Getting to know Sports Science and Nutrition


Happy weekend y’all!  I’m out for my long run (hopefully…), as I wrote this post earlier and scheduled it to publish this morning.  You’ll get to hear about the long run (that hopefully went wonderfully) later this afternoon.

I write about my running and eating and adventures and mishaps in Austin but I haven’t really explained in detail the reason I’m here in Austin.  I moved here a little under one month ago to hunt down a rich cowboy who can cook, run and sing start graduate school at the University of Texas.  Very specifically I’m in the Sports Science and Nutrition Non-Thesis Track in the Department of Kinesiology in the School of Education.  So what the hell is all that?

Sports Science and Nutrition

Basically this degree will provide me with a more thorough understanding of all the things I knew and taught/teach my clients/y’all while I was a personal trainer.  The certification process I went through and previous experience I had as an athlete absolutely provided me with the knowledge and framework for designing exercise routines for specific goals but this will take it a step further.  I’ll be able to explain what is going on with the body to make these recommendations appropriate.  Or that’s the goal anyway.  My fellow students all seem to have athletic backgrounds with an interest in fitness or sports.  I think we’ll be a fun group once the initial timidness wears off.

This semester I’m taking three courses – Sports Nutrition, Systems Physiology and Advanced Laboratory Techniques.

Sports Nutrition – I will learn how and why athletes (and general fitness people) need to eat specific things at specific times.  I’m excited for the immediate application it has with distance running fuel and recovery.  I’m hopeful to learn that they’ve found margaritas and cupcakes are perfect fuel….This class is all graduate students and most of them are within my department.

Systems Physiology – This is the class in the Sardine Can (200+ of us squeezed into stadium-style seating at 8 am).  It’s an upper-level undergraduate course that they have tailored for the few of us who do not have a Kinesiology undergrad (mine’s in Psychology).  We get to do all the work plus write a paper.  This class won’t be much fun or immediately applicable but I like the instructor and learning about how the body works is interesting.

Lab Techniques – I haven’t actually had this class yet but from what I understand it will be all graduate students and we’ll be performing a lot of physically active tests to determine things like VO2 max and lactate threshold.  And we are the test subjects – so class is essentially a workout.

What to do with this degree?  Well, there are some options.  Previous graduates have gone on to become strength and conditioning coaches for professional teams like the Spurs.  Or personal trainers (I like that option).  Or coaches for other levels of teams (high school or college).  So my options are wide open – which is great because I have no idea what direction I’m leaning.  I’m hopeful to be exposed to a wide variety of options in the fitness/running fields and am trusting that the right opportunities will just fall into place.  If not at least I’m in a fun town in the meantime, and I’ve got my rich, musically-inclined, good-in-the-kitchen, running cowboy plan as a backup.





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