In recognition of April as National Youth Sports Safety Month, MomsTeam has asked 30 experts to write a blog answering two questions: first, how or why did they get into their field, and second, how have they made a difference in the life of a youth athlete in the past year.
Today, we hear from sports dietitian Tracy Bowman, owner of Performance Nutrition and Wellness in Johnstown, Pennyslvania.
By Tracy Bowman, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
How did I get into my field?
I remember changing into my running clothes and getting ready for yet another track practice when my high school coach told us that a dietitian was coming to speak to us. This was something new to me, especially given the small rural Pennsylvania town where I lived.
I really didn’t even know what a dietitian was; I assumed that the only time someone would see one is if they were sick or in the hospital. So I wondered what she would talk about to a group of healthy young athletes.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised! I had no idea that nutrition could help enhance my athletic performance so much. The dietitian spoke to us about proper hydration, pre- and post-game meal ideas, proper snacking and how a balanced diet would increase our performance. At the time I didn’t realize that I wasn’t eating and hydrating correctly and this was the main reason I kept getting migraines and felt so tired all of the time!
After that, becoming a dietitian seemed to be a natural course to pursue, as it combined all of my interests into one career. I loved learning about health and wellness, and I l enjoyed leading a healthy, active lifestyle. My ultimate goal was to one day educate athletes just like the dietitian had done for me.
Well, to make a long story short, that one day happened! After graduating from college and becoming a Registered Dietitian and a Personal Trainer, I embarked on a most challenging and rewarding career, beginning with working full time with the United States Marines.
Again, I bet you are wondering why they would need a dietitian, since they are healthy to begin with. My job mainly consisted of educating active duty Marines on the benefits of proper nutrition through unit lectures, meal planning, cooking classes and grocery store tours. I also got to perform bone density, resting metabolic rate measurements, body composition and blood pressure screenings for all active duty, retirees, reservist and Department of Defense employees.
How have I made a difference in an athlete's life?
After I had my son and returned to my home state of Pennsylvania, I open my own nutrition business. Since I love the field of sports nutrition, I called it Performance Nutrition and Wellness, LLC. I develop and deliver nutrition education presentations, conduct demonstrations, and hold events on various topics related to nutrition for performance. A typical day will see me perform anthropometry testing (such as skinfolds etc.),as well as practical sessions about cooking and shopping. A big part of my job is diet planning and advice, and personal consultations.
Since I returned to the town where I grew up, I have also had the wonderful opportunity to educate my alma mater’s varsity hockey team about sports nutrition, supplements, and hydration. The players were so welcoming and quite eager to learn! Since the seminar their coach has told me that his players are making more of a conscious effort to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and stay well hydrated. It has been an honor and extremely rewarding to serve as a nutrition resource for the college's coaches, teachers, trainers, food service personnel, and the parents of students.
Tracy Bowman is the founder and owner of Performance Nutrition and Wellness, LLC, a nutrition consulting firm in Johnstown, Pennsylvania specializing in adult weight management and sports nutrition. Tracy holds a B.S. in Dietetics and an M.S. in Food and Nutrition from Indiana University of Pennsylvan. She is a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietic Association, and holds Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and Certified Adult Weight Management Specialists certificates from the ADA. Tracy is also a Personal Trainer with American College on Exercise. In addition to her business, she teach nutrition courses at a local college, is training for her first marathon and loves to bike, swim, and spend time with her husband and baby boy. To find out more about Tracy and her company, you can become a Facebook fan of Performance Nutrition and Wellness, LLC to receive your daily tip of the day or visit her website.