Suzanne Nelson, Sc.D., R.D., firstname.lastname@example.org
Head, Sports Performance Nutrition
THE BENEFITS OF SPORTS NUTRITION COACHING:
As part of the high performance team, Dr. Suzanne Nelson plays a key role in helping student-athletes recognize the importance of food as fuel and to how proper nutrient selection and timing of intake can promote athletic performance and health. Specifically, athletes learn how to choose the right foods and fluids for their sport that will enhance stamina, strength and recovery, and minimize injury and illness. With the right sports nutrition game plan, a good athlete can become a great athlete. Here's how:
Increased Focus: Concentration remains consistent when foods and fluids are consumed prior to practice. Enhanced focus means better performance, less mistakes and fewer injuries.
Faster Recovery Time in Between Practices and Games: Faster recovery time means better stats, more energy and decreased chance of injury. Consuming the appropriate foods and fluids within 30 minutes post-exercise promotes muscle repair and energy repletion.
Faster Recovery Time from Injury: With optimal nutrition, the body has a better foundation for healing damaged muscles, broken bones and/or wounds. Although an injury requires time away from the regular training regimen, an athlete who is knowledgeable about how to adjust nutrition intake during "off" time will experience less body fat increase during the rehabilitation period. The result is a recovered athlete who returns to training and competition in better "sport specific form."
Weight Remains Consistent, On and Off-Season: Any change in muscle mass or body fat can impact performance. Too much body fat can lead to a decrease in speed and agility. Too little body fat can lead to breakdown of muscle mass and increased susceptibility to injury and illness. Body composition assessment in conjunction with the right nutrition plan will help maximize training and performance.
Consistent Performance: With consistent food and fluid intake, an athlete increases his or her chances of consistent performance throughout the season. This may translate into a higher rate of success and overall career satisfaction.
SPORTS PERFORMANCE NUTRITION SERVICES:
Nutrition Assessment and Nutrition Game Plan
Student-athletes meet with Dr. Nelson for a personalized nutrition assessment and to formulate a Nutrition Game Plan. This individualized plan is designed to maximize performance and considers the energy demands of training, sports-specific nutrient needs, the athlete's budget and cultural background.
As a registered dietitian, Dr. Nelson also addresses medically-related nutrition issues such as diabetes, food allergies, eating disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and nutrient inadequacies such as calcium, vitamin D, and iron.
In collaboration with Sports Medicine and Compliance, education is provided on nutritional supplements and NCAA rules.
Team talks are given throughout the year. Topics are sport specific and address challenges such as eating on the road, fueling and hydration strategies for competition, recovery nutrition, and the negative impact of alcohol on performance.
Dr. Nelson includes practical activities, such as cooking classes to teach athletes how to plan meals and basic culinary skills. She provides recipes that are easy, quick to prepare, cost-effective and supply the necessary nutrients for peak performance. Grocery store tours are also available to assist individual athletes and teams with making high-performance food choices.
High Performance Training Table
Dr. Nelson collaborates with chefs in food service and catering to plan healthful and delicious menus. The goal is to "fuel athletes for today, and educate them for tomorrow." Education strategies include providing nutritional information for foods and fluids at meals. All new athletes attend an orientation session to explain how the training table operates and how to make the best use of restaurants and groceries on campus to meet their training needs.
Body Composition Evaluation
In conjunction with the Strength & Conditioning staff, body composition (muscle and fat) is determined for each athlete using BOD POD technology. Athletes are given guidance on the importance of achieving and maintaining an appropriate range of body weight, body fat and muscle mass that is consistent with good health and good performance.
Suzanne Nelson, ScD, RD, is the fulltime sports nutritionist for Cal Athletics. She is a consultant to the San Francisco Giants and previously was the team nutritionist for the San Francisco 49ers. She served as the Director of Sports Nutrition for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Washington and as an adjunct Instructor in Nutrition in the Department of Epidemiology.
Dr. Nelson, a registered dietitian of the American Dietetic Association, has served as Chair of the Graduate Nutrition Education Department at Immaculata College, and as Clinical Director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she completed a fellowship in adolescent medicine. Additional professional experience includes Director of the Outpatient Nutrition Clinic at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Director of Clinical Trials at New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston. Dr. Nelson was also a consulting nutritionist to USA Wrestling and a member of the nutrition advisory committee for USA Swimming.
Throughout her career, Dr. Nelson has worked with a variety of athletic teams and has counseled adolescent, collegiate and Olympic athletes. She is a nationally known speaker in sports nutrition. Her work with athletes has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and she is the author/editor of several books, including Ultimate Sports Nutrition, Nutrition for Sport and Exercise, Nutrition for Young Athletes, and Play Hard Eat Right: A Parents' Guide to Sports Nutrition for Children.
Dr. Nelson earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology at Ursinus College, her Master of Science in clinical nutrition at Drexel University, and her doctorate in nutritional science at Boston University.