Sports Nutrition Professor Q & A with Anna Turner
We sat down with Anna Turner, RD and Sports Nutrition professor, to discuss nutrition, online education and career options for students interested in a sports nutrition career. Read our Q & A withAnna below to learn more.
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Q: What made you interested in studying nutrition?
A: I grew up as a competitive swimmer and then in my teenage years got into triathlons and bike racing. As my competitions grew longer and more intense and as my success level increased, I wanted to make sure that I was giving myself every advantage possible and nutrition is one of those areas that I needed to learn more about. I also loved reading about nutrition. Anytime a new magazine was sent to the house, I always opened it to the nutrition/recipe section first. It occurred to me one day that if I love reading about nutrition so much, maybe I should study it!
Q: What’s the difference in studying nutrition online vs. a traditional setting?
A: I think it is the same for any subject. In order to study online- students need to be self-motivated and driven to succeed. The modules do a great job of walking you through the material, but it is important to stay engaged and interact with you classmates via the discussion board. It is also important to learn more about your professor and mentors in online programs and utilize them the same way you would an in-person instructor. These mentors can help you make connections in the industry and help guide you along a successful path to where you want to go.
Q: What advice would you give students interested in studying sports nutrition?
A: My first piece of advice is talk to professionals in sports nutrition and figure out your path. Are you enhancing a current degree with sports nutrition such as Strength and Conditioning or Athletic training or do you want to become a Sports Dietitian? The added sports nutrition knowledge will only enhance your current degree (S&C or ATC) and allow you to communicate effectively with sports dietitians and other personnel. Or are you interested in being more hands-on with sports nutrition and potentially want to become a Registered Sports Dietitian? If that is the case, then do your homework and find out the requirements to becoming a Sports RD and what the job market looks like and any relevant information you may need such as professional organizations to join.
Q: What’s one thing you’d like students to know about studying sports nutrition?
A: There are so many things that you can learn about an athletes performance through sports nutrition. Even if you do not plan to be a Sports RD, you can still learn a lot of tips/education pieces to use with your students on how to stay hydrated during a hot game or how to plan the best snacks for a travel week.
Q: What are the different career options students have after earning an exercise science degree?
A: There are many career options with a degree in exercise science. That is the exciting part about having a degree in exercise science, you have many options and your path can grow and change with you as your interests and goals grow and change.
1. Athletic training
2. Strength and conditioning
3. Sports RD
4. Exercise Physiologist
Q: Why should a RD get their master’s in exercise science vs. a master’s in nutrition?
A: I believe that if a Registered Dietitian wants to pursue a career in sports, getting their master’s degree in exercise science is more advantageous than a master’s degree in nutrition. Working in sports requires you to understand the energy systems that an athlete uses to perform their sport, understand how muscle is built and breaks down and also understand how to repair/fuel those needs through nutrition. If you don’t understand how the body works/functions for an athlete, it may be hard to take your nutrition knowledge and make it highly effective for the athlete. This degree also helps you communicate better with performance staff members such as Strength and Conditioning Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Sports Medicine Doctors and Coaches.