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The Need for a Systematic and Periodized Approach to Nutrition Coaching

Teaching Athletes How to Eat to Accommodate Energy Fluctuations

Benefits of a Periodized Approach to Nutrition Coaching

Athletes are continually looking to improve performance, whether through skill development & training, sport-specific training (e.g., cardiovascular fitness), or improved physical conditioning. Training and nutrition go hand in hand to meet these goals. Consistent, proper daily nutrition is vital to provide sufficient performance fuel, aid proper growth, and recovery, help avoid injury, and decrease the probability of overtraining. 

As trainers and coaches typically have contact with their athletes several times a week, they are in a unique position to oversee an athlete’s training and assess and observe the nutritional status of the athlete. This is done in a systematic fashion. 

Addressing Your Athlete’s Nutrition Goals

The first step is addressing the athlete’s overall nutrition goals. All areas of the athlete’s lifestyle are evaluated. Next, the specific needs of the athlete, the demands of the sport, and their specific position in the sport are assessed. In this battery of assessments, the coach or trainer will also inquire how the athlete eats, their perspectives of food, and the typical nutrient intakes for them on a given day. 

Creating a Nutrition Plan

Nutrition plans need to be personalized to the individual athlete while taking into account the specificity and uniqueness of the event, performance goals, practical challenges, food preferences, and even athlete responses to various strategies. This should make sense. But coaches and trainers also need to be able to apply this information and inform their athletes of how the process relates to them in very practical terms. 

Teaching Athletes How to Eat to Accommodate Energy Fluctuations

Just as trainers and coaches will periodize their athlete’s training to achieve top physical conditioning for an event, nutrition can and should also be periodized. Nutrition-related goals will be specific throughout an athlete’s training periods. Such goals include body fat loss, muscle growth, rest/recovery, etc. In this way, nutrition plans are periodized to mirror current athlete training variables.

Therefore, when a coach or trainer creates periodized nutrition strategy, they align daily and training nutrition practices to support the varying energy needs of athletes as they progress through different training cycles throughout the year.

Teaching athletes how to eat to accommodate their energy fluctuations is the primary goal of nutrition periodization. At a minimum, the coach or trainer will address how some athletes will need to be fueled to train hard enough to reach a maximal load stimulus while also targeting a reduction or delay in the onset of fatigue, specifically significant during events. This also protects our athlete clients from losing focus and risking injury. At more elite levels, one can express more creativity in nutrition planning. Overseeing a broad spectrum of athlete needs is part of the reality of being a good coach and trainer. 

Where Can You Learn More?

Be on the lookout for future articles about more ways to get an endless stream of clients for your training or coaching business. You will also want to search through the archives of our blog because there are many other articles that go into great depth about dozens of other ways to get clients.

NESTA and Spencer Institute has been helping people like you since 1992. To date, over 65,000 people from around the world have benefited from our various certifications, programs, continuing education courses and business development systems. We are here for you now and in the future. Feel confident in your decision to work with us as you advance your knowledge and career. We are here for you each step of the way.

The NESTA Sports Nutrition Specialist course is designed for personal fitness trainers, strength coaches and nutrition experts who want to learn cutting-edge techniques for increasing sports performance, reducing recovery time, and enhancing the overall well-being of your clients and athletes.

If you want to help clients with food, diet, weight management and improving the results of their fitness routines, the Fitness Nutrition Coach course is for you. You will learn about optimal nutrition, including proven techniques for increasing energy, optimal health and decreased dependence on medications. Instantly increase your job and career opportunities with this popular professional credential.

Click this link to see our complete list of programs (all of which qualify for CEUs for our programs and others).

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