Clinical, sports nutrition or self-knowledge?

If you have already entered a gym, you have certainly been suggested to consult a sports nutritionist and, if you have probably never entered a gym, you must have already thought of going to a nutritionist to lose a few extra pounds or improve your quality of life, no It is? However, when you start to understand a little more about this science and get to know a little more about its fundamentals, either through studies, the current dissemination of the media or by any other means, it certainly has the influence of trying to do it things by themselves, in a kind of self-knowledge.

sports, clinic or self-knowledge which better nutrition

However, is it really valid to consider the need for a clinical or sports nutritionist for certain audiences? Couldn't self-knowledge often be a more advantageous and viable practice in our day-to-day lives? Roughly speaking, are all physical activity practitioners in need of a sports nutritionist? And, is it not time for you to change your clinical nutritionist for a quality sports nutritionist? These and many other questions will be answered below.


To speak of nutrition is to speak of life, because, through what is provided by it, that is, the foods and nutrients available in them, it becomes possible to exist all the processes that thus enable biological existence.

However, arguably today, talking about nutrition does not seem to be talking about human food origins anymore, but about a science that dedicates its study to food in order to improve human consumption, optimizing processes related to health, with development , with the maintenance and / or obtaining of some specific or general processes. In other words, the nutrition today it is considered a biological branch that deals with the interaction of food with the human being, seeking the best properties for itself in different aspects.

In view of this premise and the evolution it has undergone in the few years of its academic existence, we can say that, like any discipline, it suffered fragmentations which elucidate different branches and work. For example, there are branches that dedicate their studies to patients with certain pathogens, other branches that dedicate their studies to preventive area, others who dedicate their studies to general clinical area and of course those who focus on sports nutrition. And without a shadow of a doubt, among the biggest subdivisions of nutrition, there are even the last two mentioned, the clinic and the sports.

These two “nutritions” are capable of covering, in the first case, all people without serious pathogens and who seek nutrition to improve the quality of life. In the second case, it is able to involve athletes and regular practitioners of physical activities who depend on a specific nutrient intake to prevent or optimize some many processes and, therefore, have a good physical performance.


However, the media is increasingly diffused on issues related to food and nutrition in general. Just open any magazines and you will see some kind of nutrition article, some kind of nutrition tip, some better way of eating or even some advertisement of some food that promotes benefits in the face of “scientific nutritional claims”. In this wave, many people feel able enough to follow certain nutritional forms or worse: to give tips or prescribe nutritional formulas. And, this is not a criticism: There are actually people who, in fact, are not nutritionists, but have an experience which makes them capable of doing so (and here there is no room for discussions about the regulation of the profession or anything like that).

But, what is the best way to make a good choice? Do all physical activity practitioners need a sports nutritionist? Wouldn't clinical nutrition cover this population well? And yet, in the face of so many particularities, wouldn't self-knowledge be the best guideline for us to get the results we want, whatever they may be?

Sports nutrition is NOT for physical activity practitioners

If you just think you need a “sports nutritionist”For the simple fact of practicing physical activities, then, ERROR! The practice of physical activities should be dedicated to each and every individual, as it is essential to human beings.

However, practicing physical activities does not make you a sportsman, nor an athlete. Many people find that their nutritional needs have increased so significantly because they are regularly engaged in physical activities. They think they need extra protein and food supplements to get results now. In reality, most of them, if well oriented by a clinical nutritionist, manage to have excellent results. In fact, as the market has been showing, with the training of many incompetent “sports nutritionists”, these are more active in a clinical way than in sports, properly speaking.

It is often unnecessary to invest money in supplementation or “sports nutritional” support, and the overestimation of these two main concepts is abundant in modern society. Most cases, if you need such hyperprotein diets, to get a sense. But it is still common for people to get clogged with chicken, whey protein and think it will bring results.

In this way, demystifying and exchanging in kids, the sports nutrition is dedicated to STRONG practitioners of physical activities. In general, sports nutrition is different from the clinic for providing requirements which are essential for a sportsman and, in fact, an accompaniment which considers totally different points, from the physical evaluation and general anamnesis to the form of prescription of the accompaniment, always seeking specific results.

But when we speak of athletes, we speak of an even more specific audience. Of course, we are talking about high performance and, mainly, a practice that does not necessarily aim at health as the first plan, but, performance.

And are all sports nutritionists able to deal with athletes or even with specific modalities, targeting sportspeople?

Sports nutrition is NOT ALWAYS for athletes

When talking about sports nutrition, I am more suited to sportspeople than to athletes themselves. What differentiates one from the other is the search for competition and possibly for profit, that is, as a profession.

In such cases, it is obviously important to have a multidisciplinary follow-up, as the athlete must be understood in its different spheres (physical, psychological, etc.). However, a sports nutritionist is not always indicated for an athlete, unless he is SPECIALIZED in that modality, that is, otherwise, he will not have a significant role in the athlete's planning and may harm him.

sports nutrition IS NOT ALWAYS for athletes

I don't want to question any working methods or professionals, but how often do I not see sports nutritionists suggesting that the athlete eat “rice with beans” and less meat, because rice and beans already have enough proteins… Or, how many are not I often see protocols for using supplements that are totally inappropriate and in ridiculous dosages. What I mean is: Often this works well and works for a sportsman, but not for an athlete, especially at a professional level.

With the lack of these professionals in the market and, even more, with the lack of someone who ALREADY ACCOMPANIES YOU (since knowing the athlete beforehand is very interesting to not have to go through the adaptation processes between client X nutritionist), many of them use the so-called "Coaches" or "trainers" who are not nutritionists and, often, are not physical educators, but, act in these spheres for having sufficient skill with a certain modality. Another alternative that is much sought after by athletes is also the knowledge and the manipulation that he does with himself in order to determine the parameters for his development. Therefore, he knows how a certain distribution of nutrients will make his body react, he will know when to decrease this or that macronutrient, increase this or that amount of food, and so on. And this is for obvious reasons: the more the athlete lives with you and understands your body, the more apt you are for such changes.

But it is more than logical that “self-help” is not interesting for laypeople who end up basing themselves on media and news and pseudo-foundations without science.

But, after all, what kind of nutrition should we look for?

The first step in knowing which plan you should pursue is identify you. You are an athlete? Want to be an athlete? Do you just play sports? You equate yourself with an athlete on many points, but don't you intend it as a profession?

Knowing where you are and how far you want to go is crucial to deciding which help to seek. You can very well get along with a clinical nutritionist, even if you are a sports player. An individual sportsman may well get along with a general sports nutritionist and, finally, the athlete must decide whether he is ready to deal with you or whether he will need highly specific help. However, we did not get this definition clearly without first following the aforementioned step of self-knowledge.

Always remember that exaggeration when not necessary, becomes harmful. Absences and omissions can also be harmful if the “more is necessary”. Therefore, understand it as a hierarchical chain of seeking help. However, always seek to know yourself, if you have enough experience for that. Certainly, you will be surprised how you can contribute to help any professional to deal with yourself.

1 comment on "Clinical nutrition, sports or self-knowledge?"

  1. Excellent text.
    Sports nutritionist has become fashionable, it's even hard to find one that isn't. Particularly, I did not adapt to the sportsman. Food for me is not medicine.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Enter Captcha Here :