Last Friday, April 12th, the second year Dietetic Interns (DI) finished up their semester of seminars with an all area workshop on sports nutrition. The nutrition seminar consisted of DIs from all over the Chicago land area. Some of the topics discussed included: assessment of the athlete, sports nutrition supplements, and sports nutrition resources and skills to utilize within practice. Overall, it was a great experience to get to learn an area of dietetics that is unfamiliar to some.
Throughout this seminar, I could not help but think about my own experience with sports nutrition. In the year of 2016, I decided that I had a passion for running. A passion that consisted of running about three times per week. The longest I had ever ran was about five miles. So, it was surprising to most when I decided to sign up for the 2016 Chicago Marathon. I honestly don’t know what got into me, but I felt like if my sister could do it two years in a row, I MUST do it. Since I was the runner in the family, I had to keep up with that status. Long months of training and injury, I began to regret my decision. Yet, thanks to my stubbornness, I still went on to to do it.
After six hours, I crossed the finish line and vowed to myself that I would never go through with running a marathon again.
How does this experience relate to sports nutrition?
Being an inspiring registered dietitian (RD) to be, I knew what body needed nutritionally. I followed no plan, and relied on my education to help me. Of course, this sounds like a great idea. However, I was getting over my disordered eating and followed a diet plan that was very low from what my body needed. Therefore, the moral of this story is that nutrition matters! It’s important to assess calorie needs to accommodate for the extensive stress that running places onto your body.
Nutrition matters not only to fuel your body for events, but also, preserve health down the line. At the age of 25, my thyroid doctor revealed to me minor signs of sarcopenia in my left hip. Sarcopenia is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality, and strength associated with aging. It’s not as severe as it could be and is reversible with active strength training and healthy diet. However, if I continued with my disordered eating and intense exercise habits, my bone health would suffer tremendously.
As much as I emphasize the horror of this experience, I would not have changed a thing. This experience really taught me that my body can do great things. In return, I need to treat it with the respect that it deserves. Not everyone that works out needs to be a marathon runner. We are all different and unique in our own way. Find out what you love to do and celebrate your body in your own way.