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When you finish this chapter you should be able to

  • Distinguish the six classes of nutrients and describe their major functions.

  • Explain the importance of good nutrition in enhancing performance and preventing injuries.

  • Assess the advantages and disadvantages of dietary supplements.

  • Discuss popular eating and drinking practices.

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of consuming a pre-event meal.

  • Differentiate between body weight and body composition.

  • Explain the principle of caloric balance and how to assess it.

  • Assess body composition using skinfold calipers.

  • Evaluate methods for losing and gaining weight.

  • Recognize the signs of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.


  • diet

  • nutrients

  • macronutrients

  • micronutrients

  • carbohydrates

  • fats

  • unsaturated fats

  • saturated fats

  • trans fats

  • proteins

  • amino acids

  • vitamins

  • antioxidants

  • minerals

  • electrolytes

  • dietary supplement

  • osteoporosis

  • lactase deficiency

  • creatine

  • glycemic index (GI)

  • glycogen supercompensation

  • calorie

  • obesity

  • adipose cell

  • body composition

  • disordered eating

  • binge eating

  • bulimia nervosa

  • anorexia nervosa

The term diet refers to the foods and drinks that an individual consumes each day. The relation of nutrition, diet, and weight control to overall health and fitness should be an issue of critical importance to everyone. Individuals who practice sound nutritional habits reduce the likelihood of injury and illness by maintaining a higher standard of healthful living.91 We know that eating a well-balanced diet can positively contribute to the development of strength, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory endurance.24 Unfortunately, misconceptions, fads, and, in many cases, superstitions regarding nutrition have a significant impact on dietary habits.64

Many athletes associate successful performance with the consumption of special foods or supplements.63 An athlete who is performing well may be reluctant to change dietary habits regardless of whether the diet is physiologically beneficial to overall health.107 There is no question that the psychological aspect of allowing the athlete to eat whatever he or she is most comfortable with can greatly affect performance. The problem is that these eating habits tend to become accepted as beneficial and may become traditional when, in fact, they may be physiologically detrimental to athletic performance. Thus, many nutrition "experts" tend to disseminate nutritional information based on traditional rather than experimental information.65 The athletic trainer must possess a strong knowledge of nutrition, so that he or she may serve as an informational resource for the athlete.17 SoR:A The athletic trainer should make an effort to establish a support team that includes a registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, or other health care professional with expertise in nutrition.17 SoR:A

An athletic trainer working in the clinical, corporate, or industrial setting may be responsible for overseeing employee fitness or wellness programs. Providing direct nutritional counseling, organizing health fairs or workshops that focus on various aspects of nutrition, and serving as a resource in disseminating information related to diet and nutrition may all be part of ...

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