Fit Sports Nutrition Tax 2

Sports Nutrition

Sports nutrition is the study and practice of diet and nutrition with regard to improving athletic performance. While the term “athlete” embraces a wide variety of sports professionals, those who compete in weight training, runners, and endurance sports are all considered athletes as well, and can benefit from uniquely-tailored nutrition.

Different from basic nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, and nutrition geared toward weight loss, sports nutrition is carefully planned to enhance performance.  A registered dietitian who specializes in sport nutrition, or CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics), can plan not only adequate nutrition and hydration, but also help plan the timing of these elements to help athletes perform at their peak.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of sports nutrition?

    The benefits of sports nutrition are multifaceted and include: improved performance, reduced recovery time, reduced muscle soreness, improved sleep quality, reduced injury risk, and decreased stress levels. In short, a sports nutrition protocol can help an athlete perform their best.

  • Why is nutrition important in sports?

    Nutrition is important in sports as it impacts performance. Proper nutrition can also enhance recovery and sleep, two factors that closely impact performance. Timing of meals is more important for athletes than the general population—consuming food too close to activity can hinder performance, and it is important to consume the proper combination of foods so as not to cause digestion issues.

    An individualized nutrition plan can aid athletes in achieving specific goals while also adhering to their food preferences. Sports nutrition helps to assess hydration status and prevent and treat injury.

  • What do athletes typically eat?

    The diet of athletes varies from sport to sport. While the proper balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat), and their timing, is crucial, athletes also benefit from diets rich in antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress on the body and to aid in repair. Other nutrients, such as iron, vitamin D, and electrolytes are key in an athlete's diet.

    A registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition, or a qualified professional who has earned their CSSD, can plan adequate nutrition and hydration, while educating on the timing of these elements for peak performance.

  • How is sports nutrition different from general nutrition?

    Sports nutrition differs from general nutrition in that it is performance-specific and therefore, at times, time-specific. Most athletes benefit from more carbohydrates than the general population, and have higher hydration needs.

  • What foods should athletes avoid?

    Athletes will likely want to avoid foods that may negatively impact performance but can generally enjoy all foods within a balanced plan that meets their individual needs. For example, athletes may choose to avoid high fatty foods, such as fried foods, which take longer to digest and may negatively impact performance. Fiber intake should also be planned strategically to avoid digestive issues before or during performance. The types of foods that should be limited will be athlete and sports-specific.

