Sports Nutrition

A Sports Nutritionist has a background in exercise science and is an expert in the assessment of an athlete’s dietary intake to encourage improved sporting performance and recovery.


Scope of practice  

  • Knowledge and understanding human body systems, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, and chemistry. 
  • Recognise the signs of inappropriate dietary behaviours and understand appropriate referral pathways. 
  • Explain the strengths and limitations of commonly used methods for measuring and analysing body composition. 
  • Describe the evidence for the efficacy of common nutritional supplements and nutritional ‘ergogenic’ aids, and demonstrate awareness of prescribed or illegal supplements. 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role human nutrition has and its effect on sporting and athletic performance 
  • Ability to accurately interpret the athlete’s need for optimising energy levels and recovering more effectively 

Skills and competencies 

Candidate case studies should demonstrate the following;  

  • Ability to perform a needs assessment on an athlete’s dietary intake for energy and recovery to enhance sporting performance 
  • Ability to describe the fundamentals of nutrients and health for athletic performance  
  • Ability to assess international fads and explore research to encourage healthy choices for athletic performance  
  • Ability to identify the need for behaviour change and nutritional education  
  • Ability to communicate with athlete’s and general population to increase their understanding of nutrition and well-being 

Over the next 12 months the Exercise and Sport Science Accreditation pathway is under review. 

The review is being led by Dr Mel Bussey and Professor Andy Kilding, with the intention being to work with High Performance Sport New Zealand, key sports organisations and Sport New Zealand to further develop the accreditation pathway in sport science so it reflects the future ways of working that will likely be required for sports scientists working in performance and health (non-clinical) settings.