Sports Nutritionists: Nutrition Program For Indian AthletesBy
The importance of good nutrition program or a diet plan cannot be emphasized enough, not just for ordinary people, but especially for athletes. Athletes have a real need of a good nutrition program, as it can make all the difference to their sports performance.
Indeed, the reason why Indian athletes have never been able to reach world class levels of fitness and athletic prowess can be attributed to their poor nutrition program. Nutrition is one of the critical contributors to optimal sports performance, along with genetics and training.
Athletes need good nutrition program
Our bodies are like machines in a lot of ways, and just as you need to put quality fuel into the engine for it to perform well, it is important to give the body some high quality nutrition – otherwise it may not perform the way you would want it to.
In India, there is an urgent need for good sports nutritionists capable of designing sophisticated formal nutrition programs for our athletes. The Rio Olympics 2016 is only a few months away at the time of this writing and it does seem unlikely at this point that our athletes are going to win too many medals in Brazil.
Indian athletes suffer from poor nutritional choices and only a few have access to monitored nutrition programs designed by qualified nutritionists. The fact is athletes have a need for calories that is way higher than that of the average person. They require 2000 to 5000 calories a day. Athletes that don’t prioritize nutrition are likely to lag behind in performance as well as health.
Here’s where a sports nutritionist comes in –
- A sports nutritionist advises athletes on nutritional programs. He or she should have a perfect understanding of the effects that food have on the human body. Sports nutritionists not only study the type and quantity of food that should be taken by the athlete, but also prepare a list of the organic substances that need to be taken by the athlete competing in a certain sport.
- Sports nutritionists develop a comprehensive eating program for athletes, which would balance their intake of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to allow for optimum performance. Sports nutrition is of critical importance for athletes in sports that require strength and endurance such as soccer, hockey, basketball, running and swimming.
Necessity of sports nutritionists in IndiaIn India there is no tradition of people wanting to be sports nutritionists as Indians are not as obsessed with sports as many other countries such as USA, Australia and China. However, this has to change fast, otherwise it is unlikely that our athletes will amount to much at the international stage.
India needs a comprehensive setup in sports, and sports nutritionists are very much a part of that. Typically, sports nutritionists in countries such as the United States and Australia work for colleges and for athletic teams at the Olympic level. They work closely with athletes and design special nutrition plans for them based on their individual body types, training routines and athletic goals.
A sports nutritionist needs to have comprehensive knowledge of not just nutrition, but also sports performance. They must be capable of offering consultation to athletes on their ideal diet as well as to work within the athlete’s desired levels of physical conditioning. They should know how to help athletes achieve this optimal performance through dietary measures.
Become a sports nutritionist?
How does one become a sports nutritionist? To become a sports nutritionist, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree program in nutrition, or in a related field. Sports nutritionists who have done their masters in colleges in the U.S., are in high demand in India, especially with sports becoming such a big business in the country.
A sports nutritionist is essentially a problem solver – he or she should be able to think creatively and find unique solutions to the athlete’s problems. They must be able to communicate well and explain complex concepts in a simple language, which the athlete has no trouble understanding. They should build a friendly relationship with their clients and be a part of their success story.
Sports academies in India are always in need of qualified sports nutritionists. With the professionalization of cricket and football in the form of leagues such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Indian Super League (ISL), there is certainly a plenty of demand for talented sports nutritionists. Even sports like Kabaddi have their own professional leagues in India today.