Why do athletes need a sports RD? A message from sports dietitian Dave Ellis
Dave Ellis and I had a chance to talk recently when he was in town for an EAS Sports Performance seminar at Athletes’ Performance Training Center. (To watch the video, scroll to bottom or click here.)
|I’m with Dave Ellis, veteran sports dietitian and we’re at the Athletes’ Performance in Frisco, Texas. I have the privilege of interviewing Dave because he is here for a seminar. So, let’s talk a little about sports nutrition. Why are dietitians so important in the world of sports?
|I think there is no shortage of nutrition advice out there when it comes to athletes but very few people can bring food to life and give it value like dietitians. That’s what they are specially good at. So, at the end of the day, athletes’ success is really built around whether they are eating properly, whether their meal patterns are appropriate. And you can have the best supplement systems in the world but at the end of the day, under-fueled athletes are very vulnerable. That’s what sports RDs do—bring home that food first message.
Neily: Excellent. What do you see is the biggest challenge when you first start working with an athlete?
Dave: Well, a lot of them have been eating on the fly their whole life. Multi-sport athletes probably didn’t grow up in the “Beaver-Cleaver” house with meals every night at home as a family. So they’ve been eating on the fly and eating at drive-thrus. Some of them don’t even know how to eat fresh produce. It is the weak link in their diet. We have bad quality meals with no fresh produce and we have very poor meal patterns—there is meal skipping going on. They don’t have much of an appetite in the morning. At a very fundamental level between their sleep, their meal patterns and the quality of the meals they have, we have our hands full.
Neily: That’s great information. What would be the take home message for somebody listening? Just one thing that you can tell somebody that would be most important, you think.
Dave: For the athlete, my advice would be don’t reach for some dietary supplement when you don’t have the fundamentals buttoned up. If your sleep and your diet quality and diet pattern and your lifestyle are all frazzled at the ends, don’t think a dietary supplement is going to patch everything up for you. I have seen too many young athletes fall prey to that thinking
- “The Best Things You Can Eat” – interview with “guyatitian” Dave Grotto (neilyonnutrition.wordpress.com)