your job as a sports nutritionist really varies with the credentials you own and the level at which you are working. For example, high-school sports teams and national level sports teams are poles apart in terms of job responsibilities and pressure. A number of educational institutions are also including sports nutrition as a mandatory aspect of their athletic departments. Government funding, too is on a high, hence a number of organizations are actively recruiting and hiring expert nutritionists. This is most definitely a very promising career option for you.

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