Nutrition for Athletic Performance


Choosing the right type, amount, and timing of intake of foods, fluids and supplements can help active adults and competitive athletes perform at their best. To help an athlete reach peak performance, dietitians work with athletes to plan for:

  • adequate energy and nutrients from food
  • enough fluids and electrolytes to keep the body hydrated
  • the right balance of nutrients from foods and supplements, if needed.


It is the position of Dietitians of Canada, together with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics et the American College of Sports Medicine, that the performance of, and recovery from, sporting activities are enhanced by well-chosen nutrition strategies. The joint Position Paper provides guidelines for the appropriate type, amount and timing of intake of food, fluids and dietary supplements to promote optimal health and sport performance across different scenarios of training and competitive sport.
Athletes should be referred to a registered dietitian to accommodate the unique issues of individual athletes regarding health, nutrient needs, performance goals, physique characteristics (i.e., body size, shape, growth, and composition), practical challenges and food preferences.
Read the guidelines presented in the position paper to learn more about:

  • adjusting energy intake to support optimal body function and composition
  • what to eat and drink before, during, and after exercise
  • carbohydrate, protein and fat intakes for improved performance and improve recovery time
  • how to prevent dehydration
  • strategies to improve endurance
  • safe and appropriate use of dietary supplements and ergogenic (performance enhancing) aids
  • training in special conditions, such as high altitude and extreme temperatures

Check out additional resources about sports drinks and hydration below.


  • In 2016, DC worked with other nutrition and sport professionals to release a new position paper on this topic.  See news release here.


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