Sports Nutrition Training - Work with amateur and professional athletes

Improve your knowledge for the healthy sports person

This human nutrition course focuses on the relationship between nutrition and sports performance. Discover ways to enhance an athletes performance by eating the right foods.

This course will take you through the basics of nutrition and energy in the human body. You will also learn valuable tips about diets to follow, how to manage weight, the importance and use of fluids, and body composition.

Sports Nutrition requires 100 hours of study by distance learning. Work through the course supported by our highly qualified and excellent tutors.


AND if you enrol now, you will also receive a free 20 hour self-study course - Introduction To Food And Nutrition.

Learn what to eat to maximise sports performance.

Learn about Sports Nutrition - start at any time and study when an where it suits you

Many athletes have the desire to eat properly, but lack adequate knowledge and they may be influenced by inaccurate information. There is a whole industry involved in producing and marketing dietary supplements to athletes. Often supplements such as this are not what they claim.

Though there may be many guidelines to help distinguish reputable from disreputable products, the best way of eating correctly must always be to have a better understanding of nutrition.

This course teaches the student nutritional principles that they can apply to help an athlete be at the top of their game.

  • If you are already working as a fitness coach or fitness instructor - gain extra knowledge.

  • Boost your understanding of nutrition and sport.

  • Learn how to plan different diets for training purposes.

Course Structure and Lesson Content

There are 9 lessons as follows:

Lesson 1 Introduction to Human and Sports Nutrition

This lesson gives the student a basic grounding in human nutrition as it relates to sport.

  • Topics include: dietary nutrients; recommended daily intake; the balanced diet; carbohydrates (including the glycaemic index), fats and proteins.

Lesson 2 Energy

This lesson explains the concept of chemical energy and how it is produced in the human body.

  • Topics include: Calories and Kilojoules; energy systems and adenosine triphosphate; and aerobic v anaerobic respiration.

Lesson 3 Energy in the athlete’s body

This lesson examines how energy is utilised in the human body.

  • Topics include: aerobic capacity; respiratory quotient; metabolism; stages of exercise; energy sources during exercise; and protein as an energy source.

Lesson 4 The Training Diet

Looks at the principles of a training diet and how to design an effective training diet.

  • Topics include carbohydrates; proteins and the protein needs of athletes; fats; other nutrients (such as antioxidants); and meal timing.

Lesson 5 The Competition Diet

In this lesson, the student will learn about the principles behind and how to design a diet for an athlete for the days leading up to, during and after a competition.

  • Topics include: carbohydrate loading and the carbohydrate needs of athletes; guidelines for pre-competition eating; eating during competition; competition, fatigue and nutrition; and competition recovery requirements.

Lesson 6 Fluids

Explains the importance of fluids in an athlete’s diet.

  • Topics include: the function of water in the human body; fluid needs in humans; water and solute regulation in the body; electrolytes; water and body temperature regulation; fluid intake before, during and after exercise; and intravenous fluid replacement.

Lesson 7 The Athlete’s Body Composition

Teaches students about the body composition of an athlete, and methods of measuring body composition.

  • Topics include: components of the human body; body composition assessment techniques; the importance of body composition to performance; and the body mass index.

Lesson 8 Weight Management

This lesson examines effective methods for weight reduction and body fat control where they are deemed necessary.

  • Topics include: the mechanics of weight loss; why athletes may want to lose weight; “making weight” and “cutting up”; weight loss and physical performance; overweight people; weight change and low energy diets; tips for losing body fat; key characteristics of a safe weight reduction diet; and eating disorders.

Lesson 9 Training for Size and the use of Sports Supplements

Examines methods of increasing muscle mass and assesses the use of sports supplements.

  • Topics include: how to gain weight; gaining muscle mass; evaluating the use of sports supplements; types of sports supplements; and supplements and drug testing.


Learning Aims

  • To have a basic grounding in human nutrition as it relates to sport.

  • Understand 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.


Duration: 100 hours


Learning Outcomes for the Course

  • Be able to discuss essential nutrients.

  • Explain the difference between fats and oils.

