“E-Certificate in Sports Specific Nutrition Management”. Apply Now
“E-Certificate in Sports Specific Nutrition Management”. Apply Now

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How to Succeed in Your Career by Really Trying!

Nancy Clark
MS, RD, CSSD, FACSM, FAND, Sports Nutrition Services, LLC Boston
Secretary, PiNES (Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise & Sports)
Excerpts from Nancy Clark’s talk on the occasion of the ASNFS Website Relaunch on International Olympic Day, 23rd June 2023. She is a world-renowned sports nutritionist & author of many bestselling books in the field.
Target Audience: Nutritionists, Dietitians
Reading Time: 3 Min

Define What is Success for YOU!

Nancy Clark starts with a basic question, what is success? Success is how YOU define it! Is it having enough money? Is it time to spend with your family? Is your life balanced (spiritually, emotionally, economically)? Or is it following your passion?

So, ask yourself, are you truly doing what you want to do?

How Did Successful Nutritionists Do It?

Nancy Clark shared valuable insights from achievers in the field of sports nutrition.

Kris Clark, Ph.D., RD, FACSM, 1st Dietitian at a Big 10 University (Penn State)

  • You need to be a go-getter. Be visible to athletes, coaches & trainers and WOW them from the start
  • Be professional & stay updated with current literature
  • Attend games & game banquets. Sports dietetics is not a 9-5 job.

Captain Karen Daigel, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, 1st Full Time RD at Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs & US Army Performance Dietitian for special operations

  • Luck is when preparation meets opportunity
  • Build credibility and walk the talk
  • Love what you do because building your career will consume your life

Rov Skinner, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, US Military Special Operations RD

  • Develop a professional network beyond dietetics
  • Build a network, feed it, and it will feed you back
  • Be willing to go above and beyond the call of duty

“Success rarely happens by itself. It comes from conscious effort to turn your dreams into a reality.”

How Nancy Clark Did It

Nancy Clark’s early career involved 2 jobs in clinical dietetics and nutrition education. Her curiosity about how nutrition and exercise work together resulted in her earning her Masters Degree in Nutrition at Boston University. Later, in a job interview at a sports medicine clinic, she shared her 3-months experience of an American cross-country bike ride from the West Coast to the East Coast. She was instantly offered a post of a sports dietitian. Nancy insists that becoming part of a sport is essential. It shows that you walk the talk.  

Sports Nutritionist in the 1980s and NOW!

Back in the 1980s, simply being a RD with interest in sports plus 1-2 classes in exercise physiology was enough to become a sports nutritionist. Today, a lot more education is involved. Back then, sitting in an empty clinic, Nancy Clark wondered, how to get clients, and how to establish herself professionally.

  • She became a member of a Greater Boston Track Club
  • She wrote a column for New England Runner Magazine
  • She initiated writing a recipe book for runners that led to her book The Athlete’s Kitchen.
  • She reached out to the running community
  • She realized that potential clients want someone they know, like, and trust

Two-Pronged Approach to Building the Career

Nancy Clark thoughtfully focused on making herself known among:

  • Athletes
  • Sports medicine professionals

Learn from Conscious Efforts by Nancy Clark

  • Get involved in the media: Nancy wrote a monthly column for sports clubs’ newsletters, was invited to be the Boston Globe’s ‘Ask the Sports Medicine Expert’, became a frequent resource for sports & fitness magazines, wrote articles for professional journals
  • Branch out beyond dietetics: Nancy attended the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conference on sports medicine, met editors of Journals who invited her to write articles, volunteered for the New England chapter of ACSM, became Public Relation Chair, received Honour Award for her contributions
  • Contribute to the Profession: Nancy gave presentations at AND, SCAN, and ACSM annual meetings and, in partnership with exercise physiologist Williams Evans, she conducted workshops for RDs, trainers, and health professionals
  • Continue to be involved: Nancy routinely wrote proposals, peer-reviewed articles, and sports nutrition books to build credibility

If you don’t exist in media, for all practical purposes, you don’t exist…
So, don’t stop advertising yourself!

Words of Wisdom from Nancy Clark

  • Write! She quotes Gloria Steinen, ‘I am a journalist, not a leader. I write about all the leading things you do’
  • Stay at the top of the research and translate it into practical information for athletes

Her Goals as a Sports Dietitian/Nutritionist

  • Teach active people how to use food successfully to enhance their health and performance
  • Help develop the profession of sports nutrition into a viable career option

What can YOU do to Build a Successful Career?

  • Write: Create a blog, tweet, be active on social media, be a guest on podcasts
  • Stay active in sports
  • Get involved in PiNES, write articles for PiNES, translate articles for PiNES
  • Introduce yourself to individuals you admire
  • For inspiration listen to the ‘Voice in Sports’ podcast and learn how much we are needed
  • Success is a team effort, build your network!

Concluding Quote from Nancy Clark: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It!!

Edited by: Dr. Mridula Naik