Sports Nutrition

Learn about nutrition in sports to help better understand sports nutrition diet, nutrition for fitness, sports nutrition supplements, and the relationships between performance, health and food.

Course CodeBRE303
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn about Nutrition in Sports

When you exercise, you use up food that you have eaten. The components of food used during exercise are to a degree, different to those components which may be used when not exercising. It therefore stands to reason that people who do more exercise may need to have and use different foods to those who do not exercise as much. The nutrition required for greater sporting activity can in this respect be different to the  nutrition required for less sporting activity.

This whole premise is however complicated by the fact that the physical characteristics (including genetics), will vary from one individual to another; and the nutritional components used in some sports will be different to those used in other sports. In effect, every situation is different; and this reason alone is why you need to understand sports nutrition in a holistic and scientific way, if you are to make appropriate choices about sports nutrition.

Consider the Training Response

Different people will respond in different ways when subjected to the same training stimulus. The form of the response to training does however remain the same for everyone. There are several stages in the response to training; and each stage is modified by several different factors. When you understand the form of a training response, and the "modifiers”, you can then devise training programs which are as close as possible to the desired affect.

The stages in the training response are as follows:

  1.  Tolerance Capacity - In the first part of training, the performance is generally adequate or perhaps better than adequate. In this phase, the person can tolerate the demands of training without excessive stress. Modifiers in this stage which effect its duration include: the level of exertion and the mental and physical condition of the person exercising.
  2. Fatigue - When the person begins to exercise beyond their capacity, the level of performance (perhaps measured by the quantity of energy being burnt), will start to deteriorate.
    The fatigue phase begins when this deterioration starts to occur. A person is in the fatigue phase when they are unable to produce an adequate response (i.e. perform tasks to an expected optimum level). The severity of training stimulus is a
    significant modifier affecting the duration of this stage.
  3. Recovery -This phase commences once exercise stops, or is reduced to a very low level, allowing energy reserves to again build, and performance potential to start increasing.
  4. Training Effect -After energy reserves have returned to "normal", they tend to continue building for a short time. The net result is that there has been a slight increase on what was the case prior to exercise. Properly designed training provides time for recovery and overcompensation to occur.
  5. Deterioration - The training effect is normally mainly a temporary effect; and without repeated exercise (and repeated training effects), there will be a "decay" over time.

This course will help you better understand sports nutrition diet, nutrition for fitness, sports nutrition supplements, and the relationships between performance, health and food.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Human and Sports Nutrition
  2. Energy
  3. Energy in the Athlete’s Body
  4. The Training Diet
  5. The Competition Diet
  6. Fluids
  7. The Athlete’s Body Composition
  8. Weight Management
  9. Training for Size and the Use of Sports Supplements

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss human nutrition as it relates to sport.
  • Explain energy and how energy is produced in the body.
  • Explain how energy is utilised in the human body.
  • Understand the characteristics of, and to be able to design an effective training diet.
  • Design a diet for an athlete.
  • Understand the principles of and be able to design an athletic diet for the days leading up to, during and after a competition.
  • Explain the importance of fluids in an athletic diet.
  • Define the body composition of an athlete, and to become aware of the methods of measuring body composition.
  • Examine effective methods for weight reduction and body fat control where they are deemed necessary.
  • Examine methods of increasing muscle mass and to assess the use of sports supplements.

What You Will Do

  • What are essential nutrients?
  • What is the difference between fats and oils?
  • Briefly discuss the importance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the human diet.
  • Define energy.
  • Describe how ATP is converted to energy in the human body.
  • What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration?
  • How do actively contracting muscles get more ATP?
  • What are the two main sources of ATP for muscles that are performing intense activity?
  • Out of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which substances provide the most efficient supply of energy to the human body?
  • Which energy sources are used throughout the exercise session?
  • Define the following terms:
    • Gluconeogenesis
    • RQ
    • VO2 max
    • TDEE
  • Name three things commonly measured during fitness tests.
  • Outline the primary differences between the nutritional needs of an athlete and the nutritional needs of members of the general population.
  • Design a diet for an athlete.
  • Why do athletes need to eat plenty of carbohydrates?
  • An athlete has just finished running a half marathon (21km). What advice would you give them to help speed their recovery?
  • Why do athletes need more fluid in their diet than the general population?
  • What are the signs of dehydration in an athlete?
  • Define the following terms:
    • Electrolyte
    • Body water balance
    • Dehydration
    • Hypohydration
    • Euhydration
    • Hyponatremia
  • Research three common ways of determining the % of body fat present.
  • Discuss the importance of body composition to sporting performance for a sport.
  • What is the difference between subcutaneous and visceral fat?
  • Research one of the eating disorders -
    • anorexia nervosa
    • bulimia nervosa
    • anorexia athletica
  • Why would an athlete want to lose weight?
  • What are five health risks of being overweight?
  • What are the possible benefits of lowered body fat in a sport.
  • What is the difference between a dietary supplement and a nutritional ergogenic aid?
  • Come up with three suggested meals for an athlete.
  • Research the effects of one of the nutritional ergogenic aids.

Would you like to learn more about good nutrition for athletes and sports people?


Why not enrol today?


If you have any questions, ask our specialist Health, Fitness and Recreation tutors - they will be more than happy to help.


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Denise Hodges

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Jade Sciascia

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