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Athletes can perform the most sophisticated training programs on the face of the planet, but if they come in malnourished, the return on those great workouts will be greatly diminished. Poor meal patterns are a common problem in sports, as are chronically under-rested athletes reaching for stimulants-like caffeine-to get through the day, only to show up for training dehydrated, undernourished or worse. This "perfect storm" of bad habits can set the stage for higher vulnerability to injury, illness or worse. This is where reality checks from Sports RDs (RegisteredÂ Dietitians) Â who know about proper fueling and nutrition are essential.
Athletes also face real challenges with supplements. Supplement products can be contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, carcinogens or even deliberately spiked with banned substances, which can lead to a positive doping tests. It takes a savvy, well-informed Sports RD to keep pace with the endless flow of news pertaining to "food and supplement security." (Learn more about whichÂ supplementsÂ are safe to take.)
The value of the Sports RDs cannot be denied. However, most high school and some collegiate athletes lack access to such dedicated professionals. If that's your situation, you must educate yourself on how to fuel your body to optimize your performance and health.
We are posting a number of articles on this subject in which sports RDs from the Collegiate and Professional Dieticians Association discuss the critical elements of sports nutrition, including fueling, hydration and supplementation. Read these articles to ensure you have the information you need to make safe and smart fueling choices. Be sure to check back soon. In the meantime.
For more information on the CPSDA, visitÂ sportsrd.org.