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Fueling an Olympian
Have you thought about what it takes to fuel an Olympian? London eagerly awaits the arrival of 10,500 athletes from over 204 different countries, but the athletes will not be the only ones there. This year, the U.S. Olympics Committee will be sending more sports dietitians to the games than ever before, along with the 600 American athletes competing.
These sports dietitians tend to all be in consensus that when it comes to their athletes, individualized nutrition plans are best. This is largely due to the fact that every athlete is different and has varying nutritional needs depending on his or her particular sport.
Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, has interviewed various nutrition experts who work with Olympic athletes in a recent article entitled "London Calling: Sports Dietitians are Preparing World Class Athletes for Olympics" published in Food and Nutrition magazine by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She interviewed Shawn Dolan, PhD, RD, CSSD, a senior USOC sport dietitian, and the nutrition coach for several Olympic sports who finds that “blanket nutrition is not always helpful.” For example, “the field hockey goalie is different from the midfielder who might run several miles during a match; so altering dietary intake based on physiological demands of the position is important.”
This same individualized approach can be applied to anyone; not just Olympic athletes. If you are an athlete looking to improve your performance or even just an average Joe (or Jane) looking to get in better shape, consider consulting with a dietitian in your area, remembering that what worked for your co-worker or brother-in-law may not necessarily be the most effective plan for you. Whether you take this advice this year or sometime in the future, be sure to tip your hats to the sports dietitians that have aided your favorite Olympians, fueling them nutritionally to perform their best in the 2012 games.
The picture you see is of me and Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated American winter Olympian of all time!