Trust your sport RD

When I was finishing graduate school at FAU to earn my Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology in December 2005, I found myself obsessed with sport nutrition. I was reading every book, research article and magazine I could access in the Exercise Science department. When I heard Krebs cycle, I got excited and when we discussed metabolism of carbohydrates or anerobic training, I could not get enough of the topics. 

I became an endurance athlete in graduate school despite having very little time to train for anything. But after 4-years of collegiate swimming, something was missing from my student-athlete lifestyle and running and triathlons was my missing link. 

In January 2005, I crossed my first marathon finish line and qualified for the Boston Marathon which I ran in April of 2006, 1 month before my first half Ironman and 7 months before my first Ironman.
Yep, I got the endurance bug and it bit me hard. My boyfriend (at the time), Karel was along for the long ride after we met in May 2006. 

The more I learned about sport nutrition, the more I found myself feeling more confident with my training which was good because I found myself wanting to get faster in the Ironman distance. And without a doubt, no matter the training plan, you can't expect your body to train and race for 140.6 miles without fueling it properly and keeping it in good health.

 When I trained for my first marathon, I didn't know a lot about sport nutrition and found myself bonking quite often as I progressed to longer distances with my running. I found myself struggling to recover after workouts but dismissed that as part of the normal fatigue of marathon training. And on race day, I didn't have a well-practiced pre race meal because it was my first go-around at running 26.2 miles so a Clif Bar, Gatorade and a bagel fueled my first marathon which ended up being a pretty good run by Boston Marathon qualifying with a time of 3:38. 

After qualifying for the 2007 Ironman World Championship after my first Ironman in November 2006 by winning the 18-24 age group in 11 hours and 47 seconds, I decided that I needed to fill in some nutrition gaps with my ongoing sport nutrition knowledge, so my next venture was to earn my RD credential. 

However, I never wanted to step away from the sport nutrition field for not only was it something that I was heavily passionate about but it was also an area that I could relate to with my active lifestyle and endurance athlete background. 

Because I specialize in endurance sports, specifically triathlons and running (and single-sport cycling and swimming thrown in there too), I work with athletes who are very performance focused (regardless of fitness level) and desire a better understanding of nutrient timing, how much to eat around workouts and what sport nutrition products/fuels will be most appropriate during workouts.

But much of my work (which I enjoy very much) is dedicated toward athletes who feel limited by their restrictive or unhealthy eating regime and unhealthy relationship with the body. 

Thankfully, almost all of the athletes who reach out to me desire an improvement in performance and thus are motivated to make tweaks in the diet/fueling regime.

Each athlete has his/her own journey and that's what I love about being a sport RD. 

As a female athlete, I can identify with many of the concerns, struggles and issues that female athletes talk about on forums, social media, in the locker room or with training buddies.  

But as a health professional and endurance athlete, I strive to demonstrate my healthy relationship with food and the body and pass it along to others. I enjoy helping athletic women and men reach body composition and/or performance goals BUT without compromising overall health. 

When I titled myself as a sport-focused RD, I knew changing body image/composition was part of the "performance" package. 

But I find it extremely important that my method of helping athletes take their fitness to the next level never goes against my philosophy of making sure athletes create and maintain a healthy relationship with food and the body. 

And certainly the methods of changing body composition or boosting fitness should not be counterproductive to an athlete's initial goal of getting faster, stronger or fitter. 

There are several sport RD's out there who specialize in your sport of choice. There are also RD's who work with athletes with eating disorders.
Find the right one for you based on his/her personal philosophy and referrals from other athletes.
Take advantage of their knowledge so you can move closer to your goals and reach your full potential as an athlete without compromising your overall health.