It will be of interest to you if, you exercise to keep fit, are interested in training others, whether as coaches or as parents/guardians of young athletes, participate regularly in sporting activities, from marathons to tennis tournaments, or are training to reach peak levels in their chosen activity.
The course will cover a broad variety of topic areas including types of performance enhancers and meal planning to coaching young athletes. Materials can be studied online or students have the option to have the printed materials delivered for an additional charge of £65.
Module 1 - Dietary Nutrients
This module introduces the basics of good nutrition. It helps us understand how to introduce good nutrition into our daily lives and teaches us concepts such as "Energy Balance", "Body Mass Index" and "The Harris Benedict Equation".
The important dietary nutrients of carbohydrate, protein and fats and oils are explained in more detail, so that we can understand the function of these nutrients in our body and how this relates to our sporting performance.
As fat is the nutrient needed least by our body, we also look at ways of achieving a healthy intake of fat in this module, as well as variety in our diet.
Module 2 - Performance Enhancers
Is good nutrition enough for us to perform at our best? Should we try to enhance our performance by taking supplements? Are products, which claim to give us the edge over our competitors worth the money? These are some of the key questions we look at throughout this module.
As well as the dietary nutrients (macronutrients) studied in the first module, in this module, we explore the role of vitamins and minerals, highlighting the key ones for our purpose of enhancing health and performance.
Antioxidants get a lot of press in health publications nowadays. We discover what antioxidants actually are, where we can find them and what the benefits of them in our diets are.
There is a vast market of products including, sports foods, gels, bars, meal replacement products, all claming to enhance our sporting performance. Do they do as they say? This is something we discuss further in this module. There are also supplements, which are illegal in the sporting arena. We look at what these are, what they claim to do and whether these claims are justified.
Module 3 - Fluid Management
Ensuring we consume enough fluid is vital to our health and to our performance as athletes. This module looks at all the issues surrounding fluid intake, from how much we need to drink to remain well hydrated, to the problems associated with dehydration and heat stress.
There are numerous varieties of sports drinks available to buy in the supermarket and at specialist retailers over the Internet. We look at the difference between hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic drinks, the role of each of them, and whether they are more beneficial to athletes than drinking plain water. Further sources of fluid also include other non-alcoholic drinks like diet, carbonated and Caffeinated and we consider the value of consuming these types of drinks.
Alcohol can play a key role in the life of an athlete, particularly those involved in team sports, where celebrations after a win might be common practice. In this module, we identify some of the specific problems for athletes, related to the consumption of alcohol.
Module 4 - Weight Management
Weight management is not solely the concern of athletes, although many athletes do have to "make weight" for their particular sport. If we look specifically at jockeys, then we can understand why weight management may be an issue. You will not find many athletes who are, what we may consider as being "overweight". However, to perform at their best, a lot of athletes like to shed a few pounds of body fat.
It is, nevertheless, not as easy as eating less and training more, as a key concern is to lose the fat and not the muscle. This module looks at safe, healthy ways of losing body fat, while still having the energy and strength to perform well.
A weight-loss eating plan is included, as well as tips for losing weight successfully, by, for example, increasing your metabolic rate.
Module 5 - Managing Body Composition
This module follows on from the previous one, in that it looks at ways of managing your body composition once you reach the weight you want. You will gain an understanding of the link between body fat and performance and how to measure your own body fat distribution.
You may need to gain weight, but must ensure that it is muscle you gain and not extra body fat, which will hinder your performance. In this module, you will find out how to gain weight successfully, by following a weight-gain eating plan and weight-gain tips. Once you have the extra muscle you need, you will also be able to make sure that, after exercise, you can repair and regenerate muscle.
Module 6 - Women Athletes
This Diploma in Sports Nutrition is designed to cover all elements of nutrition and how everyone can use nutrition to impact on their sporting lives. There are, however, specific issues, which relate to women and, in the next module, children and young athletes. This module deals specifically with some of the issues that might impact on a woman athlete.