  • Discuss the importance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the human diet.

  • Describe how ATP is converted to energy in the human body.

  • Identify what the difference is between aerobic and anaerobic respiration.

  • Explain how actively contracting muscles get more ATP.

  • Explain two main sources of ATP for muscles that are performing intense activity.

  • Consider substances provide the most efficient supply of energy to the human body, out of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

  • Discuss which energy sources are used throughout the exercise session.

  • Define terms including: Gluconeogenesis, RQ, VO2 max, Electrolyte, Body water balance, 
    Dehydration, Hypohydration, Energy.

  • Name 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.

  • Explain why 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?

  • 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?

  • Identify health risks of being overweight.

  • Consider possible benefits of lowered body fat in a sport.

  • Explain the difference between a dietary supplement and a nutritional ergogenic aid.

  • Suggest different meals for an athlete.

  • Research the effects of nutritional ergogenic aids.


Sample Course Extract


Protein is the source of 20 different amino acids which are essential for creating body cells. Amino acids cannot be adequately synthesised inside the body –hence they have to be obtained through eating protein rich foods.

Carbohydrate stores in the body can be quite limited, especially if there is an inadequate supply of carbohydrates in the diet.  Carbohydrates get broken down to form glucose, the primary fuel for physical activity.  Glucose can, however be produced internally from proteins and fats.  The synthesis of glucose in the body is known as gluconeogenesis.

If at least 50-100 grams of carbohydrate are not consumed daily, then the body will produce its own glucose from proteins and fats.  As such, it can be seen that if an athlete is not consuming enough carbohydrates, then their energy will be derived from proteins and fats via gluconeogenesis.  It is important to remember that most people in the western world take in more than the recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein.  In fact, most athletes in eating a Western style diet will far exceed this RDI.  Protein does contribute to the energy pool, but in reality it provides less than 5% of total energy expended.


Do athletes require more protein?

Resistance exercise is thought to increase protein requirements even more than other types of exercise.  Where increased muscle mass is a sporting goal (e.g. body building), a high protein diet is often promoted.  This is to allow protein to build more muscle. 

Endurance athletes in heavy training may require extra protein to cover a small proportion of the energy costs of their training and to assist in the repair and recovery process after exercise.  However, if the athlete does not first meet their energy needs, then the increased protein will simply be used for energy production and will do little in terms of muscle building.  Increasing protein intake to a level higher than the RDI is unlikely to result in any increases in lean tissue because there is a limit to the rate at which protein in tissues can be accrued.

The Person

Recommended Daily Protein intake: grams or protein per kilogram of body weight

Sedentary (non active) people


Strength training athletes on maintenance diet


Strength training athletes aiming to gain muscle mass


Endurance Athletes


Intermittent, high intensity training


Weight restricted


NB: Teenagers need to add 10% to these values

Protein is an essential part of the sports training diet.  It is important that athletes consume enough protein to meet their daily needs.  Where carbohydrates do not provide enough energy for training, body fats and protein will be used to drive the body.  Similarly, the extra tissue building and repair that takes place during training demands a certain amount of protein.

Average Protein Content of Common Foods

(g per 100 g of food)

Cows milk


Cheddar cheese




Beef, average


Lamb, average


Pork, average






Frozen peas


Baked beans




White Bread


Wholemeal Bread





Enrol on Sports Nutrition Today

Enrol on Sports Nutrition today and learn about appropriate diet to optimise sports performance.

  • Understand how energy is used by the body.
  • Understand the mechanics of weight loss.
  • Learn how to compile training diets tailored to the needs of an individual athlete or sports person in training or for competition.
  • Learn about fitness testing, and much more.

And, remember:


Enrol on this course and receive

  • High quality feedback from our specialist nutrition tutors.
  • Detailed and thorough course materials.
  • Excellent administrative support.
  • PLUS receive a free 20 hour self-study course - Introduction To Food And Nutrition.

If you have any questions or want to know more, get in touch with us today. You can contact us by -

Phone (UK) 01384 442752 or (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected], or use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE.