What is the difference between you and a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist?
Anyone can be a "nutritionist." The secret is to evaluate their education and experience.
"Health Coaches" and "Fitness Trainers" are not "dietitians." They may know nutrition to a certain extent, but they are not trained in counseling or nutrition related to medical conditions. Most importantly, just because something works for them - does not mean that it will work for you.
"Eat like me...look like me" is not the right approach because this is not individualized nutrition.
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria to earn the RD credential:
Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a food service corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length.
Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
What should I look for when searching for an RD who offers sports nutrition services?
Sports nutrition is an art and a science. Investing in a high-quality nutritionist gets you more individualization, which accomplishes more for an athlete’s short- and long-term health and performance.
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are considered the “experts in food and nutrition,” but they’re not necessarily the experts in sports nutrition. Also, RDs have areas of expertise.
Understanding and applying nutrition for exercise is very different than for sport performance.
Before you invest a lot of money into a sports nutritionist, read 6 Traits to Look for in a Sports Nutritionist.
What To Look For:
Experience: Professional & Athletic
The Nutritional Advice & Approach
Nutrition Science Specialist
Credentials are important, but they’re not a deal-breaker. Depending upon your sports nutrition needs, the RD credential is very important in certain states, contingent on the laws and regulations (check your state’s licensure laws). However, I argue that the RD credential is different when it comes to sports nutrition.
As someone who completed the dietetics curriculum, I can tell you it’s NOT intended for those who are solely interested in sports nutrition. It focuses heavily on clinical nutrition (medical nutrition therapy) and food service/management. This knowledge is important (you will have athletes with medical conditions), but is not enough for sports nutrition. Typically, the sports RD learns about sports nutrition on their own.
Regardless, a nutritionist should have some type of credential (undergraduate and/or graduate level) that certifies them as a nutritionist. For example, I know PhDs in exercise science and/or nutrition who are not RDs, but are better than RDs when it comes to sports nutrition. Conversely, if someone has a PhD in nutrition, it doesn’t mean they know how to work one-on-one with an athlete or understand the real-world challenges that athletes face.
Knowledge is power, but being able to apply knowledge is even more powerful.
Understanding and applying nutrition for exercise is very different than understanding and applying nutrition for sport performance.
For performance, a major trait in athletes is their desire for the 1% performance benefit (marginal gains). This is where certain supplements that are ergogenic aids and have stood the test of time in research come into play. If a nutritionist is not a competitive athlete, then that may be a red flag. They do not understand ergogenic aids that are only ergogenic in supplement form (e.g., creatine, beta-alanine, etc.).
How does the nutritionist approach their programming? The typical services provided by an RD include one-on-one counseling. However, what are they specifically providing in their services? A meal plan? That’s great. Too bad meal plans don’t work. For example, many athletes cannot procure the foods in a meal plan.
Is the nutritionist only educating? Doing things like posting nutrition tips around a locker room? Education is important, but it’s only part of the solution.
Here comes a major difference and selling point: testing. If you’re not testing, then you’re guessing. (Sometimes it’s not feasible to test certain things, which I understand.)
How many calories do you need per hour? How many of those calories should come from carbohydrates? This is why I invested in a top-of-the-line metabolic cart. As an athlete, I was tired of cookie-cutter recommendations from sports nutrition “guidelines.” I removed the guesswork. I’m looking forward to seeing how my muscle glycogen testing (using ultrasound) further helps me pinpoint and resolve athletes’ efficiencies and inefficiencies.
Optimizing performance starts with optimizing the blood. An important aspect that few RDs and doctors consider is when an athlete is at the low or high end of a “normal” range for a lab value. Blood test normal ranges can be arbitrary.
Advice should not be general; it must be athlete-specific. Applied sports nutrition science that offers a toolbox of tests provides nutritional programming that is more personalized and solid.
Can you travel to homes, training sites, etc.?
Yes. There is a travel fee, which depends on travel distance.
Do you accept insurance?
Unfortunately, OYMN does not accept Insurance. Acceptable payments include: cash, check or credit card.