Key Terms

Anti inflammatory diet foods
Top Foods for Sports Injury Recovery
woman drinking a protein shake
Protein Shakes: Is Before or After a Workout Best?
women enjoying snack bar post-workout
Post-Workout Supplements: Are They Worth Trying?
Girl looking at mini pancakes seemingly sad.
6 Diet and Exercise Truths You Need to Know
Hydrating after exercise
Water or Sports Drinks—Which is the Best Choice for You?
woman eating fruit
9 Vitamins and Minerals That Aid Sports Recovery
Woman eating a sandwich
What Happens When You Don’t Eat After Working Out? 
Woman drinking water at the gym
What and When to Eat and Drink During Exercise
man drinking protein shake while hiking
Protein Shakes—Should You Drink One Even on Rest Days?
Two men after a workout
Should You Eat Before or After Working Out? 
Woman getting ready to play tennis
How Energy Drinks Impact Your Workout
meal prep container with chickpeas and grains
What is Carb Loading and How Do You Carbo Load?
Dehydration: Causes, Signs, and How to Prevent It
Woman drinking sports beverage
All You Need to Know about Electrolyte Drinks
Turmeric powder on a small plate
12 Healing Foods for Injuries
Man cycling
Eat to Compete: Triathlon Nutrition Tips You Need to Know
health benefits of whey protein
Everything You Need to Know About Whey Protein
Sports Drink
Is That Gatorade You’re Sipping Actually Harming Your Health?
Dumbbell, drinking bottle, fruit bowl and smartphone with earphones
An Overview of Sports Nutirtion
Weighing on the scale
An Overview of Reducing Body Fat
Sportswoman eating an apple
Vegetarian and Vegan Athletes Can Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet
Man with sport nutrition
Do Pre-Workout Supplements Improve Your Strength and Performance?
Training hard
Is Muscle Protein Synthesis the Same as Muscle Growth?
Close-Up Of Protein Powder In Scoop On Table
Why EAAs in Protein Make a Difference for Muscle Growth
Dumbbells on Rack
How Excessive Weight Loss Affects Female Bodybuilders' Bodies
Pre Workout Meals
The Best Pre-Workout Snacks to Keep You Going
Glass of pomegranate juice and wooden spoon with pomegranate seed on wooden tray
Does Pomegranate Juice Improve Muscular Strength?
Beet juice
How Does Beet Juice Improve Athletic Performance?
Vitamins in bottles
Can You Really Overdose on Vitamins?
Skip your heart out
What is Fasted Cardio: Evidence-Based Benefits and Risks
Baking Soda for Athletic Performance
Boost Your Athletic Performance With Baking Soda
Can Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?
Chocolate milk
Is Chocolate Milk Good for Workout Recovery?
An Overview of Supplements in Sports Nutrition
glasses of milk
Should You Drink Milk Post-Workout for Muscle Growth?
BCAAs Preserve Muscle While You Reduce Calories on a Diet
What's the Story With Soy Protein and Weight Training?
"More Is Better" Doesn't Necessarily Apply When Trying to Build Muscle
Man and woman working out with a medicine ball
What is Low Testosterone and How to Boost Testosterone Through Food
Meal timing
What and When to Eat for Weight Training
Vegan Bodybuilding
Can a Bodybuilder be Competitive as a Vegan?
Barbell and pills and syringe
Why Anabolic Steroids Are Banned in Bodybuilding and Weightlifting
plate of chicken, rice, and sweet potatoes
How to Eat for the Best Athletic Performance on Race Day
Why Nutrition Is the Key to Losing Body Fat
raw pasta
All You Need to Know About Carbohydrates: Simple, Complex, Fiber, and What to Choose
Mixer with fruits in the kitchen with young woman in the background, Bavaria, Germany
Eat Your Way to a Beach Ready Body
Eating banana during training in gym
How to Bulk on a Budget
Women friends with yoga mats and coffee talking outside gym
Should You Drink Coffee Before a Workout?
Hands Reach for Naples-Style Pizza
Meal Swap Ideas You Can Enjoy and Feel Good Eating
Oatmeal porridge, healthy breakfast food
Why Do Athletes Need Carbohydrates?
a woman looking at her plate of food with disgust
Orthorexia Nervosa—The Extreme Form of Clean Eating
Quercetin Foods
How Quercetin Foods Reduce Muscle Inflammation
egg scramble with sweet potatoes and spinach
What to Eat After a Workout: Post-Workout Nutrition, Timing, and Tips
Nutritious Diet
Nutrition's Role in Physical Fitness
Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter as a Sports Superfood
A variety of alcoholic drinks
Can Alcohol Impair Muscle Growth and Fitness Levels?
Top 12 Nutrient-Packed Snacks for Optimal Fitness
Juicing at home
What Is Hyperoxaluria Caused From Juicing?
Low section of man checking weight on scale in gym
Did Diet and Exercise Damage My Metabolism?
Female weight lifting with barbell
A Nutrition Guide for Bodybuilding Competition Prep
Page Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Beck K, Thomson JS, Swift RJ, von Hurst PR. Role of nutrition in performance enhancement and postexercise recoveryOAJSM. 2015;6:259-267. doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S33605

  2. Doherty R, Madigan S, Warrington G, Ellis J. Sleep and nutrition interactions: Implications for athletesNutrients. 2019;11(4):822. Published 2019 Apr 11. doi:10.3390/nu11040822

  3. Kerksick CM, Wilborn CD, Roberts MD, et al. ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendationsJ Inter Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):38. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0242-y