Fitness Friday: Things to think about when meeting with a sports dietitian

One of my goals for 2015 is to look at all aspects of my training beyond just the physical part to attempt to improve on my running performance. I’ve made huge changes to my workouts, running mileage and cross training in the past year (greatly over the past 6 months). For the past couple years I’ve toyed with the idea of meeting with sports dietitian but haven’t found the time to pursue it. A few weeks ago I met a local elite runner who spoke to our MRTT group and she gave me information on the person she had worked with. So why not?

Over the past few months I’ve been researching different sports dietitians/nutritionists but haven’t found the perfect fit. There is a lot to consider before paying someone to critique your eating and work with you to improve. Honestly I’m not sure I want someone to see that I may sit down and eat almond butter by the spoonfuls!

Things to consider before working with a sports dietitian
  • What is there education and certification? A registered dietitian (RD) completes either undergrad or graduate courses and sits for a national certification exam. There are specialty exams to become a sports dietitian as well.
  • How long have they been in practice and have they worked with endurance athletes? With the large amounts of nutrition programs popping up, heck I got a Groupon last week for program to become a Nutritionist in 6 weeks! It is essential to know their background, have they worked with other runners and what was their success. Ask around for referrals. Did they just start or have they been at this and stayed up to date on current knowledge.
  • Are they accepting and knowledgeable about specialty diets? I have been to a few sports medicine conferences and listened to talks by dietitians who respond on vegetarianism and how athletes need animal products in their diet. As a vegetarian it is essential for me to work with someone who won’t make it their goal to change my eating preferences. As well as they need to be knowledgeable on celiac, not only gluten free diets but the physiological basis of the disease.
  • How much will it cost? Some insurance will cover meeting with a dietitian but rarely for sports performance purposes. There will be an initial consultation fee and follow up fees that need to be considered. Make sure to know what is included or if packages are available. Also can you get a free short meeting to see if you and dietitian click?
  • Will they want to know about more than just food? This is critical. Yes the big part is food intake but also knowing when you eat, why you eat what you do is key. Beyond that is there underlying issues medical and beyond. In my paperwork I was asked about recent labwork, stress levels, current and ideal weight, sleep and more.
  • Today I will be meeting with a sports dietitian for a short “meet and greet” to talk about how she can help me, my goals and more. We will use this time to see if we can work together and set up a more in depth meeting if we are a fit. I have been tracking food for her (yes all food!). I’ll keep everyone updated on my journey with her. My goals as of now (these may change as we talk) are to figure out my needed intake and the breakdown throughout the day and between calories/fat/protein.

Have you worked with a sports dietitian? What did you learn or what would you want to learn from one?

Linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

The Manitoba Harvest Winner is Natalie P! Congrats 


  1. Great info Jen! I haven't worked with a sports dietician but I'm currently working with an RD/Nutritionist. Best decision ever!

  2. Very good and timely. I am meeting with a coach on Monday who has nutritionists on his team and this is useful to help me prepare for that discussion. Nutrition is my weak area - and specifically junk food binges. If they would only stop selling girl scout cookies and serving cookies in meetings at work!


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