We look more closely at eating disorders and disordered eating and identify the difference. We study terms like "Amenorrhoea" and "Osteoporosis", finding out their meanings and how they relate to a women's sporting life.
One of the main risks for women is not consuming enough iron to support their training and/or competition. It is important to consume sufficient iron and included in this module are suggestions of how to do this and what to include in your diet.
Also specific to women are the issues of pregnancy, premenstrual tension and the menopause. We consider all these in general terms and in relation to athletic performance.
Module 7 - Young Athletes
This module will be of particular importance to the parents and coaches of young athletes, as it deals with all the issues that may affect a young athletes health and performance.
Some of the questions we pose are, "Why are young athletes more susceptible to dehydration than adult athletes?" And " How can we encourage young athletes to consume enough fluid?"
We learn, not only about their fluid needs, but also about their energy, protein and carbohydrate needs and how these differ to the needs of adult athletes. Meal timing is also an important issue for young athletes, as quite often, when "on the go" all the time, eating is not a priority for young athletes. It is up to those that are responsible for their training to ensure that young athletes consume sufficient fluid and food.
Module 8 - Before, During and After Exercise
This module brings together a lot of the information we have studied so far in this Diploma and relates it specifically to training for a specific event. It looks in detail at your nutritional needs before, during and after exercise, highlighting the best food and drink choices at specific times of the day. As well as this, details about what and when to eat and drink at competition time are included.
Some long distance events rely on us having enough energy to complete them and it may be that we need to consume more carbohydrate than we otherwise would. This is when "carbohydrate loading" can be considered. We look at what "carbohydrate loading" is and how it might benefit certain athletic performance.
Equally as important as performing at our best, is recovery and avoiding injury, so that we may continue to perform at our best and are not forced to "sit out" of the event next time, due to injury. Ways of avoiding injury are also included in this module.
Module 9 - Meal Planning
This is a very practical module, in that it asks you to design a personal nutrition programme, taking into account all the personal details of the athlete and the sport they are striving to achieve in. It may be for yourself or for someone you are coaching.
Included in your plan will be lots of suggestions and ideas for meals, as essentially it is what your athlete eats and drinks at certain times of the day that will be the key to their success.
Also included in this module are ideas for meals for vegetarian athletes. If you yourself are vegetarian or you are training someone who is vegetarian, then this section of the module will support you in preparing healthy meals for them, taking into consideration that certain nutrients are to be found more abundantly in animal products. However, there are alternatives for vegetarians and these are included here.
Your nutrition plan will also be concerned with how to boost immune function by consuming certain foods and drinks so that, at certain times of the year, you do not become prone to the coughs and colds that inevitably go round.
Module 10 - Sports Nutrition for different Sports
In the final module of this course, you will learn about 4 differing sports and how nutritional needs may alter both within the sport and between the different sports.
One of the most popular sports is running and so we look at 3 types of event, long distance, middle distance and sprinting and how nutritional requirements vary between the 3 events.
The other sports we consider are swimming, cycling and team sports like football, rugby and hockey. Not only do you learn about the characteristics of these sports, but you will also find sample menus for the different athletes, and case studies, which may help you, identify any individual problems you or the athlete you are coaching may have. We also take into account how tournaments differ from individual sporting events and how you can meet the nutritional requirements of these prolonged events.
Previous Knowledge Required
No previous knowledge or experience is essential to study this course.
12 Months Tutor Support. Tutors are available to answer student questions relating to course materials and to comment on the assignments that are sent in to state how well students have understood the unit content.
Final online multiple choice examination.
This Level 3 Sports Nutrition Diploma is Quality Assured by OLQA. Upon successful completion of the course you will receive certification awarded by Oxford College. The qualification does not carry UCAS points but is recognised by employers and some universities as a level 3 qualification. For entry into university students will need to check the relevant university’s entry requirements to see if they will accept a Level 3 Diploma in place of A Levels / UCAS points.