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 nutritionist Lindsey Remmers.
By Lindsey Remmers MS, RD, CSSD, LMNT
How did I get into my field?
I have always been interested in the human body and its inner workings. I started college thinking I'd major in Pre-Med and eventually go to med school. That all changed my junior year when I transferred to Winthrop in South Carolina to join a NCAA Division 1 volleyball program. I have been an athlete all my life. After declaring Nutrition as my major, I not only got to learn how the body worked, but the impact of food on how it worked. As an athlete myself, I began to wonder how applying what I was learning to athletics could help athletes feel better, train better, and become stronger and faster.
In my 6 years as a Sports Dietitian, I have climbed from a graduate assistant to Assistant Director to now Director of Sports Nutrition here at the University of Nebraska. I work with many different types of athletes and oversee nutrition for a wide range of teams competing for the Cornhuskers, from basketball to swimming and diving, track and field, wrestling and volleyball, and gymnastics.
I've been through a lot of ups and downs throughout my own athletic career and have found my true passion: teaching athletes the why's of properly fueling their bodies as well as the how's: that simply by changing a few foods around, what they eat can help them realize their full potential as athletes. Another more recent passion of mine is educating not only our athletes but the public about supplements - which ones work, the dangers, and how to evaluate them.
How did I make a difference in a young athlete's life in the past year?
In the past year, I have had the great pleasure of working with many athletes in a sports nutrition program committed to meeting the nutritional needs of athletes and educating them on the role nutrition plays on physical development and sports performance. Not only do I work with athletes on body composition, strength and conditioning, hydration, recovery, and competition fueling, but I also work with those who suffer from disordered eating.
One athlete in particular stands out in my mind. She was anorexic, but was slowing overcoming her disorder (as she had done once before in high school) and improving tremendously in her sport. Unfortunately, she suffered another relapse this past summer, when she began to over-exercise and severely restrict food as her fear of weight-gain escalated. She returned to college in the fall only to run into medical problems and training setbacks. I began working with her, along with one of our sports psychologists, and she has slowly begun to recover.
Being able to teach her the value of food and nourishment has been both a struggle and accomplishment. She has been able to slowly overcome the anxiety that often accompanies an eating disorder, and allow herself to fuel her body for her sport. She is able to respect her hunger. Her hard work has paid off in greater strength and improved performance (she achieved a personal best while leading her team this past season). While she still struggles with fears and anxiety, we are able to discuss them and re-focus on fueling for training. It has been wonderful getting to see this young female athlete grow and overcome her fears.
Lindsey Remmers is Director of Sports Nutrition in the Athletics Department at the University of Nebraska. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition from Winthrop University, where she played Division 1 volleyball and completed her dietetic internship, before earning her Master's in Nutrition & Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska in 2008. Lindsey is a Licensed, Registered Dietitian and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD).
As well as working full-time for the Cornhuskers, Lindsey consults individuals of all ages and competitive levels - from high school to elite athletes, active adults, and those simply looking to improve their health. Her passion is providing athletes with the tools they need to help them outperform their competition through solid nutrition, while teaching them how to enhance their health with long-lasting lifestyle changes. She provides individual nutritional counseling that focuses on performance fueling strategies, hydration and proper supplementation, game-day fueling, team nutrition education sessions, on-site and travel meal management, body composition analysis, food allergies, grocery store tours, healthy cooking, and eating disorder prevention and counseling.
Lindsey is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND), SCAN, and the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA). She also serves on the Conference Planning Committee for the CPSDA. You can follow her on twitter: @RemmersRD or Husker Sports Nutrition @HuskerNutrition.