Teach clients about healthy eating and create nutritious menus.
Major Athletes hold the enviable position of being able to eat literally whatever they want and still retain a slim, toned shape. The people to thank for this aren’t their gene-passing parents, but rather their Sports Nutritionists.
Like any Nutritionist, Sports Nutritionists create meal plans for their clients based on their daily dietary needs. Unlike other Nutritionists though, Sports Nutritionists deal with a special kind of client: They have a sports career, which at the professional level means they can, on a daily basis, burn almost twice the number of calories a regular person does. In order to plan for this huge caloric requirement, a Sport Nutritionist looks at the specific needs of the sport and Athlete, and then creates a personalized meal plan that will provide the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Before you can tell others how to eat, you need to know something about food and its chemical makeup. Being a Sports Nutritionist requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in dietetics, food and nutrition, or a closely related field.
You can get one of these degrees from a number of different schools and organizations. There are even a few online nutrition programs that let you get your degree without ever setting foot in a classroom.
Wherever you choose to go to school, prepare to spend time in classes like sports psychology, chemistry, and fitness and wellness.
After you complete your degree, you can then begin to look for jobs. Check out everything from professional sports teams to high schools to Olympic teams. Anywhere that cares for Athletes and their nutrition will hire for this position.
Though certification isn’t required (a degree is), it’s a good idea to obtain one if you want to enhance your skills and marketability. If you already have an undergraduate degree in something like nutrition, kinesiology, or athletic training, but hope to add sports nutrition to your repertoire of skills, look into getting a sports nutrition certificate. This certificate takes between one and two years to complete. Once you’ve earned it, you can take a licensing test that will set you up for a jobs like a Personal Trainer or a Health Fitness Instructor.